Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress. -Ted Levitt
Innovation is not invention. Innovation is the set of conditions that bring about productive growth and change. Identifying those conditions and then harnessing them to serve our students and our faculty is one driving belief of the Lab. If there is a list of innovative conditions it would include the 5 C's - collaboration, creativity, cultural awareness, communication, and critical thinking. Here are a few more to add to the list

  • observe and recognize the anomaly
  • entertain the fantastic
  • find or build the bridge
  • tolerate ambiguity, because learning must engage the ambiguous
  • committed to learning (first), then to teaching
Education and the Innovation Challenge
Faced by a 21st century global environment that is a moving target of rapid, exponential
change, our challenge as educators, business and community leaders is to radically re-think the
educational model to prepare our students for an unknown tomorrow.
We need an educational system that can ensure a reliable supply of motivated, highly trained,
adaptable and innovative thinkers who have 21st century skills. We need community and political
leaders who have the motivation, commitment and collaborative skills necessary to drive the
social innovations we need to solve the public policy challenges facing us. Key to achieving
these goals is the re-creation of a viable, vibrant and innovative public education system equal to
the challenges of the 21st century.
We need an educational system in which outcomes are rising; a system which is preparing
students with the adaptive and creative skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing
workplace and global economy; a system that has the respect of the public it serves and the
resources and partnerships with community and business to excel. We need a system that
enhances the traditional 3 Rs with the 5 Cs of 21st century competencies: creativity, critical
thinking, communication, collaboration and cultural understanding.

“We seek a positive vision for our educational system — a roadmap that will clearly articulate key
goals, organize our resources around them, and provide an energizing vision for change”
- Newton Public Schools, Strategic Planning Team, 2007

To support this goal we will build a conceptual and physical laboratory to re-imagine and explore
the creation of an active and dynamic relationship between public education and the business
community. We will access and employ business expertise, acumen and ingenuity at the same
time as we harness the innovation, exploration and bright ideas of our best students and most
innovative teachers. We will teach to learn and learn to innovate. We will connect educators and
students to the real-world challenges and needs of the 21st century work place.

Taking Action
With the launch of Newton North High School, the Newton Public Schools will establish an
“Innovation Lab” where educators, students, business and community stakeholders can
explore and pilot new educational initiatives and partnerships designed to link students
and learning to the world around them and address and create solutions for 21st century
social, economic and environmental challenges.