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Culture of Change & Innovation

Do you want to bring about innovation and change in your school? Read on!

Over the years, I've had the privilege of initiating and managing numerous successful start-ups, spanning from life-skills training, children’s events, and publishing, to film production, ed-tech, and film festivals. Throughout these ventures, my central mission has consistently revolved around enhancing the quality of K-12 education. This journey has afforded me numerous opportunities to collaborate closely with school leaders, gaining invaluable insights into their responsiveness to innovation and adaptation.

Contrary to the opinion of most people I meet, my experience suggests that many school leaders are actually very open to innovative ideas. Personally, I am a testament to the success of such progressive thinking. Whenever I proposed innovations, school leaders showed genuine interest in experimenting and implementing them. However, it's important to acknowledge that not all school leaders share this mindset; some prefer to let others take the lead in experimentation and opt to follow suit. Naturally, there are also those who resist change altogether.

The resistance to change within schools often stems from the management. From my perspective, if school management perceives tangible value in an experiment or recognizes its potential to enhance the school's reputation, they are more inclined to support it. Principals and other leaders typically bear the responsibility of illustrating the broader picture and demonstrating the value of proposed changes to the management. However, additional obstacles to change arise from parents and teachers. Teachers, although initially resistant, tend to align with management directives over time with persistence. Parents, on the other hand, primarily seek assurance that the proposed changes will benefit their children in the long run; once convinced of this value, they are usually willing to participate. It's important to note that it's impossible to gain universal consensus, but the objective is to garner support from the majority and form a critical mass that drives change forward. Ultimately, the attitudes of school leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the changes implemented within schools.

Schools that are hailed as leaders are schools that adapt to and bring about change. Innovation and change is not an event, it is part of a culture. To create a culture of innovation, any organisation must follow a few basic principles.  

  • Identify areas of change: Almost everything can be improved in a school setting, so the scope of innovation in schools is immense.

  • Identify possible solutions: Decision-making becomes effective if one has delved into identifying more options; the more options there are, the better the decision.

  • Pilot change: Bring in the change in a small, controlled manner; this way, the learnings will be evident, and the scaling up will become better. If the experiment fails, the repercussion or loss is not major. 

  • Plan & Microplan: The key to any good experiment is detailed planning. Planning what can go wrong is microplanning.

  • Measure: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it, ensure that you have a scale or parameter that is being closely monitored to evaluate whether the experiment is working

  • Scale up: Once you see positive results with the experiments, introduce the innovation to a larger segment, and you are on the path of change.

Change is inevitable, experiments are key to improving, create a culture in your school of experimenting and innovating.

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