The Innovation Model was developed to help students and teachers visualize the creative process. It is a cross-curricular model, as easily applied to economics or arts and humanities as the hard sciences. Forward thinkers in all disciplines notice things. They make connections. They wonder and create and anticipate. In fact, one key feature of this heuristic is the presence of certain "soft" words. To be useful for students and teachers, the model must not be cluttered with jargon. Relate. Wonder. Imagine. Reflect. Respond. Share. Those are weighty ideas, equally appropriate for the writer, the historian, the sculptor, or the chemist. The Innovation Model is purposefully non-linear. Innovators do not proceed around this model as if from one o'clock to two o'clock to three o'clock. Rather, think of the bold verbs (i.e., connect, inquire, analyze, enhance) as portals through which one might enter the process of innovation. We all have different strengths, and different students may favor different points of entry. Opportunities for collaboration are abundant. But there is no set beginning point, nor is there a definite end to the process. The Innovation Model mirrors many of the ideas being advanced by Tony Wagner, Daniel Pink, Cathy Davidson, Ken Robinson, and Linda Sheffield.
The simple Innovation Matrix shown below is a useful tool for both teachers and students.
Though it is impractical to think each individual lesson will touch on every portal
of The Innovation Model, when viewed holistically, a unit should present students
with opportunities to make connections, to inquire, to create, to communicate, etc.
When used as a planning tool, The Innovation Matrix helps ensure balance across a
unit of study. Similarly, The Innovation Matrix is a valuable reflection tool. Within
each portal, the teacher can jot down ideas that worked well and things that did not
go as planned, as well as strategies for subsequent revision.