I have started to read a very interesting book titled, “Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance“, where the author shares an extremely interesting analogy:
“In rock climbing, each route from the ground to the peak is rated with a number. A climb rated 4.0 or lower is considered nontechnical. You need strength and agility, but not equipment. A climb rated 5.0 and higher requires ropes, harnesses, other protective gear, and a bit more experience. Climbing at a godlike 5.14 level requires years of training, practice, less than 5% body fat, and a will of steel. The interesting thing about these ratings is that they aren’t based so much on the difficulty of the entire climb as on a set of moves known as the crux. Crux moves are the most challenging moments of the entire route; they often require you to push physically, emotionally, and intellectually, to take big and often blind risks in a way no other part of the climb does. There may be multiple crux moves along a single route. The manner in which you handle the thousands of smaller moments of uncertainty and challenge along the way determines whether you get to the crux moves. But the way you handle the crux moves themselves so strongly determines whether you’ll actually reach the peak that the difficulty of the most challenging crux sequence is often used to rate the entire climb. Any worthwhile creative endeavor has its own crux moves. Your project may be defined in part by your day-to-day decisions and actions, but what really determines whether you succeed or fail—whether you’re starting a business, developing a new product, making a film, or writing a book—is how you respond during a series of pivotal moments—the creation crux moves.” Jonathan Fields
I started to think about this story in terms of our digital portfolio project in Parkland School Division, we have done all of the small moves to set things up, but we are now at the “crux” moment where we have to make the giant leap for it to be successful. You often hear about “pilot” programs in schools/organizations and that is where a lot of the work gets done to set up the opportunity for the “crux”. But without that big move, how far can we get?
Sitting with Patrick Larkin and discussing their iPad project, there was a lot of work being done before the actual implementation of these devices. Beforehand, there were a lot of small moves being put in place (continuous conversations with stakeholders, modelling of learning, professional development, etc.) to not only improve learning but to prepare for the big crux move which would be the school wide implementation of iPad devices. There is a lot more to what had happened in the school then the simple pushing of a hardware technology and there is also still a lot of work to be done to be successful, but without that big jump, how far could you really move?
So as I think about planning for the future in the area of innovation for Parkland School Division, it is kind of eye opening to think about the “little moves” that will prepare us for the big one. To really push the limits of what we do in school, we need to think about that “crux” that may be daunting, yet will lead us to reach new heights.