Big Education Dialogues 4th December 2018

13th December 2018

“How would it feel if we were all performing at our best, every single day? And what if we quit waiting to make that happen?”

These were the challenging and intriguing questions that kicked off our second ‘Big Education Dialogue’ on 4th December, hosted at the beautiful King’s Cross Academy. The room, full of senior leaders from schools as well as colleagues from across both education and business, spent the next two hours unpicking some of the answers…

Big Education is committed to asking ‘what constitutes a ‘big education’?’, and to find the answers to this, a culture of high performance and engagement for all staff is critical. The word ‘innovation’ is used all the time – but what do we really mean by this?

Peter Hyman shared Big Education’s working definition;

“An idea only becomes an innovation when it has been implemented in a form that generates impact and value. Innovation isn’t just about the creative ideas we have, it’s also about our capacity to make them happen. It is about the products we are designing, the paradigms we are shifting, the stories we are changing, and the processes we follow to go about this.”

This definition – that innovation is essentially and necessarily connected with action – seems to be at the heart of Big Education as ‘do-ers’ as well as serious ‘thinkers’.

We were then joined by Phil Lewis, Managing Director of Corporate Punk, an author, strategist, speaker, mentor, and expert in organisational performance practice, whose killer questions had started the event. Corporate Punk have invested significant time into the creation of impact cultures, and how organisations can build and sustain these. We spent the evening looking at this through the lens of the education sector.

There is a common view that positive culture is hard to achieve. Phil really challenged this notion, emphasising that aligned agendas alongside creative capabilities are key to fostering a climate of innovation. High creative capabilities without aligned agendas will create impulsive work and wasted potential. Aligned agendas with low creative capabilities will result in slow and marginal progress. The last component to Corporate Punk’s Impact Culture Formula is to ask yourself – how are your leaders behaving when trying to achieve alignment and creativity?

With this in mind, our guests began to explore where their school or organisation fell onto Corporate Punk’s Cultural Archetype and the root causes of this. This organisational audit proved to be a powerful tool for individuals to reflect on their own contexts, as well as their own behaviour and tendencies within that. These questions included;

  • Can people in your school go where it’s needed to solve problems?
  • How good are staff at questioning the status quo?
  • Are we confronting conflict and managing it appropriately?
  • Do staff feel able to make decisions?
  • To what extent are people engaged in what the organisation is trying to achieve every day?
  • How do we create the space and time to think?

It was really interesting to look at our different contexts and see how empowered individuals feed to make decisions, make suggestions or share ideas. A lot of food for thought!
This challenged our thinking and fostered dialogue on the progress we have made, the areas that are more challenging and provided a framework for future conversations and, most importantly, action!

Thank you, Phil, for energising and inspiring us on the potential this has for impact in our own contexts!

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