Innovation is a damn tricky thing, a word really easy to use but really hard to evidence.
I don’t think people on public social networks engaging in shared exploration who best to weld technology onto education are innovators. There are plenty of people who harvest ideas and information more than they do create it. Let’s not forget, plenty of social media messages are little more than advertising messages. Innovation isn’t popularity.
Innovation starts with people looking to not innovate, but understand the need for innovation. If they are using Twitter, they’ll be using it not to advertise their next Web2.0 Workshop, but to scan the horizon and find others to be stakeholders in their ideas, never consumers or buyers.
Let me poke a few people here. @teachpaperless, @pgsimoes, @kzenovka, all three are innovators, but in different ways. They not only make stuff, they also create plaforms from which other people make even more useful-stuff (not more of the same stuff).
They know stimulating ideas lead to an incubation period where they (and others) make prototypes, fail, try again, improve and talk about better ideas. Ultimately they are smart enough to know if what they (and their friends) are doing has a potential to scale – and only @teachpaperless has a beard.
My point is, that social networks do not create, or carry sufficient information for anyone to know if they are innovative or not. In many ways social is dead, many of the innovators have made sufficient connections (See Stephen Downes), to only need the most convenient process to check their ideas are not dead-yet. The tragedy of spending life with non-innovators is that they’ll flog a dead ideas, rather than innovate.
Users might become more enlightened, or be able to remember new and interesting facts – but that isn’t how the world get’s re-jigged. Radical ideas create ‘roots’ – as that’s where the word comefroms. It’s okay to Tweet radical verbose rally calls, but are you backing that up with new roots – or are you trying to harvest the crop of people what are more than Willing2.0 to buy into last years ideas.
Innovation, according to Steve Collis is something like this
“No program. No tests. No teacher talk. No outcomes. No bureaucracy. The students will show up on day 1, and will begin to define their own learning pathway as they find clarity regarding where they want to go.”
Now that is clearly the work of a deranged mad-mad. Not satisfied with blogging it, he made a video, to explain this utter insanity.
How do we know this nut-bag can pull this off? – How about looking at the last idea that he scaled?
So if you are looking for innovation, you don’t see it on the news, you have to dig it up – and more importantly connect. I first bumped into Steve wandering around Second Life years ago – and guess what he was talking about? – the same thing in his G.A.T video … innovators are pathologically driven, often for years – and that’s why they are so interesting … if you are lucky, we occasionally see glimpses of their thoughts in their tweets or blogs … but it’s only when you see what they did at scale – do most people even notice it.
The last people to be informed will always be human resources – they are too busy Googling people still.