On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to take part in our Innovation Forum ~ an open spaces/EdCamp style session where participants came together to discuss ways in which we can Work Better….. Together. This was my third experience with this format, but with different groups of participants. In February, the Innovation team took our Vice Principals and Principals through a similar event. Today’s participants were representative of every department within the Board office. We had Superintendents, Managers, Coordinators, Supervisors, Psych Associates, Administrative assistants, Financial officers, Technology analysts ( to name but a few) begin the morning with “The Marshmallow Challenge” and end the morning with an incredible list of innovative ways for us to “Work Better…..Together”.
I can undoubtedly share that yesterday’s session was by far the most positive of the three that I had attended. Maybe it was the opening activity, which we did not do for the administrators or maybe it was attributed to the fact that team continues to refine their facilitation skills.
But, as soon as the participants were asked to generate ideas, there immediately was a line up and the markers were flying; unlike the other two sessions where participants were extremely reluctant to share.
Once the sessions started, the discussions flowed naturally and respectfully. At no point was position or ego even a consideration. Short term and long term suggestions were documented and before we knew it we were on to session two. Kudos to the participants!
Upon reflection, I have to wonder why the other two sessions, with our administrators, did not generate the same level of excitement, passion or results.
Was this session successful because of the mix of the participants? When looking for ways to find innovative solutions to embrace change at a system level, how important is the grouping of the participants?
What are the challenges to having open, honest, solution-oriented discussions with our administrators?
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