Innovation: The Dilemma Within Innovation (III)

The very things that make an institution great can be the very things that lead to its demise.

Clayton M. Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, puts it this way, “… [capacity is] hard to develop [in an organization because] managers don’t want to throw the existing processes out – the methods work perfectly doing what they were designed to do,” (p. 175).

People within most organizations are disinclined to change because the resources, processes, and values of their organizations are designed to support the status quo, or maybe, at best, sustaining change*. The stories of success and the tangible and intangible rewards for good performance are aligned with their current cultures, but most definitely not with disruptive change.

Let’s bring this discussion to education with a look at a disruptive change: technology.

Some teachers claim they don’t need new stuff because their “methods work perfectly doing what they were designed to do.”

And that’s true … to a point. It’s true their methods do what they were designed to do.

But here is the point: If students never change, then the teaching strategies that worked in the past might be adequate for our classrooms today and in the future.

But students do change.

For example, today their exposure to technology has dramatically changed their learning opportunities and needs, and that requires a conversation that (1) recognizes those changes and the nature of organizations, and (2) how to successfully work with disruptive innovation.

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* For definitions and examples of sustaining and disruptive changes, please see “‘The Red Wagon on Steroids’ and Innovation.”

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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