Innovation case study: Hillbrook School (Los Gatos, CA)

WeWork's San Jose location will serve as a basecamp for the Hillbrook School's new Social Entrepreneurship program.

WeWork's San Jose location will serve as a basecamp for the Hillbrook School's new Social Entrepreneurship program.

"How do we reimagine the independent school business model?"

That question launched the Hillbrook School and 11 other schools in their collaboration with MISBO and IDEO. This reflection by Hillbrook's Head of School Mark Silver outlines his school's approach to conceiving new ways forward in the face of "an increasingly untenable dependence upon skyrocketing tuition, expanding tuition assistance budgets, and philanthropy."

Did Hillbrook's inspiration originate with IDEO-esque creative ideation sessions?

No. It started with Mission: as Mark says, "We [...] challenge our students to make a difference in the world."

Hillbrook connected their timeless Mission--"to make a difference in the world"--to a timely Vision for the world we live in now: "creating real-world, project-based learning experiences for students that reach beyond our campus." The result: the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Finally, Hillbrook realized that the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship will only succeed if they have the right Culture to support it. That's why they are running experiments in project-based service learning at WeWork. As Hillbrook learns from these experiments, they will simultaneously be building the culture they need to sustain innovation. Hillbrook's Center for Teaching Excellence site describes some of these initiatives.

And maybe along the way they will help to reimagine the independent school business model.

Mission > Vision > Culture. This is how Innovation happens.

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