Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Innovation: the solution?

Following on from the previous posting, I came across the following quote when reviewing notes I’d written during a course led by Prof Michael Fullan a couple of years ago: “One of the most critical problems our schools face is not resistance to innovation, but the fragmentation, overload, and incoherence resulting from the uncritical and uncoordinated acceptance of too many different innovations.”

For me, the answer to this issue lies in the work of the Community Designed Education network. Started in 2001 by Dr John Edwards in Australia and Bill Martin in the USA, I have been part of this growing community of schools, businesses, professional sports teams and industry since 2005. The underpinning belief of this network is that organisations grow best from a combination of the personal, practical knowledge of its people, together with a rich culture of evidence based, action learning.

Beginning with the identification of a shared vision, the CDE process encourages organisations to take a year to identify the best ways to achieve their goals (as opposed to diving straight in with any innovation that seems promising). This allows rich data to be collected and a number of cycles of action-learning to be completed so that decisions are ultimately about what works BEST rather than simply about what works.

For more information about the CDE network, take a look at or visit Bill Martin’s leadership blog

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