January 26 , 2015 /


When I saw the title for this position, it set me to wondering.  Perhaps the Mid-Pacific Institute felt the need or the desire to have such a person on their senior staff and I am confident they gave it much thought before establishing the job.  Kudos to them!
However, in this era of specialization and sub-specialization, is it really necessary or is it one more layer of bureaucracy that might separate those charged with implementation from those who design the plan?  That is one question.  I have several others. 
Innovation seems to be the latest buzz word in circles that pride themselves on the latest and greatest move designed to solve a problem or fill a gap.  In fact, a recent article suggests that one reason schools cannot move forward and are stuck where they are is because there is a flaw in leadership that cannot provide what is needed.  http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gt-chief-innovation-officers-schools.html
The job of the innovation officer in one case is “to provide visionary leadership and support school leaders as they help students learn how to collaborate, communicate, think critically and solve problems.”  And all this time I thought that was the job of every classroom teacher and why schools exist in the first place. 
One organization called Mind Matters offers a white paper entitled “Five Ways to Make your Organization More Innovative by the End of the Day.”  That’s intriguing but not enough for me to order the paper.  The state of Maryland has hired a chief innovation officer to challenge the entrenched status quo (I like that challenge) and to make government more efficient and effective.  Good luck with that!
If you are considering a chief innovation officer, here are 10 questions which should help you decide if you need one beyond setting yourself apart from other organizations just like you.  I guess that a school with a chief innovation officer can point to their progress as a compelling reason why students should attend there.  Or should the CEO also be a CIO?
Here are the ten questions, along with a few answers that you might consider: http://www.worth.com/index.php/component/content/article/2-make/5379-10-questions-for-your-chief-innovation-officer 

Please share your thoughts and opinions