Getting Unstuck With the Innovator's Compass

August 21, 2023
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We all get stuck sometimes! Students, teachers, and everyone in between are presented with challenges in their lives that can seem almost impossible to overcome or think through. It can be difficult to break down an issue and brainstorm solutions. That’s where the Innovator’s compass comes in handy!

In this episode, Getting Unstuck: Innovator’s Compass, (Episode 110), we sat down with Innovator’s Compass founder Ela Ben-Ur and avid Compass users, Manuel S. Herrara and Kim Zajac, to explore the motive behind the creation of this thought-provoking tool and how it can be practically applied to solve any obstacle.

Here are the key ideas we took away from this episode:

  • Ben-Ur has utilized her background in design thinking to craft the Innovator’s Compass, an accessible, easy-to-use, problem-solving tool that encourages its user to think through challenges in an actionable way. It can be used by people of all ages and backgrounds and applied to any problem. In order to observe their own thought processes, she encourages users to explore the compass solo before using it to collaborate with others. 
  • The compass is designed it in such a way that no special training is required to use it. You can print out the compass from the Innovator’s Compass website or even create your own with a pen and a napkin in a pinch! The compass has many benefits, including alleviating anxiety and identifying problematic patterns that emerge in your life, which can help you better identify solutions.
  • Zajac notes that, in the classroom, it can be used for social-emotional learning (SEL) because it helps students consider challenges from multiple perspectives. She has used it in literature lessons, noting that when students observe the conflicts characters face in stories, they can brainstorm alternative conflict resolution methods characters could have explored. Using the compass in class empowers students to solve their problems outside the classroom as well, causing a positive ripple effect that can carry them throughout their entire lives.
  • Adults can use it, too! The innovator’s compass can easily be applied to one’s personal life. As a tactile and visual thinker, Herrara has benefited from using the compass himself. He used storyboards and timelines to process both practical and emotional issues tied to losing his job, like regret and sadness. As a result, he was able to focus on the most important traits his new position would have and stay organized in his problem-solving as he navigated his next steps.

Many struggle with how to process what’s happening in their world; however, the compass is a great way to practice responding to life’s ups and downs, instead of blindly reacting. It helps users seek solutions at their own pace, question their ideas in order to generate new ones, and focus on the concrete details of a challenge to stop unhelpful generalizations. Place it in the car, in your locker, or wherever you like for solo use, or use it in a group to ensure all participants are seen and heard!

Check out the full podcast for all the details: YouTube | Spotify | Apple Podcasts

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About the Author

About the Authors

Jerri Kemble

National Academic Advisor



Jamie Saponaro

Director of Community & Professional Learning



Learning and always growing, Jamie Saponaro is an educator with a passion for sharing topics in education that are near and dear to her heart. Her background as an instructional strategies consultant, educational coach and mentor, technology administrator, and middle school teacher have brought her to ClassLink as Director of Community and Professional Learning where she co-hosts the LinkedUp podcast and its boundary-breaking guests.