Category Archives: working within the system

Innovating Inside of the Box

I loved this post from Seth Godin’s blog:

The problem with complaining about the system

…is that the system can’t hear you. Only people can.

And the problem is that people in the system are too often swayed to believe that they have no power over the system, that they are merely victims of it, pawns, cogs in a machine bigger than themselves.

Alas, when the system can’t hear you, and those who can believe they have no power, nothing improves.

Systems don’t mistreat us, misrepresent us, waste our resources, govern poorly, support an unfair status quo and generally screw things up–people do.

If we care enough, we can make it change.

In “The Innovator’s Mindset“, one of the ideas that I have shared is the notion of “innovating inside of the box”:

Let’s not kid ourselves. In education, especially the public sector, schools are not overloaded with funding. Innovating in our schools requires a different type of thinking, one that doesn’t focus on ideas that are “outside of the box” but those that allow us to be innovative despite budgetary constraints. In other words, we need to learn to innovate inside the box.

This is not limited to budgetary constraints.  It is in dealing with bad bosses, traditions that may be past their expiration date, policies that seem to trump common sense, or a myriad of other things.  We have a lot more power to create the solutions we need, than we give ourselves credit for.

This is a pretty powerful image.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.08.08 PM

If you want to wait for others to make the changes that you see as necessary in education, you might be waiting forever.  It is crucial to do what we can within the “system” or the “box”, but it takes changing our thinking first.