I love the pairing of Education and Innovation. The reason is that in their marriage there is unlimited potential. These two words, and their meanings, complement each other like any great couple. One simply makes the other better, and, over time, the two become so completely entwined that you have difficulty thinking of them separately.
Sure, on the surface it may seem like a bad idea to try and set up Education and Innovation on a date. What could these two possibly have in common? Education is one topic that each and every one of us has experienced. At the next social event you attend, try this experiment: merely introduce the word "Education" into conversation and listen to what happens. Without a doubt everyone will have an opinion. A wide range of opinions expressed with an equally wide range of emotion will be presented. In terms of eligibility, Education may come across as your second cousin with a nice personality.
Innovation, on the other hand, is the dashing stranger. Innovation is about doing something that is new, something that is different. It is about novel ideas, new processes, adding new value and solving problems in new ways. Introduce innovation at a party and the discussion would likely turn more toward the mystery of how it happens and who the best examples are. The coupling of education and innovation is simply a case of opposites attracting.
Education thrives on innovation. In support of (or in spite of) those varying party opinions, there are some amazing pockets of innovation taking place across Canada and around the world. In my role as National Director of Education, I have the opportunity to see this innovation happening firsthand. Just one look at sites like Microsoft’s Partners in Learning network (hyperlink to: http://www.microsoft.com/education/ww/partners-in-learning/Pages/index.aspx) will leave you inspired and hopeful that students’ imaginations and curiosity are being sparked. It is this spark that will support current and next waves of innovation.
Innovation benefits from the foundation, discipline and 21st Century skills that education is striving to bring into its systems. When innovation is deeply embedded in education at the right scale and consistency, and when education systems look to innovation for strength and growth, the result of this relationship can truly be a magic combination.