Friday, November 07, 2003

Stakeholders and Innovation

Lisa Wait sent me some great feedback on Instructional Design in a Vacuum. She's working on an interesting e-learning project called Toolboxes for the Australian vocational education and training sector, and has some experience with the topic:
"I can't understand how the needs of the end users (teachers, learners, industry) could be met unless they became involved in the development process. A couple of times we have had developers who were in fact a couple of designers in a 'back room' somewhere working on a Toolbox in isolation. It is our experience that these products are not up to par from an educational perspective."
Exactly right. And I've also been mulling over one of Stephen's comments on the topic: "Innovation is disruptive, and disruption produces negative feedback, and if the feedback guides the product, the first thing to go would be the innovation." He's right, of course.

I would love to focus more of my attention on creating new learning environments and thinking about future ways to revolutionize education, but most of us in the trenches are just trying to make stuff work better for real people right now. Peter Merholz says this better than I could in his post on Innovation Fetishization. It's worth visiting his excellent post just to read the thoughtful comments from readers, but here's a sample:
"Such an obsession with 'innovation' worries me. It worries me because I live in a world where the things that already exist typically don't work as well as they should. More time should be spent bringing existing products and services up to snuff, and not focusing on The Next Big Thing. This innovation fetishization becomes a shiny bauble distracting people from paying attention to the here and now."

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