In the spring of 2014, the students body of the upper school learned of a new program called Innovation Diploma. There was very little explanation besides, “It will be what you want it to be.” I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me sign up for it, and, as is obvious from some of my previous blog posts, I’m in. The entire summer, people were constantly asking what Innovation Diploma was about, what we were going to do, and other such questions. More often than not, the answer was, “I don’t know.”
When we got back to school in the fall, I didn’t know at all what to expect. And, to be perfectly honest, there are still times that I don’t know, but that’s changing. Doing the posts about what we do has helped me focus. It makes me think about and dive deeper into the experiences I have had.
But that is not what this post is about. This post is about the following prompt:
Take what you’ve learned these past few weeks, and write a clear reflection that captures your personal growth as an innovator. What does it mean to innovate? To be an innovator? How have you progressed as an innovator? What have you learned about the skill(s) of innovation? What moments do you feel helped you understand how observation, questioning, networking, associating, and experimenting play key roles in the make-up of an innovator? In what ways could you grow as an innovator? How can you help yourself do that? How can we help you do that?
As one of my fellow Innovation Diploma-ers has said in her response (found here) to this prompt, “innovator” has no real definition. So how can I say what it means to innovate or to be an innovator without repeating what she already said (which you should all go check out from that link because it is amazing)? Or what anyone else has said? I can’t really, which, while disappointing, is just something I’m going to have to live with.
As for the third question, the answer is, “I’m not entirely sure.” You see, I know I have, because somewhere inside of me, I can feel a shift from who I used to be, but I can’t really put it into words. Is it confidence? More creativity? A better understanding of what it means to be an innovator? Again, I don’t know. And while I hate not knowing, I’ve gotten used to the feeling. I guess that’s the biggest difference, now that I think about it. I used to feel pressured all the time to know everything because I thought people saw me as “one of those kids” and while I think some do, I’ve become “comfortable with being uncomfortable” as we say. I don’t expect myself to know everything and have gotten used to chasing after dirt trails so I can learn more.
When it comes to the skills of innovation, I know I’m a little shaky. I understand how they go into being an innovator, especially after the Harvard Business Review of The Innovator’s DNA (which I totally still think could be a really cool summer reading book instead of the usual fictional books). I still not sure, however, how I use them. I’ve always understood things better if I have examples, and while the HBR of The Innovator’s DNA provided examples, because they were examples that pertained to businesses, I had a hard time connecting with them.
Aside from what I have stated in the above paragraphs, there is only one other thing that pops in my mind when I read the last three questions: my iVenture. I kind of already know what I want to do for my iVenture, which is something to do with education. I do not, however, know what exactly I want to focus on in that massive field. Do I want to focus on creating the perfect learning environment, physically, mentally, and emotionally? Do I want to focus on easing the stress people feel when they think about school/are in school? Do I want to focus on getting people’s passions to be more important in their learning? The possibilities are endless, which is both exciting and scary. Also, that 4 page packet we have to fill out before we can start our iVenture is freaking me out and making me lose some of my motivation.