Innovation Meters

Grading systems often serve as a primary measurement of learning, but what if there was a similar activity for measuring innovation skills.

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I'm inspired by the many Discover contributions about reframing failureredefining success, and celebrating innovation.

During the Interpret workshop earlier this week, Carolyn and I were discussing these concepts and a seedling of this idea came to mind: What if there was a grading system, but for innovation skills? And what if it wasn't about passing or failing, or perfection equaling success, but instead meant to motivate risk-taking? Additionally, what if it was for teachers, as well as schools?

I'm imagining a scale or metering system, where each time a teacher or school dares to design or innovate a new idea, they and other teachers at their school can gauge a variety of factors such as:

• How willing to fail were they when attempting their new idea?
• How curious they are to continue moving the idea forward after the first iteration, no matter its initial level of success?
• How much the idea, experiment, or attempt at innovation improved their creative confidence?

Maybe it's on a scale of 1 to 10, or red to green, or seed emoji to tree emoji. The goal would be for attempts at innovation to feel like fun learning experiences.

Regarding scalability, schools could then establish and share their own "scores" externally. This could be done by aggregating teacher "scores" or simply deciding as an internal group what their school "score" is. The system would be easy to scale on a school-by-school basis and could be adapted according to what scale works best for the school.

A system for sharing the scores more broadly would require the right form of community and would be a bit more tricky to figure out. Possibly a Google+ community would be the right way for schools to connect, where teachers represent their schools by sharing their monthly/annual stories, "scores", and results.


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Photo of T.J. Edwards

I think OpenIDEO might have already developed a great prototype for this with their "Design Quotient". I've always been intrigued by that nifty little pie graph on my profile that paint a picture of how active I've been in the collaboration vs. research vs. ideation, etc. What is genius about this graphic is that it is 1) quantifiable, 2) motivates me to improve low areas, and 3) the picture itself is unique to me - like design thinking DNA.

What if we had a school innovation quotient? Buck Institute (and others) have some great rubrics for assessing collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, etc. Imagine if students were regularly assessed using these and shared using the Innovation Quotient graphic. You might even click on each section of the pie graph and it would expand to show all of the student work that contributed to that number. I also really like that a pie graph implies parts of a whole. Whereas an 86% might highlight that you are 14% less than perfect, the pie graph helps start a narrative. eg. "These two students are really innovative, but I can see that Student A really thrives when collaborating with others while student B is a visionary who ideates lots of ideas"

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