Blog Posts, Career and College Readiness

The Innovation Ride

Making Change – Yes Me. Not Me. 

By Dr. Thomie Timmons

I have heard the following excuses during my 30 years of practice in education when it comes to changing how we work with the young people in our care. I am sure that most educators at some point in their career have said or heard something similar to:

  • “Every three years they try to get us to do something new…just wait it out and they will be training us in what we are doing now.” 
  • “We shouldn’t be ‘experimenting’ on kids.”
  • “It doesn’t matter what I do unless (insert parent, homelife, culture, young person here) doesn’t change, how can I be successful.”
  • “This lesson has always worked. They just don’t have the respect anymore and I can’t make them learn.”

All of these statements have just enough truth to give them the weight of a rational justification of not improving what we do in our work with young people. The same young people that motivated us to choose the careers we did.

I had a colleague that claimed educators eventually fell into three groups when it came to innovating their work. First, were the “Hell yeses” who often were new to the practice. They have unbridled energy, understand that change is a part of improving, and have a tremendous tolerance for ignoring the naysayers. Second, were the “Hell nos” who were masterful about using the statements previously mentioned. They are resistant to anything that causes “extra duty” and would not be above doing things that would sabotage progress. Third, were the “What the hells?” They are the practical majority. They are often what makes or breaks any innovative change. They listen to both the “Hell yeses” and the “Hell nos” and depending on the circumstance can support a change or passively wait it out. This has always been an interesting concept to me. I have even seen teachers in all three of these groups over their careers and sometimes within the same school year. Moreover, I have known veteran educators who always lead the charge with a mighty “Hell yes!” 

Emotions and Emojis 

How do we make sense of what  educators say and do when it comes to making change to improve outcomes for youth? We start by understanding  the emotions we experience as we go through the change process. At EnvisionEdPlus we call this change process the “Innovation Ride.” This ride is not entirely original to us. Like all good educators we saw a similar model being used by entrepreneurs  and knew it made sense so we adapted it and now use the Innovation Ride as a temperature gauge for our team. All EnvisionEdPlus team meetings start with the question “Where are YOU on your Innovation Ride?”  Because we believe organizations that are not attentive to the emotions of their team members quickly develop a negative culture that works against innovation. The Innovation Ride also validates that the process is not always rainbows and sunshine and that even when working on the same initiative, team members may be in different emotional states. By identifying where we are on the Innovation Ride in a deliberate and intentional process as a team, we honor each other’s journey. We also can better support each other because we understand where we each are on our Innovation Rides. 

Eddie’s Journey Can Help on Your Innovation Ride

Use EnvisionEdPlus’ Innovation Ride tool and ask your team to share “I am here and this is why”, giving voice and understanding that, although the work can be exhilarating, we need to acknowledge and support each other or our attempts at change become extremely more difficult. Without such an outlet, the “Hell nos” group grows and the focus shifts to why this innovation cannot be done – instead of how we CAN make it work. I encourage you to use EnvisionEdPlus’ Innovation Ride tool as a thermometer for your team. Acknowledge the truth that changing emotions are part of the process and support each other moving forward. Innovation is messy but the results can be life changing for the young people we serve.

High School Teams –  Join Us on this Innovation Ride: LaunchPad Summer Institute  

High Schools across Ohio (and around the country) are on their own Innovation Ride trying to figure out how to best prepare students for life after high school.  For more than three years, EnvisionEdPlus has been supporting high school teams on this journey and our schools and partners have amazing learning to share!  

We encourage every high school to bring a team and join us August 8-9th at beautiful Geneva on the Lake for LaunchPad Summer Institute 2022. Regardless of where you are on your Innovation Ride we are ready to support you.  

Check out these awesome LaunchPad sessions from some of our innovation partners! 

Ohio STEM Learning Network (non-profit partner) – leverage business, industry, and higher education partners to create authentic and relevant learning opportunities
Horizon Science Academy (Franklin Co) ~ Designing a system of credentials and workforce readiness for all
Frank’s Research Group (credential partner) ~ Leadership development and industry credentials
Pearson Education (credential partner) ~ Using Certiport credentials within pathways to enhance workforce readiness
Graham Local Schools (Champaign Co) ~ Drones and STNA partnerships and out-of-school time learning