In my regular and continuous search to locate schools that are implementing deep project-based learning, I came across this recently released TED talk by Geoff Mulgan. In just eight, short minutes, Mulgan demonstrates the set up and the success of the Studio School movement in England.
Couldn’t we establish such a studio school here – even as a school within a school? I can imagine an “innovation strategist” working within a school that is serious about transforming education. Such an innovation strategist could work with a cohort of teachers, a collection of willing parents, and an enthusiastic team of students to build such a studio school within one of our existing schools. Or such a studio school could hub together the spokes of a few willing institutions. Can you imagine all that we would learn…by doing?!
Geoff Mulgan and the Studio School are leading from the emerging future. This past week, I began my deep read of C. Otto Scharmer’s Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges. I have read the book once through on a quick read. Now, I am meandering and studying the work. It is mesmerizing and compelling. Near the opening, Scharmer explains, “leaders cannot meet their existing challenges by operating only on the basis of past experience, for various reasons. Sometimes the experiences of the past aren’t very helpful in dealing with the current issues. Sometimes you work with teams in which the experiences of the past are actually the biggest problem with and obstacle to coming up with a creative response to the challenge at hand” (Kindle location 256 of 5811). Scharmer devises Theory U to address “the core question that underlies the book: What is required in order to learn and act from the future as it emerges?” (Kindle location 325 of 5811).
I believe Geoff Mulgan leads from the future as it emerged. He established Studio School as a doorway into the future. A few could argue that Studio School looks a lot like education of hundreds of years past. Few could argue that many, if any, formalized schools of the industrial age and information age have looked like Studio School. No, Geoff Mulgan is showing us the future and leading from the future. He is leading in such a way as to help the future emerge.
Geoff Mulgan is committed to “Do Different.” Bless him.