It takes a certain kind of person to be innovative. Having the passion and conviction to follow through, to take the risk despite the critics and road blocks, is tough. The old saying, If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, still holds true today. It isn't easy to hear over and over again that you are doing it wrong. It won't work. You are making a mistake. The fact is though, if we never break from the status quo to try something out of the norm, we are left with sameness and miss out on amazingness.
As educators, we spend a lot of time telling each other, our students, and ourselves that failure is good. We learn from failing. We encourage students to keep at it, to not give up, to finish the effort. Some of us even model that sometimes, so that we can show students that risk taking is okay, necessary, and totally worth it. And then, we educators, look at a new idea, a way to empower our students, a system that get's them in the driver's seat of their own learning, and we back away slowly in fear...of failing...of failure.
This may not seem like an educational blog post at first, but bear with me. Though educators are whom I originally intended this post for, it is not limited to them. I think the implications will become clear as you dig in deeper into the post, since that is where I swing the hammer of obviousness...hard. But don't duck the swings. Even though you will see it coming in plenty of time to duck, let it hit. Absorb the blow. Find the beauty.
While I'm a big proponent for thinking OUTSIDE the box, I nearly always use the results of that thinking to innovate WITHIN the box where I currently reside (a few times to get out of the box), whether that be personally or professionally. My brain does not work like other peoples, a fact of which I'm well aware (and my mother did not have me tested), but there are some things everyone can do to think a bit out of the box and then apply it TO and WITHIN your own box (and learn about prepositions as a side bonus).