“Innovation Is The Key” with Daniela Fairchild of RI’s Office of Innovation

The Office of Innovation in Rhode Island is a unique collaborative environment in that it partners with the Governor’s Office and with the Rhode Island College in order to bypass Red tape (whenever possible) to accelerate growth in 3 different Innovation Clusters: Education, Government and Technology.

Specifically the Education Cluster is involved with putting together multiple agencies in order to support, develop and grow education innovation within the state. Daniela and her team have an open communication and collaborative approach to innovation work.  They encourage and seek avenues for information sharing within the community, across the state and the nation. She sees her office as a harbor or switch master by acting as the connector to reach goals and even more importantly, to seek out new goals and plans for future change, not yet discovered.

Daniela provides an overview of Clusters and how they serve to spur growth in respective areas. She exampled Silicon Valley with Tech Start Ups and St. Louis with its BioTech Clusters. This idea where, while not exactly working on the same thing, through parallel efforts things get accomplished with greater speed. This beautifully examples her reference to the Knowledge Doubling Curve. Where on a global scale, knowledge doubled every 100 years until WWII. Thereafter, knowledge doubled every 25 years and now it’s accelerating to doubling every 2.5 years.

Daniela shares a great deal about Personalized Learning (PL) within Rhode Island and efforts made to increase Equity in education. In Rhode Island’s current system, as with most across the country,  there are students that aren’t as well served as others. Although a harsh truth, this inequity is kept at the forefront of efforts to reduce and hopefully eliminate. Through personalized learning, Summer Education Programs, Computer Science for All  initiatives in all schools, it is hoped that this will go a long way towards creating education access, student engagement and equity across the board. PL efforts have exceptional potential for a more strongly engaged student body by meeting students at their individual learning point as they need it.

For the success of PL there must be shared accountability between Students, teachers, and community members.  They have called this cluster, EDUVATE, which seeks to bring people together. Rhode Island as a state is capitalizing out of school learning through philanthropic community partnerships within its 4 Urban Core areas,  including many levels of Library involvement down to Community Libraries in an effort to mitigate the “summer learning melt.”

They are even considering adjustment to their current, 180 day, school calendar. They believe that it is important to vet and consider options now, in order to be able to pivot down the line.

In conclusion, Daniela shares that the Office of Innovation places great emphasis and importance on multi group and party involvement in the process of innovation to increase the stakeholders. It has been proven with increased involvement success is more likely to occur. With something as valuable as education it is imperative to involve everyone and anyone at the community, local, State, and National levels.

They are actively involved with national cluster centers and conventions to share information dynamically to ensure that everyone benefits from the work paved by other clusters. This collaborative approach by RI and other like minded communities and states serves to further decreased the Knowledge Doubling curve for the benefit of all students.

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