Monday, October 26, 2009

Ready for Prime TIme

One of my favorite nonprofits made it to prime time last week. KaBOOM! rallies communities to build playgrounds. "Parks and Recreation," the NBC sitcom starring Amy Poheler of Saturday Night Live fame, wove the nonprofit with the funny name into last week's episode. If you like the idea of rallying your community to build a new playground, check out the wealth of real-life planning resources at KaBOOM!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thinking Like an Innovator

Imagine a straw that purifies drinking water, preventing the spread of cholera or typhoid. Or a solar-powered satellite uplink mounted on a motorbike that gives rural villagers access to the information highway. Or a prefabricated emergency shelter that biodegrades after use.
These aren't just wild ideas. They're practical, low-cost solutions already in use around the world, and part of an eye-opening exhibit called Design for the Other 90 Percent. The exhibit just came to Portland, part of the grand opening of the new Mercy Corps headquarters here.
The show is fascinating, but I came away from it wanting to know more about the innovators who come up with these inspired ideas. Do they typically collaborate, or work solo? Does inspiration come in a flash, or through extended trial-and-error? What can we learn from their examples and apply to our own problem-solving challenges?
Learning how to innovate may seem like a tall order. In this post for Edutopia, I take a closer look at the topic and invite teachers to share their strategies for encouraging innovation in the classroom. Please join the conversation.