Days Three & Four


Fostering an Innovative Mindset 

Building capacity for being an innovative
and connected  leader

Luke 8:16
“No one after lighting a lamp, hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed
but puts it on a lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light”

Learning Focus

To reflect on how an innovative mindset for school leadership can foster a culture of innovation and risk-taking for 21st century learning

Introducing the challenge

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-12-51-57-pmAs we saw in the previous challenge, connected learning enables Catholic school leaders to build their instructional leadership by staying current with new pedagogies, technologies and practices that support innovation and deeper learning in their schools. In this challenge we look at  how Catholic school leadership at all levels can embrace change through an innovative mindset that fosters risk-taking and a culture of continuous learning and growth.

George Couros believes that innovation is more of an mindset or a way of thinking rather than a skill. He describes the innovator’s mindset as “the belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed leading to the creation of new and better ideas.”  According to Couros, an innovator’s mindset takes the growth mindset a step further by focusing on how new knowledge and ideas can create something better and valuable for student learning.

process-of-interationBeing innovative is not  just about introducing new technologies. Rather it is about creating optimal learning experiences through a process of iteration and reflection that focuses on addressing an important learning need.  The innovation process is supported by leadership actions that fosters a mindset for risk-taking, network learning, resiliency and reflection or the ability to learn from both success and failure.

PQP Curriculum Connections
● Develop strategies to build, communicate and implement a shared vision
● Develop an environment in which intellectual risk is promoted

The Ontario Catholic Leadership Framework
● Setting Directions
● Developing Organization to Support Desired Practices

ISTE Standards for Administrators
● Visionary Leadership
● Excellence in Professional Practice

Doing the challenge

Seeing well creates the energy or spark that captures the imagination allowing us to question, think, relate and act. When we use our lenses to create effective ways of seeing with others we humans create a specialized energy that ignites and creates vision. Therefore, innovation is the result of a willingness to see. It is in using our adaptive and collaborative energy that the lamp of ingenuity is lit enabling us to generate new ideas and solutions.”  – Pam Garbutt, CPCO Principal Connections

Moonshot Thinking…

Day Three – Learning Engagement #3:  View the video, Moonshot Thinking as an example of forward thinking, leadership and innovation. Reflect on an innovative practice, a book, TED talk or speaker that inspires you.  Share  your inspirational example using any social media tool with a link to #PQP20. 

Fostering an Innovative Mindset & Culture

Day Four – Learning Engagement #4:  In his blog, George Couros describes the eight characteristics of an innovator’s mindset.  These characteristics underlie the behaviours and actions that drive a culture of innovation. In a recent article for CPCO, he pushes educators to understand that change is an opportunity for growth and to do something amazing in a learning environment where an innovative mindset or culture can flourish. As you reflect on these two articles think about how an “Innovator’s Mindset” builds capacity for the “Personal Leadership Resources” identified in the Ontario Catholic Leadership Framework.

Use the guiding questions below to share your learning on your class reflection sheets.  (You can always respond first on your personal blog and post the link to your blog in your shared class reflection sheet.)

Guiding Questions:

  • How do you exhibit the innovator’s mindset in your current learning and work?
  • Share an example of how you have embraced innovation in your practice.

Sample Reflections from PQP Candidates 

Bright Ideas

“I see myself as both an observant and reflective person. As an observer, I am continually looking around my classroom, my school, and scrolling through social media (Pinterest, Twitter, FB, etc.) to find new ideas that will enhance my teaching. As a reflective educator, I try and take a moment (or two) each day to think what I would or could have done differently with the way I approached my lessons or how I dialogued with students and colleagues. Was I able to meet the needs of all my learners? Were my students engaged? My own personal goal is to be more of a risk-taker; to learn along with my students instead of front-loading my own knowledge before I teach a lesson. To exhibit more of an innovator’s mindset, I decided to to roll out a coding activity using Scratch. I loaded all the ipads and together, in small groups, we introduced ourselves to coding. Sure enough, the natural investigators quickly understood the program faster than I could have expected. They were all so eager and supportive to share their new learnings and to take on the role as a leader. Collaboratively, I watched them code in ways that I had not anticipated (using their faces as cartoon characters, voice overs, etc. This approach is exactly what Michael Fullan looks for in leaders for the 21st century: a leader that is seen as a change agent. Fullan states in his writings that leaders need to “walk the talk” (show you are committed to deep learning and the desired outcome) and roll up your sleeves to learn with your staff. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what an innovator’s mindset can look like and it reminds me that it doesn’t matter the age of the child, we all have the capacity and capability to show curiosity, courage, passion, and respect when we learn. I think I need to listen to the wise words of Thomas Edison more as I focus on exhibiting a greater innovator’s mindset…“There are no rules here. We’re trying to accomplish something.” – A. Elliot, 2017

Beyond the challenge…




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