Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Am I an innovator - NOPE! Just a Day to Day Incremental Improver

What is the definition of Innovation?

Here is Webster's definition:

Definition of innovation

  1. 1:  the introduction of something new
  2. 2:  a new idea, method, or device
Webster's Dictionary of 1828 defines it this way:


INNOVA'TIONnoun [from innovate.] Change made by the introduction of something new; change in established laws, customs, rites or practices. innovation is expedient, when it remedies an evil, and safe, when men are prepared to receive it.

I personally like the definition from 1828 better as it applies to school.
With a quick search of Google here is Forbes list of the top 5 innovations of the 21st Century:
The list is as follows, in order of importance:
1. Internet, broadband, www (browser and html)
2. PC/laptop computers
3. Mobile phones
4. E-mail
5. DNA testing and sequencing/human genome mapping 
Okay, enough background.  Are we as educators innovators, do we think "outside the box", do we have a growth mindset as it relates to trying to make changes based on new information?  I would say yes to all of those.  

I would also say that there are better words used to describe us and what we do.  Maybe not as catchy as innovators, but I am not looking to sell anything here, just my thoughts.  

I would say as educators we are adapters, connectors, and bridges.  We show students "things", we understand how they work, we use them to make our lives easier, and our teaching more effective.  We are able to explain them to Kindergarteners and Seniors alike.  We are able to guide their parents through what we are doing.  We are able to help colleagues understand.  We are able to show administrators the power of using a tool in class and that it is not a "waste of time". 

We are better than innovators, we are appliers, users, and adopters.  These are not sexy words, but they are the ones who get the job done.  Without these words, innovation stops at an idea, a product no one buys or applies, a thought left to a blog, maybe like this one.  

I want to stop thinking of myself as an innovator or "outside the box" thinker.  I want to think of myself as a manipulator, adapter, supporter, and modernizer.  I am not innovative, I don't think "outside the box".  Those are expectations of myself at this point.  That is mindset stuff, not work.  The work can create the mindset as you see it play out, it is not one before the other, it is one in the shadows and the other out front.  What truly gets done is what you do, not how you think.  Thinking is of utmost importance, don't get me wrong.  I am assuming if I am arguing against using innovation as an adjective, I have already adopted it as a description internally! 

I am a third way when needed person, problem solver, and task oriented communicator. These are boring descriptions, and if you use the word innovation, I am certainly not going to be a hater.  I just like these exercises of challenging my own previous thoughts, that I thought to be perfect truths.  I am now trying to convince myself differently! HAHA! 

Where is the mirror, so I can self-talk myself into my new paradigm of boring adjectives to describe myself and convince my own eyes.  Innovator, I mean "outside the box" thinker, I really mean day to day incremental improver is here, have no fear!  Not gonna sell any books or a program with that title.  Probably won't even be able to inspire my colleagues or next door neighbor...

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