if you don’t put up a new building, you might as well give up

The title of this post is purposely provocative.  Over and over again, we are seeing examples here at the Leading Change Institute of these innovative, collaborative and creative spaces that are parts of new or heavily renovated buildings.  Redo all classrooms, put in tools for untethered teaching, and now you’re an examplar of innovation.   Tear out all the traditional materials in one space and convert it into an innovation space and you are cutting edge.

The depressing part of these examples is obvious – if one cannot do such extensive renovations or new builds, are we destined to fall behind?  Should we just give up?

Of course I am aware that it’s very possible to be very innovative while utilizing existing spaces, or perhaps with only minor changes.  We can put in untethered teaching tools while doing a “standard” technology refresh for a classroom.  We don’t need entirely new buildings.  A conference room with new monitors, screens, and white boards is suddenly a dynamic collaboration space.

But the examples, time and again, are of new buildings, and it is depressing at times.  Let’s start focusing on existing spaces that have been converted, without massive related changes.  If you have to completely alter one practice in order to free up space – that doesn’t count.  Can you take a location, building, lounge, etc. and modify it in perhaps several small ways and provide dramatically improved teaching/learning/social interaction aspects?  Let’s hear about those.  Let’s see photos of those spaces.