Changing the future of education is everyday work for CORE Education who support educators and learners at every level. That’s why a culture of innovation has always been an important part of CORE’s mission to push the boundaries of educational possibility. This culture has flourished with the introduction of a structured innovation programme, called He Kākano, which brings people from all over the organisation together to imagine and develop new ideas.
CORE’s Senior Manager of Innovation, Christina Ward says, “introducing He Kākano was about transforming CORE itself, as well as pushing the boundaries of what we currently think is possible in the education sector”.
“It was very helpful to have an online tool for people to access. It made ideas visible, which helped lift engagement, and it meant everything was in one place and organised”
After the success of its first He Kākano programme, developed in partnership with Jade, CORE wanted to stay true to its commitment to innovative thinking. So when the company retreat was announced, CORE saw an opportunity to bring the whole company together in a fast paced environment to develop new ideas for the education sector. To make sure the competition lived up to the occasion, CORE and Jade got innovative together.
“Hosting the competition at the company retreat was like an energizer for ideas… I think it provided a greater depth of thinking and collaboration”, says Christina Ward.
Previously, He Kākano asked people to form teams and then decide on an idea. This time around, to promote collaboration and improve the visibility of ideas, CORE encouraged people to submit all their ideas to “The Ideator” - an online noticeboard created by Jade. Teams then formed organically around the ideas.
“It was very helpful to have an online tool for people to access. It made ideas visible, which helped lift engagement, and it meant everything was in one place and organised”, says Christina.
Then, CORE enlisted mentors with diverse backgrounds to offer guidance as teams developed and built their ideas.
“Bringing mentors who had either participated in the last competition or had start-up experience helped the teams to build stronger ideas and pitches”, says Océane Imber, CORE Education’s Research and Innovation Coordinator.
“He Kākano has really opened up the idea that people can contribute to future business opportunities. The fact that some of these ideas are now being realised is proving to people that these things can really happen”.
The last iteration of He Kākano ignited the company’s culture, and a change in format only improved it.
“It’s given people who might have previously been considered to have ‘backroom’ roles an opportunity to shine. Suddenly everyone wanted an IT developer or someone from marketing on their team. It gives everyone an opportunity to work much closer with other staff”, says Christina Ward.
But she explains that a successful culture requires an innovative approach to staff development, too. “He Kākano has really opened up the idea that people can contribute to future business opportunities. The fact that some of these ideas are now being realised is proving to people that these things can really happen”.
The success of any business starts with good ideas, but products and services aren’t developed overnight. He Kākano has exposed people in the organisation to what really goes into bringing a good idea to life. To support staff in this new innovation space, CORE has grown He Kākano into a strong internal incubator that takes an idea and turns it into a complete product.
“We have shaped a full post-competition incubator programme to provide support for the selected teams to bring their ideas to market. The teams shape up their ideas through our business case and are strongly supported with business expertise. Our process is constantly refined with the feedback we receive from our staff”, says Christina Ward.
Partnering with Jade has delivered an established innovation framework that has strengthened CORE’s business and organisational culture. “Working with Jade was great. The whole process ran smoothly. We knew what to expect and Jade helped us execute. Everything was very easy”, says Océane Imber.