Innovation in a compliance structure
by Alec Patton
I found the following sentence (which I’ve truncated for the sake of clarity) in a government evaluation document:
Preparations… to develop the vision for transforming learning with schools are developing in a timely way.
This strikes me as rather beautifully absurd, like saying of St. Paul that ‘his damascene conversion is on track to hit all interim targets and reach completion ahead of deadline.’
Now, I’m not making the case that creativity flourishes best far away from worldly cares like deadlines (in my case, creativity has always flourished best in close proximity to deadlines). But ‘transformative vision’ can’t develop ‘in a timely way’, because if it’s transformative, you don’t know what it’s going to end up looking like (you don’t even know what the journey is going to end up looking like!) – so it won’t be ‘timely’, because it will only be chartable after the fact. This is not an attractive propect for anybody required to inspect progress within a compliance model.