Sustaining Innovation Through Leadership Changes


The New Media Consortium (NMC) defines a wicked problem as one that is “complex to define, much less address.” For our Wicked Problem, my partner Renee and I decided to look into sustaining innovation through leadership changes from the lens of principal burnout. Renee and I decided on this lens because we wanted to focus – in our opinion – on what we felt was the biggest part of sustaining innovation problem: burnout. If principals are leaving the profession every few years, sustaining innovation is not able to happen. We focused on ways to fight burnout through giving principals access to a business manager, models to redistribute work load, networking, professional development, and pay raises. If there are less principals leaving due to burnout than sustainment of innovation will continue.

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Photo by Pixabay on

Here is our planning document. We struggled at first with coming up with the questions to help us understand our problem – I thought it was a pretty straight forward problem and was not sure of the questions to generate. However, after thinking about the problem from different viewpoints and opening and closing the problem question (Berger, 2014).

As we narrowed down our questions to prioritize our research we tried to choose questions that we felt dealt with an overarching problem. Renee and I felt that if we were able to curtail the issue of principals leaving than the schools would not have an issue with sustaining innovation. Since many articles focused on principal burnout as an issue, we made that conclusion. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has an entire issue dedicated to burnout in principals and educators.

Since we had narrowed down our wicked problem to discussing burnout, whittling down our main question and research was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The construction of the thinglink at the top of the post was Renee’s idea, but we both came up with the different points and how to incorporate all of our information into a multimodal presentation. Due to feedback from our peers while we presented the problem, Renee changed the buttons to numbers in order for those accessing the thinglink to have a guided directions on where to start and where to go from there.

Throughout the wicked problem process I feel that I was able to become a ‘better questioner’ myself. Having to come up with different viewpoints and also decide which direction to take our solution in helped me to hopefully become a better educator. Questioning played a large role in this project, and it also needs to guide my life as an educator as well.



Berger, W. (2014).  A more beautiful question.  New York: Bloomsbury.


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