It's More than Speed Dating

When I met with Jenny earlier this week, I shared with her that seeing her Genius Hour class the previous week was the catalyst for me to finally start writing the book. I have long known that there was a story to be told and have been writing for almost a year, but the story arc was not clear to me. A book has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I knew the beginning, I just didn't know the end point of that arc.

Last Tuesday, watching her and her class, I found it.

When I embarked on this journey with Jami four year ago, we were led by an Audacious Aspiration to re-imagine education. We thought that by weaving our agile culture into her school, we could do something amazing.

But it was only a crazy idea, just a theory.

We believed in this vision and have kept going, even through very dark days.

But it was only a theory, a belief, a faith journey. Until recently.

First it was this summer, when the Dayton team went to MIT and showcased their automated chicken coop. And blew everyone away.

Then it was the publication of the graduation rates for Dayton. 97% - one of the highest in the state. Over the last four years, their graduation rate increased 14% while the state average increased 5%.

But, for me, the most powerful evidence that this transformation is real was when I was talking to Jenny last week. She was describing how they had done a last minute pivot to re-structure their Genius Hour class, creating the concept of a scramble incorporating a Da Vinci theme.

She went on to explain to me a new practice they have developed for the demos that are held after their two-week sprints. They call them an In & Out Demo. In the way she had described that practice, I realized that she had taken agile to a new level, developing a powerful practice that might have implications well beyond her class.

That act of empowered creativity on her part was the final confirmation that what Jami and I had started was now real. Neither of us were directly involved. The Spirit of Agile now had a life of its own through Jenni and the other teachers.

So now I had the end point for the story arc. It was now time to write. I am, as fast as I can. Here is the story that is unfolding The Dayton Experiment: Index

When I shared the impact of seeing her class the previous week had on me, Jenni was surprised. For her, there was nothing particularly notable about what she had done. She was simply using the model of speed dating for the demos.

But what she didn't appreciate, because she is a master teacher and what she did felt natural and obvious, was all of the pieces that she had woven into that basic concept that made the practice powerful. Made it whole. The teams, the table configuration, the concept of insiders and outsiders, the assessment of active listening along with the presentations, and many more. Weaving all of these elements together made something magical.

She had reached a state of Ri. Shu Ha Ri

That is creative genius unleashed.