Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Connect, Innovate, Explore, Lead...which comes first?

I REALLY need to get things out of my "draft" and out there so this evening I am live blogging our small group discussion. Last night, each group member was given 4 bricks. Each one had one of the following words on it...Connect, Innovate, Explore, Lead.

Each attendee was asked to think about envisioning a school that would meet the needs of students in 5 years. To build this school would require all of the ideas listed on the bricks. They were asked to "build the school" stack the bricks so to say in order of importance.
Here are the notes I took and some of their visions

1. Not linear...You need to connect to lead so that you can innovate to explore new things

2. Most important thing is to lead the way in order to innovate you need to provide opportunities to explore and connect to sources & each other.

3. Connect most important--once you have connected you can explore--look at new things and become comfortable. Once you are comfortable with things you have explored you can lead other and then once you lead you start to become more innovative.

4. Mine was similar...but I BUILT FROM GROUND UP--need a foundation so most important should be at the bottom--connect to explore--you need to get connected in order to explore
innovate and then you can become a leader

5. I built from the ground up too..first you have to explore--go out of your comfort zone and be open--Once you have exposure you can make connections to curriculum and colleagues
Once you have that in a comfortable place, collaboratively you can become innovative
THEN you can be a leader

6. At first I thought of straightline design--then I realized you start by exploring, connect to others so you can innovate and lead which brings you back to exploring new things or teaching others to explore.

7 . Don't think leading can come first--need to explore new opportunities and then become innovative that will create leaders that can help others connect to students

***We got into a little discussion about connection--are we connecting to resources or people...?

9. Explore first and then become innovative connect with others and then lead the way--BOTTOM UP

9. Fingers between because really don't build on others:
Please note this is more of a prediction vs prioritization
As world more competitive--only thing that can be sold is innovation--as the world doesn't let go--education drives economy have to innovate to sell product--no competing country will be content with being second. Innovation is the greatest commodity--as a result there has ot be exploration--explore new markets Connect--people are aways going to have the desire to connect to one another--reaching out to others and are People have been reaching for leadership and not finding it.

What an interesting conversation..
What an AMAZING group of educators...
and I am leading THEM.... wonder if they realize how much the "staffers" learn from them this week...
Please add your thoughts...if you had these bricks to build with, what would your vision include?


  1. I always live by the quote: "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." So, I think connecting is the most important step to do first and do right.

    That said, sometimes people need to be taught/trained in a technology or subject without too much lead-time to build a relationship. What I try and do is build relationships as I go by doing a few things:

    1. Sharing personal information to show that you trust the students and want to get to know them

    2. Never reject a student's perspective no matter how much you disagree

    3. Add humour into your presentation to cut through ice

    4. Allow students to drive the training - find out what they want to know or do and try deliver that.

    The connecting will set the environment up for success or failure. I find the best teachers are ones who connect deeper with students.

  2. I wasn't in Kristin's small group last night, but I too was just down the hall having so many of the same discussions her group had. We kept coming back to the non linear approach as well. Also, we considered audience...as some of Kristin's group did when talking about connecting... Connections to curriculum, students, other professionals. At first, I felt that leading had to come last, after all of the other pieces were strong and I was confident. However, another group member brought up a great point...try exploring, provide connections to your curriculum, and lead your students becuase they will continue to teach you so much. How true!

  3. Anonymous10:11 PM


    I think that all of the blocks build upon each other and all are equally important. Teachers and administrators must be able to Connect with kids and in order to do that you need to be able to Lead by example and that requires that you know how to Explore and Innovate.


  4. I have no idea how this will read, but if you want to show equality between the 4 is it possible that a 5th needs to be added to the middle. Kinda makes a wheel now.

    My axle would be Create. Create connections, create innovation, create opportunities to explore and lead. Sure it sounds a little hokie (no offense K) but I like my action words.

    Thanks for the post. Sounds like a good time. Cool task with the blocks.

  5. um...how can I get those blocks? Seriously, those blocks...where I can I get them???

    Target??? Wal-Mart??? Beckers?? (ha!)

    Great idea for PD w/ our teachers!