In Tom Kelley's book, The Art of Innovation, chapter 3 is entitled "Innovation Begins with an EYE." And The Innovator's DNA detailed the five traits that Dyer, Gregerson, and Christensen identified as the skills at the heart of innovative action - observing, questioning, experimenting, networking, and associating.
So, what if we put people's eyes to work for one another? What if we facilitated students, teachers, parents, and community members using their phones to capture things they observe and that raise questions for them? And what if we pooled these curiosity journal entries as a virtually endless source of potential projects and ventures to use for innovation and people-centered problem solving? What we could create is a new and exciting way for people to collectively create and curate curriculum - tracks of life - that are all about purpose!
Here's how it could work:
- People see something that intrigues them - it could be something that works remarkably well, it could be something that bugs them, it could be something that they imagine working so much better, it could be something that's broken or needs some solution seeking. It could be simply something that makes them say, "Hmmm..."
- They take a snap shot with their camera phone.
- They upload that image to an email address that sends to a collective site. (I've used Wordpress, Posterous, Google Community, Instagram, Twitter with a Hashtag, etc. They all work well.)
- As we people work together on capturing our curiosities like this, we generate a pool of possible things to draw on as projects, design challenges, etc.
Yes, it really is that simple. The magic is rooted in it being this simple. We just take an act that many of us do multiple times a day - snapping a pic with our cell phones - and put it to work for us.
By capturing our observations and questions, we can then identify potential experiments to run. We engage the "We are smarter than me" network, and we find patterns and trends and opportunities in our ever-growing collection of posts.
A group of students could do this in a single class. A team of teachers could do this as a collaborative experiment. I do this with my sons, and we call it #FSBL - father-son-based learning. We've created a course from this method, and we called the course Synergy. And we use this methodology as one of our ways of working in the Innovation Diploma at Mount Vernon.
A group of schools could partner in this way. Or people in a community. Parents at a school. It's endless in possibility.
And it's simple. We just have to each commit to the practice, develop the habits, and make the time to collaborate on the back-end of the collection process, so that we can transfer those curiosity journal captures into new products, processes, tweaks, innovations, and solved problems.
NOTE: A number of the Ideas that others listed here at The Teachers Guild have further inspired this thinking and potential acting. For example, Julia Goga-Cooke wrote about questioning; Carolyn Wendell wrote about Innovation Walls; Gavin Cosgrave contributed his Preflights; James Campbell wrote of Cultivate What You Celebrate; Brent Brownell ideated on Innovation Meters; Richard Brehl posted about Opportunity (or Challenge) Boards; and Dea Jones reminded us that Twitter Hashtags could help us pool ideas. This practice of Curiosity Journaling is simply another way to help connect and put into practice the exceptional ideas of the people gathering here.