Planning for Innovation: Renaissance or Renovation

Create a Needs Assessment Document

Incorporate AEIOU (Activities, Environments, Inreractions, Objects, and Users) observations into a needs assessment document with examples of how the users are currently engaged in the space, how they modify the space to their needs and what existing furniture and equipment is being used most frequently and effectively.  

If students are not using the library then you must go out and make observations where students are gathering, why those spaces work better than the library, what tools are leveraged, and how students demonstrate knowledge.   It is also important to understand whether instructors use inquiry based learning skills in the classroom.  If not, then you need to market inquiry based learning, suggest collaboration to integrate it into the curriculum and evaluate student results together.    

Meaningful conversations with fellow instructors during the observation phase will help you select a team of collaborators to work on a needs assessment document for going forward.   They can help the librarian determine what questions need to be asked about the nature of a future library.  They can create excitement about possible changes to curriculum based on the new environments.    They are stakeholders in this endeavor along with students, their parents and school administrators.  All the stakeholders should be involved in developing a needs assessment document.   Selecting an appropriate sized group that is representative of a majority of stakeholders is critical.  You want divergent thinkers willing to offer opinions and be risk takers.  They also want stakeholders who will ask their peers for insight to expand their personal views. 

In this module you should also address some of the issues that a major renovation will require.  Feasibility issues like funding, technical infrastructure and human resources should all be addressed, documented and placed on a sidebar for later.  These issues can be overwhelming and put a “black hat” on creativity so that no new ideas are even explored.  There are always numerous reasons why something new, innovative “can’t be done” so spend some time letting people fill up a flip chart sheet with them.  Then, decide as a group that they will not stop the planning process.  After the group creates a compelling plan then the obstacles can be may efficiently addressed.  The supporting arguments for change will emerge during the process, especially if the key driving factor is student learning.