Ready to Grow?

Innovation Planning vs. Strategic Planning

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 9, 2014 8:59:52 PM
Scott Barron

Is your school prepared to keep pace with other organizations in your community, as a pace-setter and learning organization?

Moving from strategic planning to Innovation Planning is the path to accelerated school improvement. What's the difference?

Strategic Planning

Too often the timeline for traditional strategic planning and school improvement spans the vast distance between accreditation visits:

Strategic Plan Timeline

The speed of improvement in the traditional strategic planning process is too slow, mostly reacting to accommodations and recommendations from the accreditation team. This approach to planning is also too expensive, usually costing tens of thousands of dollars and using up precious teacher time.

But the even bigger problem is during that 5 year period so many factors influencing the school will change. How will you respond to new opportunities with that improvement strategy? Will you really be able to compete for enrollment and fundraising dollars?

Innovation Planning

What if you adopted an innovation timeline? This is an actual timeline from a school that recently launched an Innovation Plan:

Innovation Plan Timeline

In a coaching session last week, the chief administrator of this school said he and his leadership team have accomplished more in the first 90-days of 2014 than in the past few years because of the focus, energy andresults.

Incremental progress and momentum is the key. This school isn't going for a massive game-changing school disruption; they’re starting off with small micro-projects in order to develop the habits of innovation in preparation for larger projects in future quarters.

Part of this learning process is developing a threshold for experimentation. When innovating you’re very likely going to experience failure. How will you handle that? How will the board respond? If the administrative leadership can’t try things with the possibility of failure, don’t expect innovation. It’s intelligent trial and error: informed, well planned, strategic, yet still experimental.

The Difference?

Rapid school improvement gives you:

  • Energized raving fans
  • Deeper engagement with faculty, donors, parents, and students
  • Faster response to new opportunities for improvement
  • Greater ability to recruit top talent
  • Culture of continuous improvement

Recommended books to learn more about innovation:

Business Model Generation

Lean Startup

Great by Choice

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