The Microsoft UK Education team has a dozen people in it (surprised?) who are focused full-time on education – across schools, colleges and universities. Which means that we’re awfully busy and spread across many, many things all the time. But fortunately we have the help of other similar teams around the world, and a much bigger team in our offices in America. Sometimes we produce work for the rest of the world (like the Innovative Schools case studies, focusing on journeys of innovation and the lessons that innovative schools have learnt on their way), and sometimes the work flows the other way – towards us.
One of the things that has been done as part of the worldwide Partners in Learning programme is The Scaling Framework – an interactive tool that helps analyse how you move an innovation from being something done by 1 or 2 people, to making it widespread.
It made me think of two specific cases where today there is a challenge of scaling innovation. The first is Virtual Learning Environments, where it is proving to be difficult to take good practice from one lecturer/department/university to the whole system. And the other is taking an innovative ICT teaching initiative and spreading it to other departments.
The Scaling Framework is a simple interactive tool that explains the five dimensions of scale, and then digs down into areas such as “Traps to Avoid” and “Next Steps to Explore”.
You can either us this as an individual, or pop it up on your whiteboard next time you’re holding a leadership team meeting, and explore interactively.
I was interested in the “Spread” dimension – and the trap to avoid: “Developers should realise a somewhat less powerful innovation that reaches much greater numbers of use is a step forward”. We were talking about this at lunchtime today, discussing a new piece of software for teachers which may only appeal to innovators, meaning that the majority of users won’t be affected by it. So is it better to try and promote something a little less innovative, but likely to be used by more people?