Connecting the Dots - Creating a Scalable Hub Model

Let's use hubs to connect educators & innovators and spread their knowledge, ideas, & prototypes across classrooms, schools & districts.

Photo of Margaret Powers
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Please check out our pitch video!! It's a rough-draft but pulls together all of our ideas and explains how the hubs would work with help from outside partners.

Visit our working prototypes! 

Brainstorming Doc 

Prototype of Hub website

Charter document

Playbook

Padlet Brainstorming


Overview

Similar to the transdisciplinary idea, the goal of this idea would be to breakdown silos and foster collaboration, but not just within a grade team and across disciplines, but across schools, districts, professional fields, and geographic regions! 

This model could also be built of learnings from the innovation clusters that Digital Promise has/is creating and the way that the EdCamp model/organization has grown from a grassroots, single experience to an international network. 

Potential For Impact (How will it establish a culture of innovation?)

This model will allow for diverse groups of entrepreneurs, innovators, educators, and industry leaders to network and share ideas and then move forward to develop products and services that would meet the needs of students and teachers in innovative ways. Combining these diverse groups together would make it easier for everyone involved to think outside the box (10X thinking!) because they would be pushed by ideas, thinking routines, and processes outside of their normal work environment. 

These hubs could be learning environments for teachers and admin who want to pick up new skills and need support and also places to meet up with other innovators, in diverse fields to run in-person design challenges or meet in-person to participate in things like the Teachers Guild. 

There are already so many different "innovation" initiatives happening, both online and in tiny communities (in schools, in co-working spaces, etc) with similar threads and goals and even some overlapping stakeholders. These hubs would provide one centralized physical space where resource sharing and cross-audience pollination/collaboration can regularly occur and be shared with other hubs. 

Value Prop/Pitch

What if the teachers and administrators in your district were constantly asked to push their thinking about teaching and learning, including classroom design, pedagogy, teaching tools and materials, and learning goals, through their engagement with a local Innovation Hub? This is what's possible if you become a member of the [insert local region name] Innovation Hub and initiate an "Innovation Fellows" and "Innovation Coaching" model in your school! 

How can we get the idea off the ground?

To start, the model would be tested and prototyped in one or two different cities. Donna has an opportunity to do this already, bringing together her district's innovation incubator (R2 Innovates - see inspiration article below), with the local GEG South Carolina, as well as innovators at local higher education institutions. By launching in one or two cities, we can learn what works and what doesn't and will create a playbook along the way that can be shared with each new city that starts an Innovation Hub. Iterating on the model before any new hub is created will help it remain fresh, responsive, and sustainable.

Each hub will then remain connected to the others through digital tools (e.g., Slack, Google Apps, Voxxer, etc) and posted updates and announcements on one central website. There will be one or two meetings  per year for hub leaders from across the nation to meet and as the network grows, smaller, regional meetings will also be scheduled to make sure the value of face-to-face work is not lost. These meetings will also provide an opportunity for hubs to be infused with new growth and ideas and to run design challenges in larger groups, with new users. 

To help each hub get started, the playbook will offer guidance on doing outreach to local K-12 schools/districts, higher ed institutions, start-ups, non-profit and for-profit companies and initial project ideas to get started on new initiatives in the region. The playbook will also include the Innovation Hub Charter that all hubs must adhere to and support for running initial meetings, during which a board will be created to run the local hub. That board will be tasked with creating a local version of the Innovation Hub Charter that is context specific to the needs of the varied stakeholders in that geographic region. Stakeholders must include at least one: 

  • K-12 Teacher
  • K-12 Administrator
  • K-12 District leader
  • 2+ HS Students
  • Non-profit leader 
  • For-profit leader
  • Start-up leader
  • Local government leader (if local gov. is involved)

This board makeup is designed to ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the Regional Innovation Hub and its charter and that on-the-ground, grassroots stakeholders are not pushed aside in favor of for-profit agendas

In order for participation in hubs to remain enticing and selective (to avoid issues getting watered down and make it manageable/sustainable), educators and other participant will have to apply to be either individual Innovation Fellows or as part of an Innovation Team. If a fellow or team is accepted into the hub, they will receive funding, access to the physical hub Space, and mentoring to help bring their idea (which addresses a current challenge in education) to fruition. 

Teams and fellows will have one year to work on their idea and after that year they will "graduate" to become mentors to the next cohort. After serving as mentors for one year, everyone will then migrate into Innovation Hub Network members who still have access to the hub space during select times and use the community for ongoing brainstorming, resource sharing, and learning. If you have been an Innovation Fellow or on a Team, you can not re-apply for at least two years so that new users are encouraged to apply and keep the ideas/energy in the hub fresh.

We will also need to set up a contract with a national co-working space to serve as the physical space for all Innovation Hub work. This space could either be donated in exchange for promotion of the space and bringing new organizations/stakeholders to them or paid for by an external donor (e.g., Google, Gates Foundation, Digital Promise). 

Action Item - Can you help us? 

We need help building a bigger team for this idea. We want to get input from each of that stakeholders that would be on a future Innovation Hub board to help further refine this idea and identify the most important pieces that would need to be included on the national/international Innovation Hub Charter. Let us know in the comments below if you can help! 

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. Potential for Impact: Imagine this solution had near perfect implementation. To what extent would this solution bring about a culture of innovation within a school or classroom?

A lot! This solution would greatly bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 83.3%

Somewhat. This solution would somewhat bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 16.7%

Not much. This solution might help with other things, but I don't see it really bringing about a culture of innovation within schools or classrooms. - 0%

2. Feasibility and Fit: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: If this solution were available to me right now, I would be able to use it with relatively low investment. (i.e. money, time, or skills).

Strongly agree (this solution strongly aligns to my/my school's current capacities). - 41.7%

Agree. - 33.3%

Neutral. - 8.3%

Disagree. - 16.7%

Strongly disagree (this solution would take a big lift in resources to pull off). - 0%

3. Adaptability: I could imagine this solution working well in a variety of school and classroom contexts across a diverse set of needs.

Absolutely! I could see this working for a variety of schools and classrooms with different or unique needs. - 66.7%

Somewhat. I could see this working for many schools and classrooms, but it might need some adjusting to fit a broad diversity of contexts. - 33.3%

Not a lot. This seems like it might be better suited to only a few contexts. - 0%

4. Scalability: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: This idea could be adopted by an ever-growing number of teachers or students without requiring significant changes.

Strongly agree (this solution could easily scale without any significant changes). - 33.3%

Agree. - 41.7%

Neutral. - 16.7%

Disagree. - 8.3%

Strongly disagree (this solution would require significant changes in order to properly scale). - 0%

5. Desirability: Do you wish this solution were available to you right now?

1 - Not a lot. There's not a big need for this right now and/or we use something already that fulfills a similar purpose in my school or classroom. - 0%

2 - 8.3%

3 - 16.7%

4 - 8.3%

5 - A lot! There's nothing like this already and I'd love to have it in my school or classroom. - 66.7%

52 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

Nice work team on being selected as a final project for the beta Teachers Guild session! My question is "Now what?". I would like to keep pushing this idea, but does this spin outside of the guild at this point? I created a template on the top of our google doc for building a working prototype to test this fall - if the team is interested in pushing further, please add steps. The goal would be to create and MVP to test - it does not have to be pretty but does have to have tangible metrics of success. Thoughts? Margaret - any thoughts on next steps within the guild?

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

I want to make this happen. I'm not sure about next steps either but think that we'll have more information during the final phase. I think the next step for our team might be to have a hangout to have a discussion.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

I am up with a hang-out--just let me know when.

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Fantastic to be selected. Indeed how we take it further. While we have a rough prototype, I thought I'd test it with the i-club teachers. I am travelling to Albania next week and will organise a meetup in one of the towns, Durres, where we have an Innovation Accelerator/Hub. Thus the teachers will carry their innovation conversation from the big group of 100 (virtual) to smaller cohorts in their local town. We will be looking at how this hub can serve to their needs and from there create a local model that can be replicated in other towns where we have schools participating in the initiative.
What do you think? I would love your suggestions.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Your visit to Albania sounds like a great opportunity to try a prototype. I look forward to hearing how you move forward with the prototype and what kind of response you get. I love the idea of each of us prototyping something over the next few weeks. We can then have a look at several prototypes.

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Thanks Donna, will do. I am back in London end of the month with hopefully some feedback and insights. It will be great to do a google hangout at some point too. Count me in.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
Team

Margaret, Fantastic idea and I love the initial thought of this. This idea has a lot of power. I think it needs to be thought out a bit.
I do have a few questions, may be you can help elaborate.
What do you think would be the charter for these hubs? Would they even have a charter?
What role do you see the innovation hubs taking on as it pertains to the various school districts?
How can this help grow the school district, without itself becoming more powerful than the district?
Is their a criteria for people to get into these hubs? How can we ensure that there are always a constant flow of new people joining?
Is/Would there a hierarchy of sorts within the innovation hub?
How do you see the local hubs connecting with other local hubs to share best practices?

I would like to see more thoughts on this and would also be happy to collaborate if need be. I hate to be the one asking many questions here. But I think this is very powerful idea that needs some more questions answered.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

These are great questions. Maggie and I just recently started brainstorming around the idea of hubs and the questions will help to move the idea forward.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

I keep wondering about the hierarchy question that you posted. I wonder how many layers of hierarchy is too much? I can see having an active team of hub leaders but they will obviously have to report back to school district leaders and other organizations. I've heard some about how Google handles their People Operations and communication between teams. We definitely need some more research into this area. I see the charter as giving some clear direction when unexpected situations arise - which will be often if innovation is happening.

Photo of Justin Medved
Team

Check out www.cohort 21.com for a model that aligns very closely with your idea. The power is in the cross classroom/school/district approach.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
Team

Team, I wanted to share a Charter (https://goo.gl/WS80ke) I had written for Local Teacher Guild Idea. I think we can use this to start some documentation for laying down some guidelines to start a hub.
If there is place I would also like to join the team and see how we can may be grow this both locally (here in Phoenix, AZ) and internationally (Hyderabad, India). I also started something with the similar idea in India a year ago called TeaShare. - More at http://teashare.ning.com/ .The community hasn't taken off like I envisioned it too. But I did learn a few lessons from it, which I intend to further evolve and also make it a part of something big. All little hubs joining together.
Let me know how I can join, help & contribute to the growing community.
Niranjan

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Thanks so much for sharing this charter. We can use this to get started with a prototype for the hub.

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Hi Donna, I am working at the moment with a British Council project that involves 100 secondary schools in Albania setting up innovation clubs in schools and 13 regional hubs across the country. I would love to contribute, let me know how I can join and help.

Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

Wow. Have you set up any clubs yet or is still in the design phase? If you have, what have you learned? Is it for teachers and students?

Photo of Margaret Powers
Team

Hi Julia,
That sounds amazing! We would love to hear what that process was/is like. I'll add you to our Team too so you jump in and help with the Connecting Dots hub work.

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Thanks Nate, we moved to implementation stage at the end of the academic school year, with 100 schools creating their i-clubs. The challenge they are addressing is how might we use technology and creativity to solve problems we are facing at school and the community where we live. Each i-club has one or two teachers and 5-10 students. The response we got from the teachers was fantastic and there was a lot of excitement by students to join the club. The teams used their founding session to create an i-club logo, getting to the heart of what the i-club is for, what we want to be, how we are going to work together, key issues in forming a meaningful team. During summer the teams voted the winning logo. School in Albania starts next Monday and we are looking forward to how the project will develop. There are several activities planned
like a big competition on solving local challenges. They will compete on ideas, and the winning 12 teams will go to a bootcamp to develop the ideas further. Working on real tasks on challenges their local community has will mean they also will have to create their local innovation ecosystem of parents, businesses, local authorities and NGOs.
We are very keen to nurture the creation of a meaningful network of the participating teachers. They came together for a day at the launch of the project and they will meet again in smaller regional groups in October to get training in Design Thinking and forge the relationships. We have also created a Facebook group where teachers continue the conversation online. A group of superusers has already emerged who will play the role of the community moderators
Just a brief description where we are and I would be grateful for any suggestions.

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Thanks Margaret, would love to.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Julia,
That is awesome! I can't wait to hear about how it goes.

Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

I am thinking about how to link this model of i-clubs with generating feedback for teachers in our innovation hub here...if you had an i-club model that had a parallel site on the teacher innovation hub, they could be used to get user feedback (in addition to teacher user feedback).

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Great idea Nate, having a paralel site on the hub would be great. Let's think how we do it.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
Team

Nate, I have set up this club in Hyderabad, and I have been seeing challenges in the process of teachers having to take time off - even if it is free. I am analyzing our learning and modifying it. The club was for teachers. Will share some of my findings here.

Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

Great explanation in the pitch video. I am adding some thoughts on the google doc to clearly delineate platform needs, student involvement, virtual and on-site differences - for everyone to review.

On another note, I piloted a first effort out here in Wyoming with a weekly innovation lunch - solving challenges using a diverse group of staff who volunteer their time and creativity to the design process. Week 1 was a great success.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Not sure if this is useful--playing around with the wireframing: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ki8s84b649v2x51/Innovation%20Hub%20Wireframe.pdf?dl=0

Photo of Carolyn Wendell
Team

Hi All!

This looks great, and glad to see you're working collaboratively on the google doc. It's great to see you're thinking about how Google may be able to help with this idea too. It would be awesome if in the next iteration you can flesh out even more what you think Google may do to help facilitate this. How could Google for Edu make an impact here? What would our role be if it were up to you? This will help us get a better idea as to whether or not it's something we could actually help with. We can try and work with you to refine what is possible.

Thanks!
Carolyn

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

We need larger organizations like Google to help us "connect the dots" and provide resources to keep everyone connected. They can learn a great deal from being involved and can support our efforts with scholarships for teachers, designing our hub space, and providing us with lessons learned about innovation from their teams. A great example of how Google for Education has already done this is through GEGs. The groups remain grassroots but there is some oversight to keep groups moving forward. This would go well beyond GEGs and connect other regional groups from higher ed and the non-profit community. We could also pull in local GDGs, Google for Entrepreneurs, etc. I've added this to the doc and will continue to brainstorm. This differs from so many umbrella type groups because it focuses on building innovation from schools outward into the community instead of the outside groups going into schools to build the innovations.

Photo of Britta Wilk McKenna
Team

Hi Donna,
Yes, I too am building an innovation hub from the inside out. I have my prototype already working in an old computer lab that I've taken over. I've been connecting the past 18 months to higher education, the STEM business community, area schools and organizations to gain their input and design assistance. This is the right approach and I encourage you to build your model with both internal and external partners alike.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Carolyn,
Any lessons learned from the GEGs? I know that there are a handful that are very active (Hawaii?) but I know that my local one hasn't been (I think the only events have been ones done by Google itself). As a non-leader of the GEG, I haven't figured out how to get more involved in it. Another way Google for Ed could support would be through the Google Certified Innovator Academies--it seems like that might be a way to connect to others around the world who are working on innovation that are at least slightly regionally organized.

Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

A couple of thoughts after reviewing the initial doc (all of which looks great).
1. How can we connect more rural schools? Larger districts are putting together these innovation centers already (like some of you belong to) and connecting them will be the lower hanging fruit. In Wyoming, we have a huge number of schools that are less than 100 students...and this shows up across the US. I would imagine that these schools feel the most disconnected without access to peers or partners. Perhaps in the pilot, we can try a few small innovation satellites as well to test reaction and see how they can partner with bigger "hubs"
2. I think we need to consider scheduling some unique synchronous time where once a month similar topic nodes work together via a chat. This will force progress.
3. Perhaps the main site can categorize by topic or innovation and any member of a satellite or hub can join by topic to add ideas.
4. Does anyone know of a digital brainstorm solution? I am seeing a lot of ideas and would love to see them all in one place (like our typical sticky note system when brainstorming in person). From there we can see themes and group into a few different concepts to determine initial prototypes. It would be great to have this functionality built in to our site so we could always go back to see the different stages of each project.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Great suggestions! I've been successful using Padlet for brainstorming. You can move ideas into groups as needed. I added a Padlet link to our document if you want to try it out. The selection process begins tomorrow!

Photo of Julia Goga-Cooke
Team

Love the idea Nate. Stormboard https://stormboard.com/is a good virtual tool for brainstorming, and you can chose different templates, design thinking one included.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

I like to use trello for this...

Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

I did some work on the prototype website and added a few more pages via links to give some detail to the prototype. If this is going to be up for review as a prototype...does it get shared back to the entire guild? If so, we probably need to clean up the brainstorming document Donna created. I can help with that tomorrow morning if needed.

Photo of Margaret Powers
Team

During the Select phase, when people are voting, they'll be able to jump into any docs we've shared here and see our work before voting.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Does anyone know anything about this collaboration: http://www.stemecosystems.org/ ?

Cultivating STEM Learning Ecosystems means collaborating across sectors in new and creative ways to increase equity, quality and STEM learning outcomes for all.

Photo of shaelynn farnsworth
Team

Greetings Innovators:
As an educator from Iowa, supporting 40+, 1 to 1 districts, silos and pockets are common occurrences, impeding innovation among staffeta aND students. Often, I see students who are problem solvers instead of problem seekers, wit ltitle exposure to deSignal thinking. Excited to use digital means to cross the global divide, pooling resources and ideas into hubs to grow capacity sounds spot on. Excited to learn more and offer contributions to help aid in this endeavor.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Hi team, Head over to our main document: https://goo.gl/mGZlQe. I've added a few links at the type for us to start prototyping a website, charter, and playbook. If you have something else to prototype, please post the link to our document.

Photo of Britta Wilk McKenna
Team

I think that Google may be able to help facilitate best practice and other hub resources through a central node. It would be great for other hubs to upload great content (webinars, video blogs, interviews, conference sessions, articles) to a central location that could be a Google centerpiece. I would consider that Google be a curator and "mother ship" of other nodes of innovation across the country and the world for us to share out through. Kinda like Google would be the education innovation network and we would be affiliate stations. Does this make sense? My affiliate station opens summer 2016, so I'm happy to broadcast to others who also want to innovate collaboratively.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Loved your video! We have a lot in common. Our district is opening a student innovation center in June 2016 called R2i2: https://goo.gl/bqvS8h. The building will also have space for our staff innovation incubator, R2 Innovates, as well as space for district office staff. A library branch is also included. Local businesses are sponsoring many of the student programs. This will be another way that we can tie our teacher teams into a larger community. Now we just need to start connecting the dots between our affiliate stations.

Photo of Britta Wilk McKenna
Team

Hi Margaret,

Some more thinking for you is from the book "Reverse Innovation" by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble. They mention 4 keys to framing innovation:

Framework for managing innovation
1. Innovate locally using global capabilities
2. Strike the right balance between local autonomy and global authority
3. Take local innovations across geographics
4. Establish systems and processes to enable items 1-3

I thought of your concept in relation to what their thinking is and it has me pondering where the right balance or set organization and systems are to local autonomy. Too little and the structure might fail and too much and the innovation can be squashed.

Food for thought - Britta

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Love the book suggestion. I've just ordered "Reverse Innovation." I'm been immersed this past week in the management aspect of innovation with our district innovation incubator. Even in a self-contained organization, we're having the conversation and asking many questions about the right balance between our innovation oversight team and our district executive staff. We need top level support to move forward with efforts but too much intervention from the top in the early stages can squash the efforts of the innovation team. At the same time, we can find ourselves in a situation where the larger authority needs to bail us out.

In our prototype charter, we need to address how the hub deals with all of the organizations that are connected. We need larger organizations like Google to help us "connect the dots" and provide resources to keep everyone connected. They can learn a great deal from being involved and can support our efforts with scholarships for teachers, designing our hub space, and providing us with lessons learned about innovation from their teams.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

I would love to help on the playbook--I do similar work for my job--connecting with my teachers and others in different ways.

Photo of Britta Wilk McKenna
Team

Yes, Margaret, I can help. Here is a video of IN2, the Innovation Hub that IMSA is building (due to open summer 2016). http://youtu.be/E33-TL1XLi0 though it seems like you have already built out your vision and set parameters for participation. Our hub is more organic and iterative than your vision is sounding. Regardless, I'd love to connect IN2 to your vision as a collaborative spoke.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Hi team members! We can use this document that Maggie created for evolving the idea: Here's the link to our planning document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13M5WCCet-IjV4jI3dGFlvJxpBtQ50_w-v4AL4aFxFUU/edit?usp=sharing.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Welcome to the new team members! Maggie's document link shares all of our thinking so far. I would like to develop some prototypes as soon as possible so that we can continue to evolve this idea and ask questions around desirability, feasibility and viability. A few suggestions are to develop a wireframe for the hub website as well as a charter and the playbook. Any other ideas about prototypes? I've started a doc that we can use to sketch our landing page: https://goo.gl/xSVrfd. Feel free to jump in and contribute.

Photo of Nate McClennen
Team

I am interested in joining this team if there is room - I think it connects really well to the other idea of creating more innovation time in schools.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Here's the link to our planning document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13M5WCCet-IjV4jI3dGFlvJxpBtQ50_w-v4AL4aFxFUU/edit?usp=sharing

Photo of Melissa Lim
Team

I love this idea! I have connected with Hive Cascadia, our local hive learning network, in pursuit of a similar goal, but would love to help if I could.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

1) I like the potential for this being a public-private bridge, too. Should your list of stakeholders include educators from different kinds of schools? 2) Using the term "charter" might confuse the issue for some people, as buzz builds.

Photo of Margaret Powers
Team

Thanks, this is great feedback Charles! I'll add it to our working doc so we can try to incorporate it.

Photo of Kevin Ruth
Team

Happy to join the team on this, as we are looking to establish this very concept through the association of schools I represent (and am humbled to lead). Onward!

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Sounds great! I'm not sure technically how to add you to the team but I'm sure that Maggie knows how it works. Ready to evolve!

Photo of Margaret Powers
Team

Thanks Kevin, I just added you to the team! Here's a Google Doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/13M5WCCet-IjV4jI3dGFlvJxpBtQ50_w-v4AL4aFxFUU/edit?usp=sharing we've been using to sketch out initial ideas. Please feel free to jump in with ideas and suggestions.