“Resilience for Innovation projects in the Education sector”

A new research paper (Lamscheck-Nielsen, 2023), presented at EDULEARN 2023, outlines typical problem pattern for innovation projects in the education sector and the need for an increased focus on resilience. 


Innovation projects can be powerful spearheads for pedagogical, didactic, and systemic development in the education sector, regardless of the educational level or field. Over the last few decades, the significance of these projects has become increasingly apparent, along with the growing complexity and rapid development in society.

The purpose of the paper is to initiate a discussion about the procedures that are increasingly used in calls for innovation projects in the Danish education sector. The ultimate goal is to minimize an identified gap between the calls for projects and the actual practice in education.

A wide range of relevant themes is treated in a concentrated manner through research literature and contemporary project approaches. Qualitative data from a validation of the findings by project experts are added, as well as extracts from the author´s comprehensive data collection on project practice.

The paper outlines barriers and some wicked problems in the application processes of innovation projects in the education sector. It identifies a gap between the rationales behind the calls for projects on one side, and applicants for projects on the other. It is described, how policy and strategy can become unintelligible through micromanagement. It also explains the danger of missing innovative project ideas, as well as the danger of using unrealistic evaluation methods for authentic educational results.

It is shown that the calls´ steering rationale has won dominance in the gap, and it has become apparent that the unequal balance of power has led to some inappropriate response modes from the applicants, which seems to further reinforce both the gap and the wicked problems.

All this has led to the insight that there is a need for a project didactics that takes regard to the characteristics of the education sector and, in this context, to the driving forces of the teachers, counsellors, trainers, or social workers as the innovators.

As a result, the paper has emphasized possible aspects for a resilience-oriented project didactics, which can focus, for example, on agility and an inclusive participative approach to project members. This approach requires profound trust-building and its consequent practice on an inter-personal level, on a project-organizational level, and even on a cross-organizational level.