Finding Solutions to Wicked Problems

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My collaboration team and I have been working on the wicked problem of innovation in education for the past few weeks. We began by researching the problem of Making Innovation Part of the Learning Ethic. We generated about fifty why questions pertaining to innovation in education to better understand why this problem is so wicked. Innovation is a term that gets thrown around a lot to describe fresh, new, and forward-thinking ideas or practices. These terms are not always used to describe the educational system. After we compiled our why questions, there were four that stuck out to us and required for more information to be gathered. I created an infographic to display these four why questions and how they add to the complexity of innovation in education.

As the team dove into the why’s for this wicked problem we began thinking about possible solutions and the stakeholders involved in the problem. We identified  educators, administrators, support staff, parents, students, and outside sources as being the key stakeholders that needed to partake in the design process of finding the necessary solutions. We created a survey to gain understanding of the stakeholders point of view in this wicked problem. The responses we received gave us great data to use for finding solutions.

After the team combed through the survey results, we were left with more questions. We started asking ourselves what if questions that could turn into possible solutions. What makes a problem wicked or complex is that there is no one possible solution or a solution that will fit the problem in every setting. With innovation in education specifically we know that the culture of every school is different. So, implementing PBL or STEM programs in one school might work well, but in another school it doesn’t. The team has created a multimodal presentation to show the process we went through in finding possible solutions and what those solutions could be.

Researching the wicked problem of innovation in education helped me realize that the most important part about complex problems is not finding the solution, but questioning why this is a problem, what if we tried this, and how can we make that happen. I learned from Berger’s book A More Beautiful Question that questioning and knowing how to ask better questions will lead to finding better solutions to complex problems. If you are wanting to be more innovative in your classroom or district I hope these questions and solutions can help.

Resources:

Berger, W. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The Power Of Inquiry To Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Education Post. (2015). EDUCATION POST 2015 Parent Attitudes Survey. Retrieved from http://343jii21wly33h03em3o8es6.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ed-Post-2015-Parent-Attitudes-Survey.pdf

Fothergill, Jo. (2010, February 3). SDC11127 [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/7G1gnp

Kelly, Heather. (31 Oct). Creating a Culture of Innovation in Schools. Retrieved from https://www.rubicon.com/creating-culture-innovation/

Pandolfo, Nick. (2012, 24 Sep). Education Nation: In Arizona Desert, a charter school competes. Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/education-nation-in-arizona-desert-a-charter-school-competes/

Pandolfo, Nick. (2012, 24 Sep). Education Nation: In Arizona Desert, a charter school competes. Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/education-nation-in-arizona-desert-a-charter-school-competes/

Stephanie, (2011, March 12). Safer Space [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/9sAN2u

Taylor, Samantha. (2018, March 25). 3 Musts-Haves During Virtual Meetings, Hangout, Chats, or Conference Calls [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/22K2mg9

Weller, Chris. (2015, Aug 4). A Peruvian billionaire contracted a world-famous design firm to remake his country’s private school system, and the results are stunning. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/innova-schools-in-peru-offer-great-education-for-cheap-2015-7

Weller, Chris. (2015, Aug 4). A Peruvian billionaire contracted a world-famous design firm to remake his country’s private school system, and the results are stunning. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/innova-schools-in-peru-offer-great-education-for-cheap-2015-7

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