One Saturday morning in the 8th year of my life, I combined two of my favorite breakfast foods: Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and maple syrup. My mother looked on and deemed my innovation not sustaining, not disruptive (though it was), but bad
. Her critique went unheeded until I tested the innovation myself. Indeed, she was correct.
There was little time or thought invested in my project, and by the time I received feedback the syrup had been poured, the damage done. Had I received critique in the idea stage, I may have scrapped the idea altogether and opted for a different combo.
The point: as we heard briefly in yesterday's seminar
, bad innovations do exist. If they continue without critique or input, they can squander the time, minds, and creative power of people who could potentially create something better with a little outside guidance.
Most arts and industries have feedback processes to ensure the innovations developed are a worthwhile investment of resources: businesses have client-meetings and consumer testing, publishing has editors and peer reviewers, fine and performing arts have peer critiques during development and "professional" critiques of the finished product. Peer-reviewed arts critiques have four general steps: describe the piece, analyze its composition, interpret its meaning, judge its success or failure. They are perhaps the most dialogue-friendly of the review processes as they facilitate feedback between artists who can evaluate ideas and technique free from commercial interests.
Would a formal critique or review process be helpful at EdLab? Instead of presenting projects when they're near-complete, would it behoove individuals and teams to hear honest feedback from EdLabbers not involved in the project? What if EdLab invited experts in relevant fields to critique projects in their early stages? Critiques can be harrowing, humbling experiences, but if they avoid a sweet-turned-sour "innovation" like mine, we're all the better for it.