The Cost of Innovation

Why do we gravitate towards a philosophy of "If it ain't (really) broke, don't fix it"?

Photo of Joy Hurd
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When we are working in schools, we might shy away from shaking things up because there is only so much time and we have to get our work done. Innovation--any attempts at innovating--come with a time cost. The risk of innovating, of prototyping solutions, is that there is never, at any school, as much time as we'd like there to be. 


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Photo of Ann Hamel

I am wondering about the idea of motivation. What motivates someone to take a risk, to be innovative? In our school we have a program, a contest, where students are invited to think of a problem and invent a solution. We even offer winners support in obtaining a patent. The kids are stuck from day-one because the motivation has been provided and it is coming from the wrong place. A monetary win isn't a win with longevity. The students never learn about empathy or what the real needs are - they haven't learned to listen yet. I can show them, but their lives are so formed by a reward system (call it what you want: grades, allowance, gifts) that they are lost without that pattern of motivation.
To get out of this rut and realize that there really is time in the day to be innovative is a true win.

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