noun | in·no·va·tion | \ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən\
1 : the introduction of something new
2 : a new idea, method, or device
On the surface, this is the standard definition of the word “innovation.” A hallmark of girls’ schools, however, is to dive deeper. Our definition is much broader in scope – one with an emphasis on process and problem-solving rather than the end product itself. Innovation is not simply about change for change’s sake or upgrading to the latest technology – it’s about developing new solutions to existing challenges as well as those no one has even considered yet. It’s about asking new questions – and asking questions in new ways. It’s about challenging limits and exploring possibilities, all while staying true to your beliefs and mission.
What does this mean for education? For classroom teachers, it might entail delivering content in a new, more effective way. For academic administrators, it could result in developing alternative ways for students to master 21st century skills – and for faculty to assess them. For advancement professionals and enrollment managers, it might include rethinking the use of social media or expanding applicant pools to achieve new levels of constituent engagement and financial sustainability for our schools.
And what does it mean for students – especially girls? It means providing girls with opportunities to develop the behaviors, skills, habits, and mindsets that will allow them to dream big, try, fail, reimagine, try again, and make their way confidently through the world. It means, in addition to teaching them about history or science or how to speak another language, educators are also helping them to become curious, courageous, empathetic, creative, and collaborative problem solvers and global citizens.
In short, innovation is about asking, “What’s next?”
Join fellow educators at the 2017 NCGS Conference, Education Innovation: Building Cultures of Creativity to define and perhaps redefine what innovation means for your school! Mark your calendar for June 25-27, 2017, at the Marriott Washington Wardman Park in Washington, DC, for what promises to be an engaging three days full of sharing ideas, making connections, and enthusiastically exploring the possibilities of “what’s next?”