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Accelerate Strategic Initiatives by Elevating Professional Agency
There’s one very clear reason why districts often struggle to make progress on strategic initiatives. In so many of our learning organizations, there is a lack of ownership on the part of frontline staff when it comes to strategic plans. Simply put, frontline staff don’t feel a connection to the most important, aspirational goals articulated by the leadership team.
Sound familiar? It probably does.
Because it isn’t just happening in your district. It’s happening everywhere. And the solution isn’t simply to improve your communication or training efforts. The only real solution is to start including frontline staff in your strategic design process.
We even see evidence of this dilemma at a national level. Earlier this fall, the results of the annual NAEP test (the “nation’s report card”) were made public. Yet again, we saw a disappointing lack of progress despite diligent efforts on the part of classroom teachers and site leaders to the contrary as well as significant investments in ed-tech and instructional tools. How could this be?
At InnovateK12, our hope is that education leaders will soon come to the realization that the key variable in growing student achievement or gaining traction on strategic work isn’t another shiny device or expensive training program - the key variable for progress in our schools today is professional agency. In other words, student achievement will grow best in schools where frontline staff are fully engaged in the design of strategic initiatives and the plans for implementation. Essentially, this is the same Total Quality Management approach that W. Edward Deming brought to Japan during the reconstruction era, which ended up creating successful companies like Toyota. Deming’s key finding: Empower your staff and put everybody in the organization to work accomplishing the transformation!
The main reasons education leaders don’t follow Deming’s advice and engage staff in a more meaningful way is that there isn’t a well-established, easy-to-use model in education for doing so and there aren’t any tools available for engaging such a large group in such an important conversation.
The InnovateK12 toolkit allows all members of your certified and non-certified staff to have access to your strategic design process. And unlike other survey-based tools, the ideation software experience that InnovateK12 provides will help you create a culture in your district where staff members own the solutions and engage fully in efforts to improve the learning environment for students. Isn’t that what all leaders want?
“The crowd sourced innovation program has unleashed the creative potential of our staff, introduced and embedded innovation into the culture of our organization. We have launched many successful innovation initiatives in our district as a result of the crowd sourced program. Best of all, most of these do not increase our operational budget.”
Dr. Stephen Malone, Becker Public Schools
"The fluidity provided in allowing staff to propose solutions, identify the root problem, brainstorm other options all through human-centered design thinking, allows for planning and ideas to be vetted unlike any strategic planning process I have seen."
Dr. Ray Queener, Cambridge-Isanti Schools
“By using crowd-based innovation it puts our employees in the driver seat to identify problems, think about solutions, and take action that benefits students and our community.”
Dr. Josh Swanson - Eden Prairie