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Challenging assumptions and limitations to create a culture of innovation

The concept of being innovative can be made to sound so simple. We think of a new idea. We take a risk and implement the new idea. We fail, learn, and move forward. But what if the development of the innovative thinking isn’t the only roadblock? What if so much of your day is spent solving the issues around you that even the attempt at developing new ideas is not even on your radar? What if you long to have more divergent teachers in your school district or to be that divergent teacher, but you simply don’t know where to start?

This is where I was as a Technology Integrator several years ago. I knew what innovative teaching looked like, but I didn’t know how to support all the other areas that were taking teachers away from having the time and the brain space to think innovatively and divergently. After working with multiple educators, schools, and districts, I have developed the foundational levels to the Hierarchy of Needs for Innovation and Divergent Thinking in hopes that the information will help educators find the holes in their foundational levels and fill them. When educators are supported, amazing learning opportunities can happen, and a solid foundation allows for more time to try new ideas, challenge their own assumptions, and teach divergently!

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As someone who has the chance to visit with many different kinds of school districts, I can tell you culture looks different and has varying degrees of denotations from building to building. Defining culture and how it’s formed is difficult for most to even articulate. But that’s where Divergent EDU comes in. Mandy gives us a solid understanding of each critical piece that must be addressed in order to positively impact a building’s culture. Use this book as a reflective tool and you will start to see where your culture is strong, but where it could also be strengthened

Jarod Bormann, Educator and Author of Professionally Driven

I absolutely loved reading this book and thought it was so well written and clear, inspiring, and conveys the message that we need to push ourselves to be different, to take risks, and be comfortable with diverging from the way things have been done. The structure of the book, the flow of the writing, and the guide/ roadmap that Mandy provides for moving up the hierarchy are so well done. The way that it progresses from start to finish in explaining the hierarchy and the divergent thinking process, how to make changes, how to encourage others to join in the work to bring about the changes needed in education, I have no doubt that educators can feel confident using this book as a guide and will have the support they need. I enjoyed reading and learning through Mandy’s experience, hearing about some of the challenges, and resulting triumphs and failures. One of the best features of book is the way that Mandy narrates and shows vulnerability, and really models that power of being reflective in our practice. Each chapter having a summary and points to keep in mind, as well as questions to use for reflection, are also some of the best features of this book

Rachelle Dene Poth, Educator, Speaker, and EdTech Enthusiast

As a classroom teacher of 22 years that has recently moved into a Tech Integration Specialist role, I connected to this book on so many levels. Mandy Froehlich beautifully weaves research and her own experience as she walks the reader through the Hierarchy of Needs for Innovation and Divergent Thinking that she developed to create a culture of innovation. You will find many practical strategies and ideas that you can implement immediately in your own EDUsetting. I found myself wanting to highlight, star, and dog ear section after section as I drew parallels to my own experiences and the culture of innovation I’m trying to move our district towards. This book will be one that sits on my desk and that I reference often. Divergent EDU is a “must read” that I recommend for educators, coaches, and administrators of all levels!

Tisha Richmond, Technology Integrator and Author of Make Learning Magical

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