How Might We


I’ve been taking an online class offered by IDEO on Creative Leadership.  It’s been interesting, and of course, because it’s IDEO, Design Thinking is part of the process.  I have to admit I’ve gotten a little stuck in my thinking at points as my “How might we” questions have hit the wall of constraints.  It is true that adults, including me, have a tendency to shut down ideas by thinking about how they won’t work or why they can’t be tried.

So, for example, I wanted to create time and space for faculty collaboration and conversation around teaching, but my colleagues and I kept coming up with reasons why we couldn’t do that.  It had to be during the school day, not after.  It couldn’t feel cheesey.  It couldn’t involve too much work on anyone’s part.  What I ended up with was putting cookies in the faculty lounge.  And then hope for the best.  Which, well, didn’t sound as fun as what I had in mind.

I know I’m a little on the extreme–okay a lot–when it comes to generating ideas and learning about my work.  I really don’t spend 24/7 doing this.  Any reader of my blog knows there’s video gaming, binge watching, and pleasure reading aplenty.  But it is true that I spend some of my off time–not every day–thinking about and doing things work-related that aren’t “tasks” to be accomplished.  I have class prep and grading and emails to respond to and sometimes that has to be done outside the parameters of the day.  No, I mean following a Twitter hashtag or reading education-related blogs.  I do that most days.  And my department members do too.  But I don’t know how many others do.

But I do know most of my colleagues think about their work a lot.  They have ideas.  They’re struggling with lessons.  And my idea was to try to create space for them to share and learn from each other and for those who might be doing what I do, perhaps space to share what they learned on Twitter the night before.

But apparently, this can’t be done and cookies aren’t going to be enough.  Ideas I have now to accomplish this involve changes that are pretty dramatic.  Things like setting aside a half period where all faculty are free but students are occupied somehow.  Or starting school a little later once a week for students but faculty come in.

I’m sad that my well-intentioned “How might we . . .” has turned into “This is why we can’t.”