HundrED Research is globally recognised for our expertise in education innovation. We select innovations based on a standardised review process that includes external review from members of our HundrED Academy. On this page, you will find detailed information about our definitions, research methods, selection process, theory of change and research ethics.
How do we define innovation, impact and scalability? In this section, we share in-depth reflections on how we at HundrED understand some of the core concepts of educational innovation
What exactly do we mean by innovation in education at HundrED?
Inspired from Everett M. Rogers classic book Diffusion of Innovations (2003), we use the following definition for innovation in education:
“Innovation in education can be defined as meaningful improvements considered within the place of implementation to a new or modified practice and/or technology that supports any part of the educational ecosystem.”
This means innovations must have evidence of improvement over and above what already exists for its intended users. That improvement should also be transferable to multiple contexts.
Following this definition, we see that an innovation has several important aspects:
Impact: Evaluated as a valuable improvement within the innovation’s context. All innovations must have at-least 1-year of being implemented with its intended users
‘Impact’ can be defined in various ways, depending on the perspectives of the actors and the intended outcomes. Some organisations see impact in education in terms of change in attitude, beliefs or behaviour, while another organisation may define impact in terms of project assumptions and objectives.
In our work, we have understood Impact as a direct tangible difference of an education innovation on society. The impact of education innovations on society can be seen in terms of educational outcomes, economic and business outcomes, and social change.
Our definition of Impact as being implemented for at least a year reflects our understanding that determining the impact of an innovation takes time. We would like to see that the innovations have had time to develop beyond the ‘good idea’ and pilot phase. Innovations that have been running for more than a year have had time to examine and iterate their work, to develop their strategies and to practise communicating how and why the innovation works. All of these are important aspects for us in being able to determine the Impact of an innovation in its context.
Impact is about what innovations have already accomplished and demonstrated in their contexts. It is about their capacity to make meaningful change.
We ask our innovators to share evidence of their impact on their innovation page. Our innovators have been working at different levels of scale and for different amounts of time in many contexts.
Impact can be understood at many different levels, from the changes in individual thinking and practice to changes in policies and systems. In addition, innovations are at different stages in their journeys. We therefore accept many forms of evidence to assess the impact of innovations, including for example, impact reports, academic research, user feedback, evaluations and innovator reflections.
Scalability: Either the innovation is actively expanding to other contexts or has a high degree of transferability for others to adopt its practice/technology.
Scaling an innovation is an intentional and active process, requiring deliberate efforts by innovators and innovation implementers, including students, teachers, school leaders and education decision-makers. Scaling is therefore different from diffusion, which can be a more spontaneous process. Innovations that are scalable will retain their effectiveness as they reach more people (Milat et al., 2013).
Michele-Lee Moore, Darcy Riddell, and Dana Vocisano (2015) identify three dimensions of scale: Scaling Out, Scaling Deep and Scaling Up. Scaling Out means reaching more people in more places. Scaling Deep means changing peoples’ ways of thinking and talking, changing behaviour on an individual and collective level. Scaling Up means changing laws and policies.
At HundrED, we are focused on innovations that accomplish the first two - Scaling Out and Scaling Deep. HundrED is interested in how education innovations have, or have the potential to, reach more people and improve how education is happening in different contexts globally. Scaling Up is also very important, both as a long term goal and as a strategy for change in education. However, we do not evaluate innovations based on evidence of their influence at the policy level.
Scalability is about the innovation’s potential to expand. It is about evidence of growth, and the possibility to increase impact through this growth.
How do we assess Scalability?
We are looking to see evidence that the innovation has expanded to reach more students, teachers and schools. We are also interested in the ease of adoption and adaptation to other contexts.
Right from the start, HundrED has relied on a global community of like-minded changemakers to share our calls for innovations to their networks of educators. This community contributes to the data collection and selection of innovations for our Global Collections and Spotlights.
The HundrED community continues to grow, and currently includes nearly 900 ambassadors from over 110 countries. When innovators see the call, they submit all their information on our website to a clear and consistent format representing the work the innovator does and the impact it has. This allows them to clearly state the relevant innovative work that they do and for the HundrED research team to easily compare and contrast between innovations.
This method of data collection, commonly referred to as crowdsourcing, allows HundrED to reach a great amount, breadth, and quality of education innovations across the world through the internet. According to Chiara Certom & Michel Pimbert, crowdsourcing can be defined as:
“Crowdsourcing means that a subject (a company, a public body, an organisation) submits an open format call for solutions or ideas to a large number of users. The interactive web makes it possible to set up open-access platforms for massive and rapid interaction of web-users in crowdsourcing processes.”
From this perspective, HundrED fosters an online participatory culture of user-generated content that helps identify and share the best practices in education globally. HundrED’s way of organising the knowledge that users enter into our database follows a horizontal and egalitarian logic since all innovations can be accessible and shared by anyone on the internet. Thus our platform offers a space for dialogue between different education stakeholders (teachers, parents, researchers, policymakers, etc.) involving a wide, diversified and active audience.
Want to know how to make an innovation page and submit for one of our projects? You've come to the right place!
Before you begin, know it typically takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour – though you can save progress and come back multiple times to finish it. There are many benefits to making a page, which can be found here.
Follow these three easy steps to get started:
Decide what projects you are applying for. We have two main types of innovation collections:
(A) Our annual Global Collections: Any innovation in education can submit to be considered. To submit for our next Global Collection (and future ones), click “Create an innovation page” on this link.
(B) Spotlights: These projects are either focused on a specific region (e.g. Switzerland or Pittsburgh) or a theme (e.g. Digital Wellbeing or Creativity). To submit your innovation for one of our Spotlight projects, first make sure you qualify through reading each project's webpage; you can find the Spotlight page from this link. You can then submit an innovation for that Spotlight project by clicking on the “Create an innovation page” on its collection page.
If you want to apply your innovation for multiple projects, you can do this when making and editing your innovation page. We will also be on the lookout to consider any innovation page for all current and future projects.
Throughout the process, it is important to know that:
Your Innovation page remains hidden from public view until you publish it.
You can add (and delete) more owners on your page to have others helping with maintaining it. Every owner must create a HundrED account in order to have editing rights.
If you are shortlisted or selected for a project, we will contact you through the contact information you have provided. Please make sure this information is up to date!
Make sure you read through a few selected innovation pages from our previous projects for inspiration.
Do spend the time to review your page thoroughly and aim to make your page clear and attractive. Also, please aim to update your page every 3-4 months.
If you come across any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us through research@hundrED.org. Please be sure to include a link to your innovation when making requests.