Institutions and employees within them will remain at rest unto acted upon by an internal or external force. Externally, this is the preasures of society, markets and learners demanding change. Internally, this is tempored radicals within the machine knowing the machine needs to change. But change is more complex then that, because preasures for change and the path toward change are not linear. It also means those with motivations to not remain at rest will exponentially increase in their ability to not stay at rest. One innovation after immense frustration kicks off dozens as opposed to one leading to one more.

The Btopro Flow of Educational Innovation

Btopro's Flow of Educational Innovation In my spectrum of educational innovation, I place Ease of the staff to manage on the same axes as frustration. Something is either easy or difficult, not much to note there. Vertically we see Sameness and Innovation. Now, The easier something is, the more the same it will remain. Once we've transitioned a technology to a resting state, say ethernet cable in the walls for Fiber connectivity, then we'd like it to remain the same and be easy to maintain (I know network engineers will say it's actually frustrating as hell and the same but let's imagine here). Once that technology is at rest and stabilized, we really don't want there to be innovation in that space. Innovation, both it's pursuit and what it takes to pursue, is a different animal. Innovation forces the individual and the organization to strive toward frustration. Frustration and perserverence lead to growth. For example, backend application development is very difficult at first. But once one masters MySQL and PHP (as examples), and then masters Ubuntu (operating system); now, the frustration subsides and the exponential inversion of the frustration, arching towards innovation can occur. And not just occur, but do so at scale.


Another example. Now that you've mastered PHP/MySQL to make the underpinnings of an application. And Ubuntu for it to ride on. Learning Docker and doing something meaningful with it is relatively trivial. Using knowledge of Docker, you can virtualize and deploy the once impossibly complex and frustrating task, an infinite number of times. Your command of 1 application was greater effort then the now command of 1000s. And this, from an organizational perspective, is what leads to transformation.

The pathway to transformation

What process are you engaged in now that will keep things the same? Is it reliance on legacy solutions? Perhaps staffing that "won't get us there" (whatever there is). Then it's possible you should accept your sameness and relegate the easy, stationary tasks to those that work there now. You must achieve stability with those best suited for stability. (note the bold) This is also an incredibly important function of any organization. Without sameness, without ease of management, you do not have an organization to manage. But the process of transformation of practice, of digging in and fundamentally enhancing what was frustrating into what is now easy (and eventually the same even if previously infinitely difficult) is a different task. It's not the same. It's not better, it's not worse. There may be more conferences to submit to and it might have more "glory" as we as humans tend to glorify and appreciate different and new more then old and stable. However, these are two very different car engines : innovation, and sameness.

Two engines

It's critical that we as bringers of the new digital revolution realize this. If we are to bring our institutions into the future, we need a different set of engines in order to do so. You don't replace the HVAC system with a next generation HVAC system while maintaining the current one. You maintain the current one, explore new ones, and then when the time is right, start to make the switch. We need to focus our organizations on the future and dedicate thought leadership and technical expertise specifically toward that . Where are we going is just as critical as having those maintain where we collectively are now. Leading out of the cave

unsplash-logo Ana Gabriel unsplash-logo Wes Carpani