Google has long been credited for sparking innovation with their policy of giving employees a percentage of their workday to spend on any project they'd like. A recent Inc. article outlined why other businesses should do the same, "By letting your team do whatever they want, you’ll attract the best people with the best ideas. At the same time, the insights your employees gain through their creative projects will enhance their work on your organization’s core offerings."
Reading this story, I was reminded of a tweet I saw a while ago and favorited it to look into later:
How to spark innovation? @PDSHeadmaster gives teachers 2-3 "free" sub days to develop new initiatives. #dragons #naisac14Turns out PDS stands for Presbyterian Day School, an all-boys elementary school in Memphis. As the child of two educators, I know a teacher's schedule rarely has any spare time. Having the administration's support to take time away from the classroom's daily demands provides a rare opportunity for reflection, allowing the development of new strategies and innovations.
— Greg Bamford (@gregbamford) February 26, 2014
I couldn't find anything on the initiative, but it turns out PDS hopes to inspire innovation in another key stakeholder- its students. PDS launched a Design, Art and Creativity Center where students are encouraged to collaborate, test ideas, and play. In addition to the disciplines in the center's title, students also learn about robotics, coding, and technology, a delightful mashup of science and art. Carefully designed after collaborative learning spaces, hopefully the curriculum allows time for free play and creativity. After all, the only group as pressed for time as teachers are busy prep school students.