Monday, November 10, 2008

Systems Change Speaker Keith Sawyer

This speaker braved the blizzard to get to Rapid City on November 7 to speak to educators who appreciated his low-key but informed approach to creativity and innovation. One idea he described that sparked my interest was how the Gore Company (makers of Gore-Tex) encourages innovation. The company allocates 10% of employees' time to explore something they feel has great potential. They do not need permission or approval to do this exploration, but they frequently collaborate. This unstructured time allows innovation to come from the bottom-up, which has kept the company viable, fresh, and competitive. Imagine what it would be like to have 10% of a day or a week to be creative or to follow a dream! It reminded me of some school leadership teams that I have seen at work...The synergy in those teams as they look at student work and plan instructional improvements can be extremely creative and energizing! It also supports my belief that everyone is creative...just in different ways.

3 comments:

Keith Sawyer said...

This is Keith Sawyer...I am so glad that I made it to Rapid City for this conference! It's exciting to see educational leaders working on systems change. You are all people who can make a difference. I believe that the key to school success is collaboration, among teachers, administrators, and students. That's why I wrote a book called GROUP GENIUS. I'm a big supporter of "distributed leadership," where principals and other school leaders create a culture where good ideas can emerge from throughout the school staff. The top scholar of distributed leadership in schools is Jim Spillane at Northwestern.

maggie said...

Keith, you were a good addition to our conference! Thank you for the distributed leadership reference; it's interesting reading!

maggie said...

P.S. It's 70 degrees and sunny today!