James M. HIggins makes this interesting point in his book 101 Creative Problem Solving Techniques.
“Research by Michael E. Porter, a renowned business strategy researcher and consultant, and several others has clearly demonstrated what we have long suspected—it is easier to innovate in some geographic locations than others. This is because these places have more of the necessary supportive environmental factors that lead to successful innovation that do other locations.”
He cites several comparisons to illustrate the point. It is easier to innovate in the Silicon Valley in California as opposed to Jackson, Mississippi. It is easier to innovate in Denmark as opposed to Germany, in Singapore than in Japan, in Boston than in Paris.
Higgins explains that there are several factors that contribute to this.
“There are several factors that constitute a supportive societal environment. Some of these are a supportive govern-ment in term of policies and economic factors such as taxes, a positive view of innovation by the society, an acceptance of entrepreneurs as being vital contributors, a positive view of achievement, major research universities, and excellent public education system.”
Is it possible that some school districts, school sites, and teachers are more successful at innovation than others?
Some school districts are bound to have a more positive view of innovation when compared with other districts. What factors would contribute to that? Leadership, history, success with innovation, and flexibility among others would be factors. I am sure that the same could be said for individual school sites. Some will have a more positive view of innovation than others.
What about acceptance of entrepreneurs as being vital contributors? These entrepreneurs will either be viewed as an important and welcome part of a district or a school site that is bringing new and creative ideas to the fore, or viewed as a troublemaker who is not following policy and procedures. Again, there are clearly levels of acceptance from district to district or school to school. What are the implications for the kids?
Some school districts have the good fortune of being located near or within the same city limits as a college or university. Does this translate in the district or schools being more innovative as compared to neighboring districts and schools? It seems that business benefits from the proximity, but does education?
What kind of school or district are you working in, high innovation or low innovation? Are your neighbors doing innovation better?
Richard Florida, author of Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life has some interesting thoughts on how and why your city makes a difference. Check out the Creative Class site.
It stands to reason that your state, your county, your district, and your school impact the level creativity and innovation that arises. As they say in real estate, location, location, location.