big ideas

seymour papert:

One can take two approaches to renovating School - or indeed anything else. The problem-solving approach identifies the many problems that afflict individual schools and tries to solve them. A systemic approach requires one to step back from the immediate problems and develop an understanding of how the whole thing works. Educators faced with day-to-day operation of schools are forced by circumstances to rely on problem solving for local fixes. They do not have time for "big ideas".

sometimes i feel we are like ants on a tree branch. most ants are happy to be where they are and most ants are happy to move forward. then there are these special ants, and somehow they see that this branch is a dead end. and they have a hard time explaining this to the other ants, as they can only see the branch they are currently on. they are happy with things being like they are and for them, the branch seems to go on forever.

but if we really want to move forward, sometimes it is necessary to step back from the immediate problems and look at the big picture.

to the other ants of course, this almost always looks like a bad idea. you know, they are happy with things being like they are. however, the trouble with innovation is that truly innovative ideas often look like bad ideas at the time. that's why they are innovative - until now, nobody ever figured out that they were good ideas.