How Open Innovation Can Help Your Classroom

Open innovation is a great way to gather ideas and come up with unique solutions. Here is why teachers need to begin openly innovating to keep up.


Tavian jean-pierre

2 years ago | 4 min read

Photo by FORTYTWO on Unsplash
Photo by FORTYTWO on Unsplash

Whether we like it or not, online learning is becoming a powerful tool. You could teach a basic physics lesson more efficiently through an online platform. That is not to say that teachers are not valuable and the physical classroom is dead. However, it is an important observation to make.

Interactive and engaging videos can now take someone from zero knowledge to competent. I do not think teachers or the classroom need to see this as a threat because these are powerful tools.

Teachers must learn from the innovations that are occurring in the online space. Things like skillshare and masterclass are doing well thanks to frequent innovation.

I think it is a shame that the classroom and methods of teaching have not changed too much. Recently, I walked into one of my old classrooms, and everything looked the same.

Yes, I agree that some things ought to stay the same. But with so much innovation in the online space, I find it hard to believe that classroom learning has no room for it.

We have seen online collaboration and more all come out of online learning. Yet still, the classroom remains the same.

To ensure good and healthy innovation, open innovation could do some good. It will bring about insightful ideas and lead to a win-win environment.

What Is Open Innovation?

According to Henry Chesbrough, author of Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, it is:

“The use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively.”

Unlike a company, the classroom is less concerned with protecting its innovations. After all, they are not there for profit.

I would argue that this is the best thing teachers could do to get unique ideas to improve their classroom. Instead of thinking up ideas by themselves, teachers can allow knowledge to flow in.

Open innovation is the acceptance that you do not have all the answers. No matter how many teachers or students you speak to, you will never replicate the global ideas out there. So, opening up your search for new ideas to revitalise your classroom is the best thing you can do.

How to Openly Innovate?

For teachers, I think it is vital that you identify where you can directly get help. For the most part, teachers understand the gaps and can see the problems.

It may be a particular student who is always disengaged or activities not seeming beneficial. Whatever your problems may be, you must first believe that there are solutions out there for them.

It is easy to get caught up in feeling that it is just the way things are. After all, maybe that student is just a bad student. However, by acknowledging that you live in a small bubble, you will understand that solutions do exist.

As highlighted earlier in the article, accepting that you can not innovate effectively all by yourself is the first step. The other steps are straightforward.

Build a Platform for Collaboration

Although it sounds complicated, it is not that hard. You can use a google site, your own website, google sheets and slides or create a forum. All of these are feasible ways to openly innovate.

The main goal is to ensure that the platform allows for people to interact. You can even host an event from time to time to gather innovative ideas for the classroom.

Gather Your Key Players

Your key players are those who are directly affected by the work you do. These would be your colleagues, students and their parents. Make a list of your network and move to step 3.

Understand Their Motivations for Participation

Open innovation is all about bringing people together to bring their knowledge. However, it is vital you know the different motivations at play coming from your key players.

To make them feel like it is worthwhile, you have to market your open innovation in a way that pulls them to create. For example, your student may take part to make the classroom more fun. But, their parents will participate to ensure their children get the best grades.

These differing motivations will bring about different ideas. All of them are welcome and can help drive a win-win situation, but you must identify them to get the best outcome.

Gather Your Externals

Once you have your key players, it is time to branch that network out further. Pull-on your network and involve other schools in the area or parents you know. Try to contact schools in other areas and countries too.

Use LinkedIn and other means to connect with people to tell them about your idea. Remember your key players and their motivations when addressing the external network. That way, you can intrigue them.

Define Success Before You Start

Before you let everyone in on your idea for open collaboration, define what success means for you. Are you trying to solve one problem, or do you want to have a list of problems and solutions?

You must ensure you know this and make this a clear goal of the platform you create. Communicate this in the messages you send to others so that you get what you want.

Have a Clear Process

Finally, I would suggest allowing for open innovation in waves. That way, you can leave yourself some time between to filter out repeated ideas.

Still, define a good way to let others collaborate and share ideas on your space. That way, it does not get too messy, and you get what you want.

How does Open Innovation Help?

By allowing others to have an input on your problems together, you find unique solutions. And these solutions encompass the motivations of all those you are with every day.

One teacher or student may not have the ideas needed to revolutionise the classroom. But a multitude of them may be able to change the classroom forever.

After all, humans have always been stronger together and always will be. So, why try to improve the experience for your students and your job by yourself. If we are to see leaps in the classroom experience, we need the help of everyone involved. Open innovation may not be the only solution, but it is a place to start.

On that note, let us try to have an open innovation session in the comments. Let people know your struggles as a teacher and the problems your classroom presents. Then, let us all work together to think of new ways of working to create a win-win situation.


Created by

Tavian jean-pierre

I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.







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