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Action Research Study

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Unleashing Potential, Harnessing Possibilities
An Odyssey of Creativity, Innovation & Critical Thinking
An action Research Study by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

A New Imperative -

Today’s leaders in business, government and not-for-profit organizations are increasingly calling for creativity, innovation and critical thinking in employees, volunteers, community leaders and citizens. This presents an exceptional and unprecedented opportunity for educational systems to not only step up and answer the call, but to also research and determine exactly how we can best help learners of all ages to become the creative, engaged, critical thinkers required for their future. 

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) has been a leader in this discussion and has invited a number of critical thinkers in education to join us in this conversation. For example, Sir Ken Robinson, Professor Emeritus of Education, University of Warwick, says educational systems were originally created to meet the requirements of the industrial economy. Like several of his peers, Robinson believes we have now moved into what is being called the Creativity Age, and we must rethink the current educational structure to make education relevant in today’s world. 

The big question is how society in general, and educational systems in particular, can make this shift to creativity, innovation and critical thinking. Ontario and the OCDSB began making this transition in classroom instruction a number of years ago, but there is still much to be discovered and learned. At the OCDSB, this transition has required an entire organizational shift. The organization has taken the opportunity to "lead the way" in finding answers to the query: "Under what conditions do healthy and creative individuals and organizations flourish?"

Unleashing Potential, Harnessing Possibilities is the action research paper that provides a snapshot of the OCDSB’s seven-year journey, working in collaboration with a variety of educators, researchers and stakeholders to understand creativity, innovation and critical thinking, and the conditions that allow these to flourish.

The OCDSB believes that this work will have a significant impact on improving student achievement and well-being. This work is rooted in the belief that the more the organization recognizes, values and taps into the creative and unique capacities of everyone within and connected to the OCDSB family, the greater the opportunity to reach and teach all of the students in our care. This is the imperative in fostering a truly engaged and creative approach to learning and to individual and organizational health.

This is a living document, and regular updates will be shared here.