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The Aha! Moment - How Poznan turned its potential into an Education Innovation Network

Edited on

20 August 2020
Read time: 2 minutes

“Creativity is about making connections and usually depends more on collaboration than individual efforts” Ken Robinson, Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative.


“How is it possible that we have not tried out more durable and permanent cooperation prior to commencement of the ON BOARD project?” remarked one teacher involved in the ON BOARD project, locally coordinated by the city of Poznań. “Why didn’t we do this earlier?”


The main reason seemed to be related to structure and size, even before our first ON BOARD experiences. After all, Poznań is a much bigger city than Viladecans, leader of URBACT III “ON BOARD Connecting cities through education” project. Designing an educational network in a smaller city has completely different conditions than in a larger one. So even if we chose only one district for our area of ON BOARD activity, this did not change the fact that we were in a “machine” inhabited by 500,000 people, which could at any time bring about complications.


How could we do the work? What were we afraid of at the beginning? Poznań’s network has so much potential, we knew, but what was standing in the way?


Have you heard about the Golden Circle? A rule, known already in nature, was used by Simon Sinek in his book "Start with why." It's a simple mathematical relationship, a formula of perfect proportion – you gain greater order, understanding and beauty. It is a signpost for valuable action to always start by asking the question "WHY are we doing something?"



With this Golden Circle guide as our heuristic, in 2019 City of Poznań joined the URBACT III project “ON BOARD Connecting cities through education” to search together with 5 cities from Europe. Why? To learn the recipe how to make education more powerful and innovative in our city. Why? To learn how we could build on the diversity of our city collaborations to make a successful, strong and sustainable Education Innovation Network (EIN) in Poznań.


Even though the lead partner, Viladecans, could show it was able to design a network of interdisciplinary stakeholders in its own EIN, it was going to be up to us to attempt the same, to be able to bring together our own community stakeholders to build our own EIN, adapted to our own capacities and needs.


So, keeping in mind the Golden Circle, we first decided to find out what was in Poznań’s “insides”. Based on Viladecan’s experience we developed our own network model, which is called “SEJ Model” (Sieć Edukacyjna Jeżyce – Educational Network of Jeżyce). This comprehensive study was helpful for us to define the needs of main stakeholders, to characterize them and their potential.


Learn more here about what happened in Poznań!