NewSchools Community of Practice 2010 Session Overview and Video: Making Innovation Happen

August 26, 2010

Session Description:

“Innovation generally does not emerge from a visionary individual holed up in a laboratory,” argues NewSchools co-founder Kim Smith in a recent paper. “A wide variety of stakeholders need to play a role and be effectively interconnected in an innovation ecosystem or cycle.” Discussants engaged in a lively conversation focused on putting innovation into practice. What innovations at the classroom, school site, and school system levels are game-changers–and which others could be? How does innovation happen? What elements need to be in place? What role do tools, platforms, and services play in enabling innovation? Can innovation be incremental?

  • Kim Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Bellwether Education Partners and Co-Founder, NewSchools Venture Fund (moderator)
  • Alexandra Bernadotte, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Beyond 12 (formerly CollegeSUCCESS)
  • Milton Chen, Senior Fellow, The George Lucas Education Foundation
  • John Danner, Chief Executive Officer, Rocketship Education
  • Lillian Lowery, Secretary of Education, Delaware
  • Part 1: In this video, NewSchools partner Deborah McGriff introduces the panel. Next, Kim Smith starts the conversation by asking discussants how they think about innovation and change at the classroom, school, district, and state levels. Lillian Lowery answers first and talks about the innovations that Delaware is implementing in the public school system. Then, Milton Chen talks about the need to prepare our students for jobs of the future.

    Part 2: In this video, Alexandra Bernadotte talks about what led her to found Beyond 12. Next, John Danner discusses Rocketship Education’s strategy to “be the model” for innovation in public schools. Finally, panelists offer their reaction to the proposed “Common Core” standards and what they will mean for innovation in education.

    Part 3: In this video, Smith asks panelists to consider the timeline of innovations and how entrepreneurs know when to engage themselves in a particular problem. Next, she asks panelists if it’s more important to change beliefs or behaviors in order for an innovation to be adopted.

    Part 4: In this video, Smith asks panelists what the education community needs to do to encourage an innovation ecosystem. Next, NewSchools partner Jordan Meranus asks panelists what the education entrepreneurial movement “needs to be doing less of.” Then, an audience member asks about the importance of diversity to innovation.

    Part 5: In this video, panelists continue their conversation on diversity and its role in creating an innovation ecosystem. Next, Sarah Daniels from Dreambox Education asks panelists to comment on the problem of funding for social innovators. Then, an audience member asks panelists if they think districts will change their attitudes towards adopting new ideas.

    Part 6: In this video, NewSchools partner Jordan Meranus asks Alexandra Bernadotte about her motivations for founding Beyond 12. Next, Smith asks panelists whether the next wave of innovation will come from a younger generation or from established social innovators.

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