As part of my research into alternative school governance systems I’ve been directed towards work being undertaken by the Innovation Unit. One of the key features of the Unit is their focus on the concept of Next Practice. Here’s how they define some of the characteristics of Next Practice:
- significantly changed methods of service delivery, organisation or structure, which, if shown to be successful, would hold implications for the wider system
- in advance of hard evidence of effectiveness
- not (yet) officially sanctioned and therefore maybe entailing some risk
- consciously designed with an awareness of the strengths and limitations of conventional ‘best’ practice
- generated by very able, informed practitioners aware of the existing knowledge base
- informed by critical scanning of the wider environment
- directed at serious, contemporary problems
- user focused.
Next Practice is keenly aware of conventional good practice – its strengths and limitations – but sets out to move it to a new level. In some cases, Next Practice will disrupt, profoundly evolve or revolutionise good practice.
Best Practice asks what works? Next Practice asks what could work better?
I’m very impressed by this approach and feel it has huge potential for the Scottish system.