Innovation in K-12 Education

You can see the rise of whiteboards and bean bags instead of desks, maker spaces, flex areas, collaboration zones, as well as more media-editing suites. Some of these schools look like a Design Studio or Architecture firm. Even a big educational book publisher, like Pearson, offer a suite of products with such transformational taglines as “Learning Without Limits” these products and services include helping school systems change their approach to education from the classroom layout to their entire orientation to curriculum.

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Practicing Innovation: An Inside Job

Innovators need to be driven by purpose, spend some quiet time deeply thinking each day, and be afflicted with an undying curiosity to thrive.

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Healthy Dose of Amnesia

As you start a strategic process or an innovation discipline, bring in those who will force you to confront your own blind spots, get off your old soapboxes, and generate some new thinking.

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Finding Courage to Do Something Great

For a little more than a year, I’ve been involved with ECHO, an organization that helps people start charitable clinics based on the model of Church Health in Memphis. ECHO has ambitions to make a huge positive affect on creating access to high-quality healthcare for the underserved.

It will be a big deal if we reach our goals. Getting there will be difficult. In trying, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about what it takes to make a big difference. But I think it ultimately comes down to one thing:

Courage.

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Ethnography in Nonprofit Program Evaluation

Ask a nonprofit professional how her work is going, and you will likely be met with a passionate conversation about the difference she is making in the lives of her clients. Ask her how she is evaluating her program and the response will probably be less enthusiastic. You may hear about how many clients were served by the agency in a given time period or a dispassionate recounting of statistical information. Worse still, she may not have an answer at all!

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Scaling the qual/quant divide

1) Qualitative and quantitative research and data collection are mutually exclusive
Tools used in qualitative and quantitative research look very different from one another and, in turn, yield very different results.

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Purpose

Purpose drives everything—employee interactions and authority, competitive differentiation, product development, business strategy, revenue modeling, and culture.

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I Have a Question.

As a consultant to more than 150 organizations I see things go awry when curiosity is repressed. If you want to have a successful organization, if you want an amazing career, cultivate curiosity. Curiosity is the essence of empathy. Curiosity is the root of passion and interest. Inherent in curiosity is a willingness to reframe and question everything. When curiosity fades, our connections fade. We get depressed, isolated. Performance wanes.

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Finding Great Interns for Your Business

Internships: a symbiotic relationship helping to launch young adults into successful careers, or an exploitation of free labor?

The answer, much to the distress of everyone wanting an answer, probably depends. And, to further enrage you, won’t really be covered at all in this article. (If you’re bent out of shape about that, some simple Googling should quickly find you dozens of people that support your view.)

Philosophical debates aside, we’ve had a longstanding internship program here at Southern Growth Studio, and to our knowledge it’s been a fantastic experience for both our company and the young folks we work with. (Yes, we do pay them.)

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Social Media Experiment

Sadly, everyone is so prewired by their positions that it seems as if we do not have an agreed upon basis of objective fact as a culture. Social media exposes a deep divide where even scientific facts can be disputed as facts because they came from a liberal university. It’s a strange day when people can choose their own reality, their own fact base, and not just their own beliefs, opinions, and interpretations of fact.

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Leverage Your Core Strength for Sustainable Growth

Most successful new businesses begin by taking advantage of a new, untapped opportunity developing in the marketplace. These businesses can grow organically for many years by continuing to take advantage of their formula for success. Take Nike, for example: during the 1980s and 1990s, Nike repeatedly took advantage of the burgeoning athletic gear market. The company leveraged its presence in athletic footwear to expand into athletic apparel, and ultimately into athletic equipment. Beginning with running, Nike would eventually expand into basketball, tennis, soccer, golf, and other sports by repeating this growth formula over and over again, in both the U.S. and internationally.

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