What is Your Motivation for Innovation?

I spoke to Mark Randall, the creator of Adobe Kickbox, on the phone in 2017.  Among the questions, I asked him was, “how much ‘hand-holding’ or active support does Adobe provide?”  He responded that they do provide much, but often participants will connect and create their own support networks.  For example, he noted there was an office where the participants had started weekly meetings where they could discuss how things were going and get feedback from colleagues.  However, Mark added that “Innovation is hard and getting lit up innovators is key to success.” 

When I started adapting Adobe Kickbox for use in education, I left virtually untouched one of the first activities that Adobe has its participants engage in, an accounting of what is motivating them to pursue this problem (or solution).  In the Kickbox materials it says, “Motivations are different because people are different. None are right or wrong. If your reasons are unable to change you, they certainly cannot change the world.”  I think this activity is important because it gives the participating educator an opportunity to clarify why they have chosen to be a part of this program.  Taking time to reflect on your motivation before you start creates a touchstone to return to later in the project when the going gets tough.  Below is a list of some of the reasons included in this activity:

  • Prove to myself I can do it
  • Be a positive example for others (e.g. colleagues, students)
  • Invent something that matters
  • Create and spread an idea that helps students
  • Create something people love
  • Make something cool
  • Make a difference
  • Show the world I can innovate
  • Increase my school’s visibility
  • I love doing hard things
  • I like surprising people
  • I have a healthy ego.  It has needs.
  • I want it. It doesn’t exist. Let’s fix that.
  • Create something that reflects my values.
  • Raise my visibility inside my school.
  • Raise my visibility outside my school.
  • Help my students.
  • A deep sense of personal satisfaction.
  • Life’s a game.  This is how I “level up”.
  • Demonstrate my value.
  • Change the world.
  • Change one corner of the world.
  • Do work I love.
  • I’m an untapped natural resource. 
  • Dammit, my school is doing it wrong.
  • All of education is doing it wrong.
  • I’m bored.
  • The act of pure creation drives me.
  • How smart am I? Let’s find out.
  • How creative am I? Let’s find out.
  • Create moments of astonishment.
  • I have something to prove to myself.
  • I have something to prove to my family.
  • I have something to prove to ____.
  • Know me better.
  • Work with great people I like. 
  • No one else can do what I can.
  • Learn to innovate so I can do something outside of education.
  • Buff my resume.
  • This is how I keep insecurity at bay.
  • I hate my boss.
  • I love my boss.


What’s your motivation for innovating? 

Joseph MillerComment