Circles of Innovation is an evolution of work done at Valencia College as part of The Great Teachers Colloquium, and it is driven by a few underlying philosophies of learning, innovation, and professional development.

First and foremost, We know that “sometimes the purest, most effective, type of faculty development is well-facilitated shoptalk” (Mike McHargue)  In Destination Great Teachers we learned that getting faculty together to discuss their successes, failures, problems, & solutions is not only rewarding to them, but that it can be motivating and trajectory changing with regards to classroom practices.

We also know that people tend to be driven by autonomy, mastery, and purpose (See Dan Pink’s book Drive). Research shows that if we want faculty to be engaged, self-direction (autonomy) is a key. Faculty members also have an inherent drive to become masters of what they do, achieve mastery both in their field and in their practice. They are also driven by common purpose: They have an underlying desire to share, to contribute to something bigger than themselves.

In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson suggests that breakthrough ideas almost never come at a moment of great insight. Instead, he suggests we all have half-baked ideas (what he calls “slow hunches”). What we are missing, he continues, are the other halves to our half-baked plans. Johnson states that the reason the coffee houses of the enlightenment and the Parisian salons of modernism were such great engines of creativity was because they created spaces where ideas could mingle, swap, and create new forms.

Circles of Innovation is an attempt to create a digital space where self-directed faculty, who are driven by a sense of mastery and common purpose, can come to mingle, contribute, collaborate, solve problems, and create new forms for Great Teaching. Circles of Innovation is “Where good ideas collide and great discoveries are made possible!”