As the impetus for innovation has taken hold in US schools recently, the belief surrounding it is that the entire focus is on the original idea and the design around that ideation. Although without the ideation, innovation would never happen, the transformation or solution occurs as a result of implementing the design (or first iteration) and continuing to make adjustments in a second, third, fourth iteration. These iterations lead to excellence and Elegant Innovation.
From its inception, e2L has followed this tenet. The original ideation began with a vision from Shannon and Clark Buerk as they shared that idea with a small group of educators. Putting that idea into action, they reached out to school leaders and with this small group began to implement the structure of the model based on part of that vision. That first ideation was so innovative, so much more robust and structured than other models. It was genius; it was a first iteration. Based on feedback and always holding true to the belief that our mission matters most – to provide a process to assist districts as they transform their learning experiences, e2L began to adjust to constraints, designing and redesigning, bringing on new ideas, new technology, etc. Thus was born the second and third iterations of e2L.
In an institution of tradition, seeking change for transformation is not always comfortable, and e2L is no stranger to that.
My favorite example of our organization challenging ourselves to fully live out the belief in Elegant Innovation has been our iteration from just the one learning model that was first developed and grew with iterations to developing the HPC district learning framework design.
I remember when that first small group met and discussed Shannon and Clark’s vision, it included the idea that districts would be able to customize their own learning model. Though that was the idea, the first iteration started with one model – the engage2learn model. Feedback and constraints brought e2L back to that original idea, looking for ideas to make the customization process possible.
As coaches, some of us had fallen in love with the e2L model, and though we believed in the idea of customization, we mourned moving outside our “love zone.” Still, as a team we embrace challenges and trust that meeting and working through those challenges make us better as an organization. We also know that challenges propel us to best serve our clients as they design learning and sustain their own transformation. Our new iteration has grown us as a team and individually, and I believe it is a prime example that elegant innovation is a result of iterations resulting from a pursuit of simplicity and sustainability.