September 24, 2021

The Case Against Innovation

Way back during the first COVID-19 pandemic, I was invited to speak online for a Barcelona-based conference with a theme of “Learning Innovation.” So, it was only natural that the title of my address be, “The Case Against Innovation.”

I am immensely proud of the presentation I created and despite the fact that I wish I could hone this talk over time and multiple venues, believe that it may provide “food for thought” in education leadership circles. As for the conference theme, learning is natural, timeless, and sufficient. There is no need for “learning innovation.” Like so many other education debates, I suppose that learning, teaching, and education were conflated by the organizers.

Perhaps one day I will write more on this topic and offer a more cogent set of arguments than made during my first attempt (and on Zoom no less). I truly believe that the focus on innovation in innovation to be misguided and counterproductive. It turns out that there is a growing body of business literature that supports my intuition that innovation is the last refuge of scoundrels.

Below are video recordings of my admittedly rough-around-the-edges talk and audience Q&A. I hope you find the message sufficiently provocative to justify enduring this Zoom-based “dress rehearsal.” Even if you hate the presentation, you can laugh at my crazy pandemic hair and beard.

The Case Against Innovation – November 2020 [Re]Learn Festival
The keynote audience Q&A. I honestly do not remember why I’m wearing a different shirt.