Moving from strategic planning to collective action

by Matt Levinson

In this blog post, the head of a Seattle school describes how research and design teams are implementing the school's strategic vision and keeping innovation moving.

Read the article online – Independent Ideas blog, NAIS

The school has established five networks, also known as research and design teams. Each network focuses on one strand in the school’s strategic vision. School staff choose which network they want to join based on their interests.

A senior school leader oversees the work of the networks, and a committee that includes trustee and family representatives discusses the ideas the networks are working on.

The networks are free to explore any ideas and engage in blue-sky thinking. Naturally, some ideas will subsequently come up against the real-world resource limitations that exist.

To manage this tension, the networks develop a five-year rolllout plan that balances resources such as budget and time and achieves an acceptable pace of change for the school community.

The school head sees this as on ongoing, sustainable approach to innovation in the school, one that “taps into the passions, interests, and skill sets” of all the school community.

Reflective questions

  • How do you implement the strategic plan in your school? Do you use any of the approaches described in the blog post?
  • This school has innovation as a “hallmark principle”. How have you been encouraging innovation in your school? Is there a strong link to your school's strategic vision? 

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