While our tech-based companies are struggling to find the talent needed to grow a new creative economy, our schools are still stuck in a 100-year-old model that was designed to produce workers for an industrial age. Students desperately want to be a part of the future but many are struggling to understand why they are even showing up to school each day. Here in Oregon, we have the second worst graduation rate in the entire country. Some would joke that we are the Mississippi of the West, except that Mississippi now has a higher graduation rate.
Four years ago Innovate Oregon launched The Dayton Experiment, in Dayton Oregon, a rural community in Yamhill County where two-thirds of the students live in poverty and a third of the students are Hispanic.
This experiment explored what might happen if you took the agile mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets from our agile community and partnered with a school district to re-imagine education. Might it be possible for an entire school district to transform from a traditional teaching institution into a dynamic learning organization, one that unleashes the creative genius of their students?
Today, Dayton has a 97% graduation rate and recently sent a student design team to be showcased at MIT. It is inspiring agile cultural transformations in districts throughout the entire state.
Thompson will be sharing the story of this journey and lessons that have been learned when bringing agile to a complex ecosystem. These lessons have direct implications for companies seeking to scale agile within their organizations.
Thompson Morrison is the Founder and Chief Evangelist for Innovate Oregon, originally a strategic initiative of the TAO Foundation. For 15 years he ran a software company whose development teams embraced agile practices. He was on the Board of the TAO and chaired their strategy committee that led the transformation of the organization from its earlier manifestation as the SAO. He led the team from the TAO and PDC that developed a community-based economic development strategy for the software industry. He was a founding board member of the STEM Investment Council and co-authored Oregon's STEM Investment Plan. He is also the co-founder of both TaborSpace and the Rosewood Initiative.