“New innovations more often than not tend to be cobbled together from the parts that are available at the time…”
In “Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom Using: 20% Time, Genius Hour, and PBL to Drive Student Success” A. J. Juliani cites Steven Johnson's book "Where Good Ideas Come From" about seven patterns of innovation that are repeated in nature and culture:
- The Adjacent Possible: New ideas are rarely all that new. Innovations comes from building on previous ideas and connecting our ideas to as many people and places as possible.
- Liquid Networks: The elements of an idea are worthless unless they are properly connected. Liquid networks allow for those connections, and collisions, to happen between all ideas.
- The Slow Hunch: It usually takes time for ideas to connect and evolve into something tangible. The hunch allows people’s ideas to grow and morph. This is why a “commonplace book” is so important. Collect all of your ideas and small bits of information. Then let them grow.
- Serendipity: Innovation is rarely planned. However, one key condition is that the discovery must be meaningful to “you.” There has to be a purpose and reason, or a hunch will never materialize into a connection.
- Error: Noise and error are often associated with unpredictability. Unpredictability is a key component to innovation. Fail fast and keep moving on. Innovation will then happen.
- Exaptation: Allow for diversification in ideas and connections. This way a combination of ideas can connect to accidentally tackle new problems.
- Platforms: Google is the best example of a platform for innovation. The company’s procedures encourage collaboration, the sharing of new and old ideas, and experimentation. A platform is a place where the other innovative patterns exist in community.
Johnson suggests that new ideas, new innovations tend to not just happen in a stereotypical "eureka" moment...they evolve. As ideas mingle and bump into each other and over time they sometimes grow into new innovations.
The question for me is, how to we create these conditions in a sustainable way in our schools for teachers AND students?
Here are a couple of quick videos to introduce you to Steven Johnson: