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Overview of the The Designing for Innovation Framework:

Domains & Critical Attributes

The Importance of this Innovation Framework

The Innovation Framework was developed from national and international evidence on how schools meet the needs of learners in a changing world. The concepts and practices highlighted in the framework are crucial to the design of and successful work in student-focused learning systems.

The Innovation Framework is organized into three main DOMAINS, each with its own subsections or CRITICAL ATTRIBUTES. The Domains encompass three areas of transformative work that reflect the specific responsibilities and influences of each part of the student-focused learning community: leaders, student learners, and teachers. Improvement work for the school community crosses all domains.

"Innovation is a significant and positive change." (Berkun, 2013)
The three domains represent a synthesis of the research that supports the likelihood that significant positive change will occur when designing for student focused learning.

Designing for Innovation: The Three DOMAINS


Transformational Leadership creates a shared vision and commitment to student-focused learning. Leaders model a collaborative inquiry process with a mindset of curiosity and exploration. Leaders take on challenges by being willing to question, experiment, and reflect, with a focus on the needs of learners. Everyone learns from setbacks and continues to grow personally while inspiring others to do the same. Failure is a First Attempt in Learning and an expected part of a cycle of inquiry for improvement.


Learner-Driven represents deep and engaging learning and is at the heart of personalizing learning and teaching. Every student employs their unique life experiences and gifts as they engage in purposeful and meaningful learning experiences. The learning environment supports students as they take ownership of their education and gain the skills to pursue learning at any point in their lives. Student-focused learning systems prepare learners to meet or exceed readiness benchmarks along pathways to graduate prepared for college, career, and community engagement.


Professional competencies are those attributes that all professional staff within a learning community need to understand, master, and apply to succeed in student-focused learning environments. Learning professionals own their own learning by having a deep commitment to inquiry into their own effectiveness. They balance complex components and environments to develop learning for themselves, colleagues, and students. These professionals model a sense of inquiry and collaboration as communities of self-directed learners.

Designing for Innovation: Critical Attributes

Three domains serve to organize and elaborate on the essential elements to consider when designing student-focused learning systems: Transformational Leadership, Learner-Driven, and Professional Competencies.

The Critical Attributes dive more deeply into the domain-specific concepts and practices that are pivotal to designing and sustaining student-focused learning systems. Within the Critical Attributes you will find resources, tools, and strategies that support collaboration and inquiry, as this work is challenging to do and sustain in isolation. This honors all learners in the community exactly where they are and provides a path for moving forward.