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Teaching Innovative Thinking

I was invited to San Francisco earlier this month to become certified as an instructor in a course called “Innovative Thinking". I also spent a day with innovation guru John Kao, whose company called Edgemakers provides the Innovative Thinking course.

San Francisco is a beautiful and inspiring environment, and spending the day sharing ideas and learning from like-minded educators was exhilarating.

Casey Turnpenny, our Junior School Vice Principal - Academics, and I are going to pilot the program with our Grade 9 students later this year. I am excited to see how well we can teach this skill-set to our young high school students. We plan to blog along the way to keep you informed of our trials and tribulations.

The pedagogy and curriculum set out for this course is very impressive. In particular, we appreciate the primary components and sequencing of the program. I have shared some of the description contained in the introduction of the teacher’s manual:

“Students come to the subject of innovation with all kinds of preconceptions. They may view it as the latest technological invention, or the proverbial light bulb or bolt of lightning going off over the head of the creative person, or something fundamentally outside of their conscious control. At EdgeMakers, we believe that innovation is a way of thinking that can be applied to any course of study or career field. Innovative thinking requires a set of capabilities from multiple disciplines and the ability to use those abilities to solve complex challenges. Innovation is not the latest cool 'gadget' but rather anything that can be created or built, whether that be a process for standing in line or an experience that helps new employees understand a company. Innovative thinking is becoming even more imperative as students entering college today encounter a rapidly changing workforce in which their future career may not yet exist.

Students may also approach this study with the preconception that they are not creative, they are not innovative. But all humans are creative. We can't help it; it's the way our brains are wired. We're constantly generating new ideas, whether in the form of brainstorms, random thoughts that pop into our heads while we're taking a shower, or daydreaming. Of course, this does not mean that every idea is innovative or useful. Learning that process of generating, refining and realizing value from ideas is an important focus of this course. It's critical that students believe that they can learn to develop these abilities because when one believes that everyone is creative, there is always the potential for generating valuable, new, creative results.

Finally, students 'Harvest' their ideas through Entrepreneurship (Theme 5), making the plans that will help them launch their venture and realize value from their ideas.

The EdgeMakers program experience is built around this core framework of five themes: creativity, storytelling, design, collaboration and entrepreneurship. The EdgeMakers approach involves blending and integrating these topics into the larger skillset of innovative thinking. Although the fields of creativity, storytelling, design and entrepreneurship have all evolved historically as communities of practice and distinct methodologies, EdgeMakers believes that they all share a common focus of generating new ideas that lead to the realization of value. This course draws on all of these disciplines and moves students through these themes to prepare them to innovate in an ever-changing world. EdgeMakers draws from the tools and methods derived from each of our theme areas to serve an integrated approach to learning and doing.”

When you have a moment, take a look at the following websites to learn more about what we will be teaching.

http://johnkao.com

https://edgemakers.com

Please email me at anytime if you have questions, as always I would welcome the opportunity to touch base with you. 

With warm regards,

Chris Grieve

Head of School

christopher.grieve@aberdeenhall.com

Teaching Innovative Thinking
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