Building an Organization That Can Help the Sector Learn: Creating Team Interdependencies at the Learning Accelerator
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AbstractIn a growing number of school districts across the country, educators are using blended learning (the strategic integration of in-person learning with technology) in order to provide more equitable, accessible and engaging experiences for the students they serve. But in an education system that is not well-organized to scale or sustain innovation, even the most successful models operate largely in isolation with no clear mechanisms to bring them into mainstream practice elsewhere in the sector. The Learning Accelerator (TLA) is a national, non-profit “ecosystem accelerator” that works to address this problem by seeking out and capturing high-potential strategies, building networks to test and adapt them, and then strategically disseminating these strategies at scale. However, given the vast size and complexity of the sector, TLA must not only be able to coordinate and mobilize players in the blended learning space, to be effective it must also build its own capacity to do these things as well.
This capstone describes the development and early stage implementation of a human capital strategy developed for TLA as it transitioned from a small group of solo-practitioners working remotely to an interdependent and growing team capable of executing on a collective impact strategy. The project offers a window into the intricacies of organizational change as seen through the experiences of an ambitious start-up team. In this paper, I provide an overview of organizational structures that foster interdependence, including shared work products, clear goals, and formal structures for sharing information. I also explore the significant influence of team culture and historical narratives on both promoting and impeding change. Finally, the paper ends with reflections on how creating coherence internally can become a mechanism for organizations to achieve greater impact and build the capacity of the education sector as a whole.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:37717447