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What Are The Key Properties That Make It Possible for Innovative Institutions To Do What They Do?


1-After my talk at @GeorgiaTech @IanBogost tweeted this great question: What are the properties of the institutions or programs doing the innovative things you mentioned that are making it possible for them actually to do them rather than just pondering the idea?   While waiting for my ride to @AgnesScott for today's Founder's Day keynote, I tweeted these replies, captured here for those not on Twitter.  I hope to add to these later.  All typos courtesy, of course, of my non-so-smart-and-very-prone-to-typos cell phone:


2- The lazy answer: read #NewEducation since I address in depth the properties of the institutions or programs or people doing the innovative things "that are making it possible for them actually to do them rather than just pondering the idea"



3-Here are a few quick answers before I have to pack and leave: It takes great leaders and great followers. By which I mean change cannot be top-down but, if you don't have support at the top, it's pointless.


4-You have to set certain metholdogical groundrules. It's useful to have a neutral party running initial idea sessions. It's essential to use inventory methods. There needs to be a SWAT team to carry the project forward


5-And the organizer of the teams moving forward have to be empowered to tell Mr. and Ms. Snarky to shut up or leave if they are derailing with glib critique rather than productive solutions.


6-Implementation of change never works unless you quickly move from ideal to possibilities. We defeat ourselves by thinking we fail if we are not perfect. We defeat ourselves by defending turf rather than exploring new ground. (uh-oh that sounds like an aphorism)


7-Instiutional level: sometimes it is crisis (declining majors), sometimes it is opportunity (a big gift), sometimes it is ambition (we can do better!), sometimes it is new leadership (let's make a mark). Varies.


8-It takes courage on every level, a very tough skin because people don't like change even when it favors them, and a willingness to make some people really unhappy.


9--Maybe most important: it requires students being at the table. In a serious, meaningful thoughtful way. They have the most at stake, they have the energy, and faculty act kinder, smarter when students are present

10-It's less "properties" than "propensities" and "predispositions." I see inspiring change at community colleges, massive state schools, liberal arts colleges, Ivies...and resistance at all of those too. Find a wedge!

11-In any institution, under any kind of pressure, active, engaged, generous faculty leaders and administrators can find ways to galvanize and inspire change. Trust, openness, realism, determination.


12- I'm leaving now for @agnesscott which is rightly being applauded for innovation under the leadership of Pres Elizabeth Kiss. Use other institutions and leaders as models for your own change.


13-I did ethnographies of change makers in #NewEducation bc we learn best from the success of others and most academics are brilliant at critique and judging, not making things work. Will is #1 requirement.


14-You will notice $$$ is not on my list. That's because I found that $$$ is the least important requirement if you have students, good leadership, generous participation, no bullying, realism, and will to change.


15-These have been hasty--I'm on the go. I hope others will add 15 more, esp those who have successfully made change at their institution. Tell us more! How? What? Why? Who? Where? When? How?


16- 'll add #16 to my tweet response to @ibogost question ab/ properties of institutions that have managed successful change: Go talk to folks at Summit at your neighbor @agnesscott Remarkable! Impressive! Doable! ‏ ‏


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