A Checklist for Designing Innovation Experiences

This is a checklist educators can use to plan, implement, and iterate experiences that teach innovation.

Photo of Andrew Goodin
10 13

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Two of the sources from the Discover step were The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande and An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students by Ron Berger.

I propose a mash-up of these two sources resulting in an educator Checklist for Designing Innovation Experiences.

There are a few assumptions associated with this solution:
1) Designing innovative classroom experiences is really complicated (from Mission #3).
2) There are a few key components that result in designing successful innovation experiences (from Berger).
3) A well designed checklist can help ensure that these components are being met (from Gawande).

Check out the checklist here -  A Checklist for Designing Makerspace Experiences

NOTE: My original intent was in the context of Makerspaces, but perhaps the checklist could be iterated during the evolve portion to be more broad?  

Scalability:  Gawande describes the process of scaling his World Health Organization checklist, and I imagine that scaling this checklist would be analogous to their process.  I'd propose piloting in a few schools and validating via student growth as a function of checklist aligned projects.  Since one of the items on the checklist is a public audience for student work, perhaps schools implementing the checklist could share that work with Teachers Guild members.

UPDATE (9/14/15): Added video summary.

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Photo of Moss Pike
Team

Hi Andrew! Love the idea (I'm biased, of course), and I'm eager to work through a few more prototypes in the "Evolve" phase. If you're interested in teaming up to continue thinking through the idea, I'd warmly welcome your input. Let's work from the original Google Doc to build on our ideas: https://goo.gl/DbNIco. Looking forward to iterating on the idea!

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

I am intrigued by the idea of using a checklist to drive innovation.

I wonder if checklist could be modified to include some of the attributes that you mention in building a culture of craftsmenship? Critique sessions, passion for the project, pride in the project, etc. The checklist, while helpful, doesn't seem to push the students to be innovative. I am assuming that you do that with your teaching (since you mentioned d thinking as a process the students might use), but is there some way to use the checklist to help/guide teachers who don't use design thinking or use very traditional projects (where every child makes the same, cookie-cutter project)?

Photo of Andrew Goodin
Team

Hi Jessica,

Thank you for your comment! I've been thinking about it all day, and realized that that my initial mindset in making the checklist was to externalize/offload thinking about the routine aspects of the project so that the creativity/innovation can thrive. My hypothesis is that having a well structured project with all of the basics in place allows the teacher to providing the coaching & instruction necessary to push innovation.

Looking at the items in the checklist, there are some pieces pulled from the mindsets associated with Berger's book. Items like: "Authentic user/audience" & "Opportunity for Student Choice" would tend to enhance creativity and prevent cookie-cutter projects. What other items might be helpful to add?

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Well, clearly I need to read the Checklist Manifesto--both you and Moss make it seem so interesting.

For "Authentic user/audience" & "Opportunity for Student Choice," my wonder is if you have a teacher who has never done anything out side of textbook, what that would mean to them? I have definitely seen teachers who feel like letting students choose their own colors for a projects, constitutes "student choice." Maybe it's not a modification of the checklist but a cheat-sheet that helps a first timer navigate what the checklist means? Clearly, you're using it to push innovation and so the question is how to translate some of your knowledge and expertise into something a newbie could use.

Sorry--perhaps not enough caffeine yet this morning--I will continue to think about this.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Actually, maybe you and Moss might team up--I think that he is still working on a checklist idea...

Photo of Elsa Fridman Randolph
Team

Hi Andrew,

Great idea! I love how you combined two of the inspirations from the Discover phase to get to this checklist for designing experiences around innovation. Also really like how you explicitly list the assumptions behind this solution. Would love to know more about how this could work. Wondering a bit about how this idea might scale. Could be interesting if you added a section called “Scalability” to your post - to help us better understand how we would bring this awesome idea to new districts or schools.

Photo of Andrew Goodin
Team

Thank you for the feeback Elsa. I have added a section titled "Scalability." It takes a design thinking approach with pilot schools implementing the checklist initially, validation of the model, and iteration.

Photo of Elsa Fridman Randolph
Team

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for updating your post! Are you going to try it out this year--in the context of designing innovation experiences? I also love Moss' suggestion of the checklist as a tool for creating more opportunities for interdisciplinary work and collaboration among teachers. Is this something you might try out as well? If so, what are your next steps?

Photo of Moss Pike
Team

Love it, Andrew, and I think you've done a great job in explaining the ideas in "Checklist Manifesto." I second Elsa's comments that the combination of "CM" with "Ethic of Excellence" is fantastic! The checklist you've designed looks great, and I wonder what kinds of conversations you see it sparking. So much great stuff in there: student choice, demonstration of learning, feedback, etc. I'm very interested in how a checklist like this could welcome more interdisciplinary work and collaboration among teachers and will be thinking about this over the coming weeks. Thanks for the inspiration!

Photo of Andrew Goodin
Team

Thanks Moss, I hadn't thought to use the checklist for interdisciplinary work/collaborative planning. Great idea!