I was excited to pick up The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros (@gcouros) for two reasons. 1) As an educator I have heard the use of the word #innovation more and more and as a Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact I feel it is my job to support innovation in our classrooms. 2) I also wanted to read the book because I have had the opportunity to meet and listen to George on several occasions and his message always resonated with me.
Full disclosure. The idea of having an “Innovator’s Mindset” and being “innovative” scared me. I have the opportunity to work with some wickedly smart, wildly creative and truly innovative people and I can admit that I am none of those. As someone who moves from one post-it note to do list to the other being innovative seemed like something I could never achieve. I don’t have the creativity or personal space to be innovative so how I could I model it? I could only help and support others in their innovative ideas. Then I read this book and it spoke to the heart of who I am as a person and as an educator and so maybe, just maybe, I can be innovative in my own way.
It turns out my definition of being innovative had been wrong. My ah-ha moment:
“Having empathy for those we serve” (Couros 38)…..what a powerful way to frame the thinking of having an innovator’s mindset. By meeting the unique needs of all our learners we are, each in our own way, being innovative. My mindset immediately flipped.
Being innovative is much more than using the latest technology to create learning opportunities that have never been created before. It is about empowering our learners, meeting their unique needs, accessing the tools available to us and developing relationships. It is about modeling the learning we want to see. By getting to really know our learners, we get to know ourselves as educators. To be truly innovative is to truly know our learners and in the end it is all about the learner.
George’s strengths as an author are much the same as his keynote ability: he can relate to people. He has a special talent for connecting with his audience on both a personal and professional level. Whether he is sharing stories of his family, his classroom and leadership experience or the innovative stories of his colleagues the result is the same; he connects to his audience and ignites within them the spark to empower themselves and others.
If you are in a position of leadership, if you are in a position to change the culture of your organization or you are an educator who simply wants to provide the best learning opportunities for your students, I highly recommend this book.
Click here for my learning while reading the The Innovator’s Mindset.
If you wish to be a part of The Innovator’s Mindset book study, educators from across the globe will be participating in a four week long discussion regarding innovation in education.
To join the book study click here. Hope to “see” you there!