Thursday, March 8, 2012

Innovation is not instant perfection...

One of Google's philosophies is innovation is not instant perfection.  My principal has been telling us that over and over for the past year and a half.  The value of believing that statement and living it are finally starting to sink in for me.

By nature, I'm a planner.  I like to know what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, what I need to do to be prepared and ready to go, with a few back up plan...just in case.  Of course, being a teacher I also have the ability to be flexible and responsive and I'm actually pretty good at it.  Yet in times of change or new ideas, I tend to spend too much time trying to anticipate every possible thing that could happen, what could go wrong (even completely illogical things), what could go right...just classic over thinking.  What often ended up happening was I would paralyze myself out of fear of what I couldn't anticipate.  "Simple" things, like setting up my classroom would take me forever.  I'd procrastinate for weeks throughout the summer thinking, drawing potential room maps, rethinking, changing my mind...paralyzed because I didn't know exactly how I wanted it.  Even though I knew that no matter what my final beginning of the year decision I'd end up rearranging by October anyway!

As my principal's constant reminders of "innovation is not instant perfection" and his encouragement to take risks began to sink in, things started to click.  Too often in school (and in life) we don't want to risk innovative change or new ideas because we don't know what is going to happen.  That's the beauty and the frightening part all wrapped up in one.  It could flop or it could be magnificent.  No matter how much anticipating we try to do, there are always going to be things we never saw coming.

I think the answer is to give it a try.  As long as you have put good thinking and research into it and brainstormed with other forward thinkers, at some point you have to jump in.  Do this while knowing you have to be flexible and responsive.  You initial plan will not be instantly perfect...but how will you create perfection if you don't start somewhere?

1 comment:

  1. While I tend to plan like you, I enjoy experimenting. Recently I found a quote about leaping before you look - reminds me of the philosophy you share here.