“Still” Leading Innovation Cultures

images Today on Facebook, Michelle Cordy shared a link to a    recent video featuring Simon Breakspear, a speaker at  the Ontario Leadership Congress Spring Symposium  2015.  As I have a tendency to do, I veered from the  initial video to the various related links on the side tabs.    There I found this 2010 video from Simon Breakspear, where he focused on the topic of Innovation and how we, in education, need to ensure that we are preparing our students for their future.  If you have 45 minutes, I would highly recommend that you watch it as he is an effective presenter who incorporates humour and data to make his point.

He is passionate about innovation for learning and how other sectors are embracing innovation for change. Keeping in mind that this was recorded in 2010, his information about the number of Twitter users and other social media platforms is outdated and I’m sure that today if he asked about iPhone use, the response from the audience would be greater.

Breakspear challenges his audience of educational leaders to embrace innovative classroom environments where inquiry and grassroots ideas are encouraged and supported ~ where teachers model lessons after TedTalk styles (18 minutes or less) of presentations and where protocols are in place to support rich cognitive dissonance.

I loved everything that he was saying and yet at the same time, I became frustrated and somewhat saddened at the fact that we’ve been sharing this same message for at least 5 years and yet many of our learning environments have not evolved at all.  I wonder what it will take for more educators to embrace innovative practice.  I wonder how we can support our educational leaders to be more innovative.  When will we truly appreciate “positive defiance and amplify what is going well” in places of innovative practice?

I wonder when we will reach our Innovation tipping point in individual schools, in a community of schools, and finally in our school board.

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The need for change is obvious ~ our students are arriving at the doorsteps of our schools with a different toolkit and we have a moral imperative to prepare them for a future that is very different from our current world.


I’m hopeful that five years from now we will be celebrating more innovative practices throughout the world of education (classrooms, leadership, etc.).

I can’t help but wonder if we’ve just become more innovative in sharing the message about how we need to be more innovative….

3 thoughts on ““Still” Leading Innovation Cultures

  1. Technology and innovation costs money and costs those in facility to face change. When it costs over 800 for just a smart board because we pay for salaried employees install during the work day ??? When it takes years to get simple outdoor innovations tendered and installed ( still waiting ) I begin to see where some of the bottle neck occurs. When we reexamine our whole organization and in a united way make fundamental changes to support innovations and make them affordable and not prohibitive then and only then will you see systemic improvements towards that tipping point . Right now the balanced is systemically stacked against innovation despite desires to go there!! That’s the barrier – only those most determined with money and time create spots and pockets of innovation.

  2. Having engaged in two years of innovation and technology in the classroom with Michelle and others, I can honestly say there is a desparate need for change.
    For those teachers who are embracing technology, innovation and change it is a very difficult and tiresome task. The biggest issues lie within the system itself. There are many roadblocks in infrastructure, finance, and support at all levels of a large and cumbersome system. I liken it to taking on a marathon with a ball and chain strapped to your leg and extra weights being handed out at every rest stop.
    The change is needed from above. Administrative, IT and superintendent support is necessary. There has to be some leeway given to those who innovate, when it comes to their involvement in other required initiatives. We need to start letting go of the things that do not make a difference and moving forward with the things that do make a difference. We can’t keep “doing it all”, because that just leads to burn out. These grass roots leaders of innovation must also be given opportunities to share and work with others to allow for knowledge mobilization.
    We have many amazing educators who would be more than willing to lead with innovative practices, given support and encouragement at the school and board levels. Unfortunately, very few have the stamina to persist and move forward without it.
    That is just my two cents worth from my experience.

  3. I think TVDSB has some amazing innovators / innovations to celebrate and I am wondering how we can create a platform to share them so that others can see the humility and risk taking that is already taking place.
    From Laurier SS’s math PE hybrid class, our e-learning classrooms, inventive time tabling for the Reach Ahead students, awesome things thru Madeline Hardy, SOLE, CODE etc etc.
    I think we are tipping in the right direction but we need to show it in a more dynamic way so that more people can experience the success these ideas are providing for students.

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