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Where great IDEAs come from: People working together, Not Superman

This video explains in a perfectly visual way, how cooperative’s like our group here are helping to give birth to the ideas that will transform education… What he points out is that they do take time and cooperative thought, a give and take, a stirring of the pot , a connection of half an idea, not just quick fixes or perfectly planned campaigns.

The biggest drawback to the current “Superman” tacit of throwing money and shiny top down heroes at Education transformation is lack of understanding of how real change happens….which is by cooperative effort of real people working together to play with ideas and then turning those ideas into action, not just being told what to do!

What do you think? Where else change ideas come to be hatched? Where else do you take your ideas to grow?


5 thoughts on “Where great IDEAs come from: People working together, Not Superman

  1. Why we’re not asking kids to produce and publish summaries and syntheses like this baffles me.

    After watching this video, I have two questions, both non-rhetorical:

    1. Given that schools and school-systems play host to a diverse body of learners, what obstacles most effectively keep those learners’ ideas from colliding in ways that give rise to innovation and creativity? To put it another way, what are the control rods interfering with creative reactions in schools (and can they be withdrawn from the reactor)?

    2. Is there a critical number of thinkers (above or below which the odds of innovation and creativity decrease) or a qualitative defining characteristic of successful thinking groups?

    Best regards,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | September 24, 2010, 8:02 pm
    • Chad, I’m really intrigued by your comments here.

      1) It is so absolutely true: how in school we often (almost always?) put obstacles in the way of diverse learners’ ideas colliding with each other (tracking, homogenous grouping, not valuing outlier ideas)…that school really isn’t often thought of as a place for creative reaction. Is that how we’ve defined the purpose of school?

      2) I had an interesting conversation with Ron Miller recently about how important my online life and collaboration is to my thinking across a whole variety of fronts, and he said he’d never been in an online conversation that he liked, where he didn’t feel people were grandstanding, or nasty. So I wonder–or at least for me–a sense of cordiality as diverse thinkers gather and share, is perhaps a critically important component of a good mash up? I’ve been observing very productive, creative teams for my new book (I call them “the New Collaboratives”) and these folks use “Yes/And” constructions almost always, and think about how to plus up each other’s ideas, and amplify them rather than judge or critique.

      What do you think?

      David, thank you for this great video. It’s a good one to use in lots of PDs!

      Posted by Kirsten Olson | September 26, 2010, 4:04 pm
      • Kirsten, I would dig more “Yes/And” work. I wonder how to get there, systematically and personally, just as we’ve wondered about how to reach a wider audience of teachers regarding authentic transformation of public schools. I like what Matt Landahl (@mattlandahl), a local principal, says about building culture in this post on Dangerously Irrelevant. As Matt writes, “All learners in the building must have social and emotional needs attended to through respect and basic human kindness.” Why should adults’ collaborative work be any different?

        I strive to work that way, but I often fall into old habits and let show flashes of defensiveness and righteousness that don’t help anybody. I need cordials of cordiality.

        I haven’t started – at all – any serious consideration of what made the successful and positive collaborative groups I’ve been in feel good to me. I should get on that and try to isolate out the quirks from the norms that worked to create good push.

        Off to cleverly disguise some more questions and You Tube videos as a blog post (still no email subscription on, but here’s a newish post.)


        Posted by Chad Sansing | September 26, 2010, 7:50 pm


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