Sunday, 1 February 2015

OPEN Ch 7 Pt 2 : 5 Commonalities of Innovative Workplaces

'The most innovative companies in the world regard work as learning'.

Learning environments that offer opportunities to explore, trial, play and collaborate allow innovation and creativity to flourish for all learners (staff and students). This was the focus of my post based on the first part of Chapter 7 in my chapter by chapter review of the book that Sir Ken Robinson describes as a 'revelation' - OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price.
Screenshot taken from David's site: 'Engaged Learning'
So much change has happened in our workplace since I wrote that post a few months ago. When I made a commitment to share my chapter by chapter reflections about this powerful book ; I didn't foresee the immense and immediate impact that it would have on the way we work and learn in our own educational setting.

Although the book shares how we will work, live and learn in the future, the future has transformed into the 'now' for us. Our 'open' changes are clearly evident yet continually evolving. They are purposeful and dynamic yet fluid. Most importantly, everyone: students, parents and staff are key players and contributors in our redesigned playing and learning spaces. 

What have we done that is working for us ?

We have held on tightly to our why goal: To engage every student in deep learning for success. We have loosened the restrictions of agenda filled, frequent, business like staff ' professional development ' meetings and opened a window to let in fresh air, space and time to 'explore, trial, play and collaborate to allow innovation and creativity to flourish for all of us. This window of opportunity has now evolved into a large sliding door (metaphorically speaking only !).

Image from indYouth home decorating site
A sliding door in architecture and construction, is a large glass window opening in a structure that provide door access from a room to the outdoors, fresh air, and copious natural light (wikipedia)
What exactly does this mean for us as educators ? We have opened our minds and our hearts to the new learning and growth that comes when students, staff, families, parishes, networks of schools and global learning communities collaborate as one on an equal playing field.

In 2015 more than ever before, we are truly 'Open' in all that we do in our educational setting. Hubs of teachers are sharing planning, teaching and learning within collaborative learning spaces and online. Our Teaching and Learning Site is a public site that shares absolutely everything. There are no secrets. We use the SOFT (Sharing, Open, Free, Trust) values described in Chapter 3 to guide the way we work.

In Chapter 7 Part 2, Price shares examples of business workplaces that use the SOFT values as they move from closed to 'open' systems. 
Here are 5 commonalities of very successful business workplaces :
  1.  All decisions are made in a work culture using a 'living - systems lens'. This way you get leaders who approach change as if they were growing something, rather than just 'changing' something. (Senge 1999 via Price 2013 p140-141). This video expands on this concept and links to Wheatley's description of 'self- organising living systems that have the capacity to respond continuously to change'.
  2. Collaboration and team work are 'non negotiable'. Social media is encouraged and used in these workplaces. This 'is facilitating more face-to-face sharing than ever before.' (p143) 
  3. Personal growth opportunities and time to play as well as a culture that allows for 'freedom to fail ' (p150) leads to new learning and innovation opportunities.
  4. Trust provides the 'safety-net for innovation' and is the lead source of employee motivation (p151). 
  5. Institutions that share and expose what they are doing with the public improve, grow and develop the fastest (p155)
'The most innovative companies in the world regard work as learning'.

Is work regarded as learning in your workplace? How?

What about "Open Learning in Education"? That's the theme for Chapter 8 and my next review of OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price.

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