Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset

Image from Chapter 3 “The Innovator’s Mindset” (Couros, 2015)


My response to Chapter 3: The innovator’s mindset: Empowering learning, unleash talent and lead a culture of creativity (Couros, 2015).

OK, so I haven’t blogged in many months, mostly because of the demands of teaching and study which I must admit is testing my resilience: – )   But alas, soonish (by years end) the M.Ed study will be done.

Resilience and innovation.

So, what do I make of Chapter Three of The Innovator’s mindset?  This chapter has overtones of Design Thinking whilst describing innovators as needing to be: empathetic, problem finders/solvers, risk takers, networked, observant, creative, resilient and reflective.  This description of innovation as a mindset is illustrated in the image that heads this blog post. The beauty of such a perspective is that innovation is viewed as a mindset rather than something external to us (teachers & students) such as a series of steps to follow. This is a vital idea to ponder as too often we try to externalize ideas such as innovation (or even the scientific method) as a recipe to follow, whereas the above view of innovation as a mindset encourages a very human-centered approach to innovation. Alleluia to handing a sense of agency to teachers/educators and ultimately students; Couros quotes “What we model is what we get – Jimmy Casas”

An aspect of innovation that I very doggedly focus on in my classrooms is encouraging students to be problem finders/solvers.  Rather than handing recipe like questions to my students, via the use of active note taking strategies, I very persistently have them design their own questions about the material we might be covering.  I have found that driving lessons via teacher led questions encourages students to passively focus only on answering those questions. They might be able to find information to answer the recipe like questions but in reality learn little by doing so.  In our digital age finding information to answer questions is easy….designing questions is harder. Surprisingly, a more learner-centred approach that regularly demands students to formulate their own question is at the outset damn hard work. Such such an active approach requires a significant shift in our student’s thinking as they are not overly confident about making their own questions visible – remember the context of my teaching is at present all Yr 9 boys. Such a shift though is vital in building student centred pedagogies that recognise the 21st Century context we all live and learn in.

In previous posts, I have answered the chapter questions as posed by Couros but here I am going to pose my own:

  • Does innovation come from within or should we apportion it to …umm, technology or our use of technology?
  • Is education currently too focused on a deterministic view of technology that apportions innovation elsewhere; innovation in machines?
  • As a head of eLearning in an educational setting, should I focus on bringing tools into this setting or encouraging innovative mindsets? 🙂

Please gift me with your comments.


Couros, G. (2015). The innovator’s mindset. Empowering learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity. Available from


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