The basis of the book is survey research and the opinion of the author. The population selected for the book was young innovators, their parents, and their mentors. Additionally, the author interviewed business and military leaders to solicit their opinions regarding innovation. Most of the book is case studies.
Innovation is defined as a process by which new things take place. The author surmised that play, passion, and purpose was a common theme among young innovators. The process begins by parents empowering children to pursue their interests in favor of traditional schooling or societal expectations. Several of the parents described the challenges of balancing free choice vs. the discipline of developing skills and supporting failure. Most parents instilled the value of “giving back.”
Schools should support innovation by abandoning ‘Race To The Top’ in favor of application based project learning. Every student should maintain a digital learning portfolio and advance based on demonstrating knowledge. Effective school cultures include: collaboration, multidisciplinary learning, risk-taking, and support for intrinsic motivation through play, passion, and purpose.
Innovative leaders must redefine authority by promoting the free flow of information throughout the organization, support innovation, and engage all employees. Innovation requires that authority that has some expertise, listens well, asks good questions, models good values, and creates a shared vision with collective accountability.
Fritz, The Path Of Least Resistance To Managers advocates for maintaining structural tension to move the organization. Wagner advocates for “creating a shared vision with collective accountability.” What if the shared vision, developed by employees, is to keep the status quo? Furthermore, the public schools have more stakeholders than employees such as parents, community members, and students. Also, achieving “collective accountability in a public school” is likely unobtainable.
Poor survey methodology. Not a random sample of the population.
It would be interesting to know how many young innovators had traditional upbringing and are making a positive difference in the world with passion and purpose.