Fall in love with the problem. Not with the solution. This is every innovator’s mantra. And, a few notes that I share with the participants or observed in my Education Innovation Design and Implementation Workshops:
1. The problem is the core and focus. Sometimes, teachers or school leaders step into the room with solutions in mind, not knowing that they might not be the right solution to the right problem. These solutions are often from things they have learned or plans they have conceived before they even look at the problem, e.g. Fads they see on the internet or attractive new things they have gotten from workshops. Not at all bad, but sometimes, we fail because we have the wrong solution to the right problem.
2. The right problem is not a low-hanging fruit. To uncover the right problem, one must be ready to get dirty. I mean, one must be ready to dig deeper into the problem, to live the lives and experiences of those being affected by the problem. True innovators take courage in uncovering and facing the roots of the problems they are solving.
3. Leave your ACRONYMS at the door. They are not the core of your project. Teachers spend so much time on this. They can’t let them go once the true problem and focus of their project come out. True innovators do not modify or change the problem just to fit their ACRONYMS. (Context: There is an obsession with acronyms and titles here in the Philippines.)
4. It is ok to FAIL! True innovators know that failure is essential to uncovering the best solution to a problem. Take the courage to fail. People won’t count how many times you have fallen. We will count how many times you have stood up and continued.
5. A culture of collaboration helps sustain education innovations. An unhealthy and high level of competition kills innovation. An environment where teachers and leaders are not keen on helping and guiding each other promotes selfishness. They do not trust each other and they are only looking after themselves. How can you say that your innovation is impactful and worthy to be scaled if you are the only one doing it?