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2 Minute Summary: 4 Common Missteps on the Road to Innovation

Here's your two minute summary of 4 Common Missteps on the Road to Innovation by David Aycan, a managing director at IDEO. IDEO is a global design company made up of designers, engineers, teachers, researchers, and more.

Want to successfully innovate and make creative changes in your school? Today’s article, 4 Common Missteps on the Road to Innovation, discusses how to avoid mistakes on your journey to innovation. While Aycan shares advice to help businesses innovate, his methods can apply to any organization and industry - like education!


*Note - when reading this article, I viewed it through an educational lens so stakeholders and customers in this case are your students and school community.


Aycan shares that IDEO has spent years working with various organizations worldwide and collecting data on team behaviors. In particular, they've been paying attention to an organizations's ability to innovate, develop, and implement solutions. Through extensive research and assessments, IDEO has found which behaviors have the biggest impact on a team's ability to successfully innovate.

Using prototypes early on allows teams to uncover any weaknesses in their idea.

Here are four ways, according to Aycan, that tell us how organizations today innovate successfully.


1. Prototyping can be used effectively for any organization.

While you might associate the word "prototyping" with software or tech companies, prototyping can actually be an effective technique for any industry interested in innovation. Teams can use quick, simple prototypes to test out potential ideas. Creating prototypes using inexpensive materials early on allows teams to uncover weaknesses in their ideas, saving them time and money.


(Imagine you were redesigning your classroom. Before buying new furniture, you could sketch out or prototype different ideas of how your classroom might be arranged.)


2. Don't lose sight of what matters.

Aycan’s article mentions that it’s critical for your organization to have a purpose. Organizations with a clear purpose are more likely to implement new ideas successfully. Just be cautious and avoid being too purpose focused as it can lead to narrow-mindedness amongst team members. Having a solid purpose is essential for you and your team, but just don’t let it cloud what your team (and students need).


3. Pace yourself.

When trying out new ideas, make sure you have a plan and clear-cut objectives. Without a plan, you'll potentially waste your team's time, energy, and money.


Furthermore, one solution isn't always enough. According to Aycan, teams that assess several ways to solve a problem will be much more effective. Testing out multiple ideas helps your team remain open-minded. Finally, it's important to also involve others (like students, colleagues, and your school community) to test out ideas during development so your team can uncover useful insights and feedback.


4. Don't neglect people and culture.

It's not just about process. People are what lead to the development of great ideas. Using a consistent process to solve problems is worthwhile. However, this process shouldn’t be at the expense of your team's values and passions. People and culture are at the heart of innovation.


Regardless of what type of organization you work in, it’s helpful to consider these four insights that Acyan has shared when innovating and executing new ideas. This advice can definitely apply to a school environment and is worthy of consideration.


Check out the full article here. Happy innovating!