"Innovation is CREATIVITY that ships" (Steve Jobs). Not a PowerPoint slidedeck.

As I listened to Michelle Rhee’s interview (podcast), I have become motivated to become a tactical last mile resource for Students First.

In the Students First publication “Empowering Parents with Choice: The Parent Trigger” the following call to action caught my eye:

“In order for the parent trigger to create the intended impact, parents must have power to act and force a change without having to wait around for bureaucracies and special interests to come around to the idea.”

I reflected on the (on the ground) reality of a single mom or single dad while taking her (his) child to an underperforming school in an inner city neighborhood. Neither parent has little or no time to review the plethora of reading material describing ideas for improving or turning around underperforming schools in America. A majority of them would naturally incline to their inherent defensive routines, partially imposed by the status quo, and avoid empowering themselves to champion for change or speak out.

Candidly speaking, if I were in their shoes, I would do the same partly because of the reality of their lives. This state of inaction is very often caused by a lack of clear awareness of the mental trap which, in turn, stifles purposeful action. The other reality of our society is that the attention spans have become tweet-sized and fleeting. These forces constrain our collective ability to engage in dialogue regarding school improvement.

While acknowledging this reality, I figured that we should attempt to revive our inherent power of reasoning and look at the problem in front of us with a system view. Below is a visual representation of Empowering Parents with Choice: The Parent Trigger.

parent_triggerIn similar vein, the MBA program in American universities also needs renewal with a sense of urgency. (The Multipolar MBA)

Nelson Mandela evangelized that “education changes the world,” one ignited mind at a time. Achieving this vision is a “20 mile march” and also requires raising the bar on teaching effectivess from good to great with an ounce of grit, tenacity and perseverence.

I envision that we can IMPROVe the learning potential of students by using a performative approach (based on improvisation in the classroom).

Franklin Covey wrote in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” that production and production capacity are equally important and urgent. Every individual equipped with a sound education has the capability to sharpen the saw.

Does all this sound boring? Let’s switch gears and borrow a page from Hollywood.

The director of Life of Pi recognized that

  • The movie culture is global
  • The world views things differently (i.e., we live in a world of differences)
  • The world audience, beyond the lens of America, has different life experiences

The Life of Pi‘s performative approach to make unorthodox films with global settings that are actually making cash registers ring is a step in the direction of trying to finding more of them.
America is a hard hat area under construction with a number of distressed businesses on Main Street — this is our current economic problem space that requires creative solutions with a sense of urgency.

The growth engine for transforming America requires a larger pool of American talent to learn how adopt an owner’s rep on Main Street and improvise in the role as Activist Turnaround Manager (ATM, pun intended).

Thought of the day (alpha version)

  • Kids are venturesome consumers of technology.
  • I don’t know of any kid who does not want a smartphone.
  • Let’s imagine the parent trigger being delivered Gangnam style.
  • Let’s influence a collective bias and focus on bringing Silicon Valley thinking in every school (in every zipcode).
  • Can we shift spaces and take a page from the open source community such as Linux to promote continuous innovation?
  • Let’s co-create a Wiki of “next practices” and mobile software applications that can empower parents, teachers and students in our schools.
  • Let’s change the dialtone of the conversation by putting students first.


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