Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Innovation Through Norms of Collaboration

How we work together in education innovation projects is often the key to sustainability. You can assemble a team of your top innovators, but if the team is not collaborative, chances are slim for long-term success.

In our district, many teams use Thinking Collaborative's Seven Norms of Collaboration:

Here's a link to a podcast from Deliberate Creative that details how those seven norms of collaboration boost innovation and creativity. The short story is that highly collaborative groups tend to be highly creative.

Other teams develop their own norms using a protocol. Regardless of how or where norms come from, the crucial step is implementation with fidelity.

The conventional thinking (from people like Bob Garmston and Rick DuFour) is that for the first six months, norms of collaboration should be reviewed at the beginning and end of each session. In addition, they should be critiqued at least twice a year for effectiveness.

In our student voice project at Forest Hills Northern High School, the team of innovators used a protocol to developed norms of collaboration during the first week of school. 

Just today, they spent about 30 minutes critiquing their use of the norms and making suggestions for improvement.

In smaller teams, they synthesized what was going well and where improvements might be made, and the result will be a revised set of collaborative norms moving forward.

[If you're interested in previous posts on the student voice project, check out Back to the FutureAre We On The Same Page?, and Scaling Up Innovations]

In taking time to "check the collaboration oil" this morning, our innovative work moving forward is certain to benefit.

Collaborative innovation, especially in education, is not always fast, but it is vital to results that last.

Join the conversation...
What norms of collaboration do you find helpful for your team's long-term success? What is your experience with collaborative norms boosting innovation and creativity?

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