Summary: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Curos
Summary: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Curos

Summary: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Curos

No teacher has ever had a former student return to say a standardized test changed their lives forever.

8 Characteristics of Innovator’s Mindset


Think about the classroom environment from student’s point of view. Would you want to be a student in your class?

Problem Finding

Give students the problems to solve before giving them the answers. Help them become self-starters.

Risk Takers

Find a balance between drawing on one’s experience and trying something new.


Every idea is a network of ideas. Let students share what they know with each other.


Inspiration is everywhere, often in unexpected places. You just must keep your eyes open and look beyond your field.


Anyone can consume. But a few create. The move from teacher-centric to learner-centric is vital.


Expect pushback from students and coworkers as you try new things. This is a skill we all must develop.


What worked? What didn’t? What would I change? What do I do next?

Ask each teacher what they want to learn.

Spark and build confidence.  Let them develop their strengths and know when to get out of the way.

Do yourself first

Part of the problem is teachers spend all 16 years watching someone else do the job.

See the effort required and experience the benefits firsthand before asking others doing the same thing.

Double down on strengths

Deficit model (allowing someone work on what the like after they finish working on what they hate) can be demoralizing. Instead personalize learning and development for each student by focusing on their strengths.

If your manager primary ignores you, chances of you being actively disengaged are 40%

If your manager focuses on your weaknesses, chances of you being actively disengaged are 22%

If your manager focuses on your strengths, chances of you being actively disengaged are far less, only 1%

Too much choice can be as bad as too little

Trying too many initiatives at once is essentially scratching the surface of each.

Time pressure is also an enemy of creativity.

Allow for a trial and error style of exploration.

Take the ideas of others, remix them to meet their needs and those of their communities.

Blogging and other online activates pushes your thinking as you reflect, create and share.

You can’t measure culture, but you can always feel it

Open culture allows someone to take a shared idea and improves upon it.

Carve out time for exploration, collaboration and reflection to apply what they learn

8 things to look for in today’s classrooms

  1. Students learning from others and share the relearning
  2. Students focus on their strengths and having more choice in what they learn
  3. Students and teachers taking time to write and reflect
  4. Opportunities for innovation
  5. Critical thinking promoted by asking questions to challenge students
  6. Tough challenges for students and time for them to find solutions
  7. Student self-assessment and student portfolios
  8. Connected learning via social media and video conferences

School Vs Learning

school promotes starting by looking for answers. learning promotes learning by questions.

school is about consumption. learning is about creation.

school is about fighting information that is prescribed for you. learning is about exploring your passion and interest.

school teaches compliance. learning is about challenging the perceived norms.

school is scheduled at certain times. learning can happen at any time all the time

school isolates. learning is often social.

school is standardized. learning is personal.

school teaches us to obtain information from certain people. learning promotes that everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner

school is about giving you information. learning is about making your own connections

school is sequential. learning is random and non-linear

school promotes surface-level thinking. learning is about deep exploration

Google’s 5 hiring desires

1. Cognitive ability – the ability to process on the fly

2. Leadership – recognize the time when you need to relinquish power.

3. Humility – the ability to say i don’t know, and be able to step back and embrace better ideas

4. Ownership – understanding that organization’s problem is your problem, and working together towards the solution is crucial

5. Expertise – least important because thinking you already know the answer can keep you from exploring new options