The Innovator’s Way

I just started a new book called The Innovator’s Way: Essential Practices for Succesful Innovation by Denning and Dunham (avail. at the Seattle Public Library) .

Even though I’ve just started the book, I really like the way the authors define innovation: “Innovation is the adoption of new practice in a community. ”

Notice that the authors focused on the word practice and not on the word product or program.

The mission at my school as I’ve mentioned in my blog begins with the words, “Through Innovative Teaching …” and I’ve really been trying to explore what that means this year.

This book really focuses on the definition above and focuses on the following four areas:

  1. Community: the people who change their practices. How large is the community? What do its members value? What do they sacrifice to get the innovation?
  2. Practices: the ways of doing things – distinguishing the practices being changed inside the community from the innovator’s practices that bring about the change.
  3. Adoption: the commitment to new practices and their incorporation into the prior practices of the community.
  4. Success: the goal of adoption  is achieved. Three environmental factors support success: content expertise, social interaction, and movement into new opportunities. How do we cope with failure? Learn and come back for later success? Abandon when the practice is obsolete or low in value?

The book breaks down the structure of innovation practice into 8 parts:

  1. sensing
  2. envisioning
  3. offering
  4. adopting
  5. sustaining
  6. executing
  7. leading
  8. embodying

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get through all 8 before the holidays are over. So far, this book is intriguing and fascinating. We’ll see how it goes.

 

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