Innovation it's a tool, not a goal on education. (Debate propossal)

Good day. I would like to open this space for discussion about the new trend to link innovation (as a synonym of technology) with education. In my opinion, this trend generates, on the one hand, a feeling of artificial obsolescence of educational strategies and technologies, giving the feeling that once a new tool appears, the previous ones lose their effectiveness.

This is not something that generates surprise, it is the natural tendency of the market. However, when extrapolating it to education, two things are generated: a first impression that the learner, who has become a user and consumer, is always in a disadvantaged situation and his knowledge is invalidated at every moment. This is taken advantage of by success gurus who, with easy and simple recipes, try to take advantage of these information gaps and this feeling of obsolescence. On the other hand, it leaves behind companies, organizations, and even entire communities by invalidating their knowledge not because it is wrong, but because it has not been acquired or received by the correct means.

In my community work I have met people much more skilled and capable than any doctor, specialist or certified coach. His knowledge has been ignored for not having the necessary validity on the one hand and, now, for not being connected, apparently, with the current educational market, based on expensive certifications, for example.

Gamification has an essential contribution to the educational process without a doubt, but that does not invalidate the learning obtained through traditional classes, through community facilitation techniques, through transversal knowledge strategies.

Let me know your ideas or comments about it.

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Hi @MiguelAranda - thank you for posting this!

I think that it is helpful to more clearly define “innovation” in this context, as I am not sure that it is a synonym of “technology.” I like Larry Keeley’s definition: “the creation of a new, viable business offering.” I also think his / Doblin’s framework on the Ten Types of Innovation is an extremely useful framework in this (and any) context: Ten Types | Doblin

You write of obsolescence, which, in my mind, is a later stage in the innovation lifecycle: “ideation ==> conception ==> adoption ==> disruption ==> sustenance ==> obsolescence ==> retrieval.” A concept (be it a strategy or technology) is only rendered obsolete when it is overtaken by disruption from another concept such that sustenance is rendered ineffectual.

The late Clayton Christensen’s work on disruptive innovation is an extremely worthwhile related read, especially his book titled The Innovator’s Dilemma.

@Adeshola , @VidalG and @AnnieM - I am interested in each of your takes here, given your respective backgrounds in innovation, education and the creative arts.


Thanks, @alexgruhin, for the invitation to reflect here.
My opinion - for what it’s worth -

  • I don’t regard innovation as a synonym for technology.
  • I agree, @MiguelAranda, that people have different skill levels. That’s the rub.
  • Finally, I wish I had read more Clayton Christensen when I was younger, as well as Beckett and Kundera. But there’s no time like the present I guess.

Thank you @alexgruhin @MiguelAranda and @AnnieM for your kind contribution to the topic: “Innovation as a Tool rather than a Goal in Education”.

A simpler way is to ask if innovation in itself is an end or a means to an end…? The answer depends on the context of space and time but innovation is definitely more than technology. Innovation drives technology but is beyond technology. Innovation comprises people, processes, the products and services that result from approaching a problem and solving it using a different perspective.

Everything, natural or man-made, is the totality of what was but has ceased to be; what is being or has been and what is but yet to be. Meaning that everything was nothing before it became something and even nothing is something. In order words innovation is always in transition. It starts with deconstructing a problem with the understanding that a problem is a purpose for a product.

Innovation may be abstract or concrete. What matters is that it addresses the need for change in concept (an idea) which is mental or spiritual; context (the interpretation of an idea) which is psychological and content (the form) which is physical such as material, design, size and so on.

Unfortunately, our educational system focuses more on the physical and that is why only innovation that is presented as physical form is recognized and the free market capitalist system has a way of playing with people’s minds. That is why Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and other richest individuals in the world make most of the money. It is the challenge of materialism, conspicuous consumption and their adverse impact on the environment. Therefore, the importance of Equilibrium Perspectives in personal, leadership, academic, business and environmental areas of life can not be overstated. That is why I identify professionally as a business sustainability advocate, L&D practitioner and futurist.


Thank you very much for your contribution and I find the theoretical framework you share with us very interesting. In the case of obsolescence, you are right when we look at it as a part of the innovation implementation process.

However, my fair point points to that idea of ​​obsolescence. It seems to me that the demands of the market force us to a kind of programmed obsolescence (a real term in all technological fields and that also applies to educational technologies, not only understood as technological devices or technological tools, but as any strategy applied to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a process). When we see the offer, the competition focuses on the positioning of new techniques, however, the context is extremely important. The pedagogical and didactic strategies, it seems to me, do not become obsolete, they are only concentrating on certain niches where they have greater efficiency.

However, I believe that it is a constant analysis that forces us to think about educational strategies beyond the market.

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@AnnieM @alexgruhin @Adeshola

Thank you very much for your contributions. I love this type of reflection because it helps us rethink various aspects of the area:

1.- Define the concept “educational technology”. In its narrowest sense it can focus on digital devices, applications and tools (which is the sense in which I used it in my initial comment). However, it is also possible to understand it as all the social, organizational and decision-making tools and techniques that we apply to make the educational process more efficient.

2.- Understand not only the educational process but also its social, political, organizational, psychological determinations, etc. The usefulness or relevance of an educational model or tool must be contextualized to the reality in which it is applied.

3.- Separate, although not divorce, the educational efforts of the merely commercial objectives. Define beyond the immediate what we mean by learning and development.

Thank you very much for your ideas. We can continue sharing materials to delve into this matter.

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