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Envisioning Innovation in Education



The multi-year collaboration entitled "Envisioning Innovation in Education" (EIE) between CATALYST Education Lab (CEL) and Project Zero (PZ), a globally renowned research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), began in July 2020. Eleven secondary schools from Hong Kong are involved in this project. ​


Using a collaborative inquiry approach, the goal of EIE is to promote and investigate the practices of inquiry, innovation, and learning design amongst a cohort of educators and a team of school principals in Hong Kong. Together, educators and school principals envision the “what” and “why” of innovation in education, and develop the “how” of generative change by identifying and developing a set of inquiry skills educators will need to pursue innovative projects.

About the Program

A) Three Stages for Change

  • Stage 1: Envision - participants are introduced to frameworks and pedagogical practices while being “seeded” with new ideas to expand their view of what’s possible within the realm of learning design and why

  • Stage 2: Inquire - participants engage in inquiry skills through “inquiry projects” to better understand their unique teaching and learning environments and to identify opportunities for experimenting with new practices

  • Stage 3: Innovate - participants implement “innovation projects” in their learning environments to prototype, test, and refine new approaches to practice that are specific to their schools, while also being generalizable to others

B) Participating Schools


At the start of this project, there were a total of 75 participants involved from the 11 participating schools, comprising of the Teacher Cohort (5-6 educators from each school) and the Principal Cohort (the head of each school).

The 11 participating schools were selected through a rigorous interview process by the CEL and PZ team. The diversity of schools demonstrates our commitment to initiate positive change in all contexts, catalyzed by the actions of educators involved. We firmly believe that the work of the participants will inspire others (e.g. other educators, practitioners, parents, stakeholders etc.) on the multifacetedness and versatility of innovation in education, that there is no “one size fits all” approach towards change for enhancing students’ learning experiences. Ultimately, innovation in education is most sustainable when driven by educators at the schools who understand their students and communities best.

Gathering as a Learning Community - Cross-school collaboration is key to fostering and sustaining system-wide change. The quarterly Learning Community event provides the space where all educators and administrators from the 11 participating schools get together to learn from, and share with, one another.

C) Collaborative Inquiry Protocol

Learning as a Study Group - Educators (teachers & administrators at the same school) from different disciplines, grade levels, and levels of experience meet regularly in study groups. During these sessions, participants exchange teaching & learning ideas and engage with resources shared by PZ, discuss documentation & provide each other feedback for refining practice, and identify opportunities for experimentation. Through the collaborative inquiry protocol, schools can foster a culture of colleagues leaning on each other as resources and support. This collaboration contributes to the sustainability of innovation in education within schools.

Study Group
Learning Communiy


At the end of this three year study, a professional development toolkit will be produced from the EIE study. This toolkit will be made available to the public to support Hong Kong educators, school leaders, and the wider community, in their pursuit of innovation. Items in the toolkit may include:

  • A suite of new pedagogical tools and strategies - to facilitate new approaches to teaching, learning, and leadership

  • A collection of pictures of practice - to illustrate the different approaches to innovation under varied opportunities and challenges

  • A discussion of the lessons learnt - challenges and opportunities for innovation

About the Research Group: Project Zero (PZ)

PZ is a renowned educational research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) with the mission to understand and enhance learning, thinking as well as creativity.

PZ has over 50 years of experience in supporting educators in fostering deep meaningful thinking and learning. Recent examples include “Creating Communities of Innovation” (UAE) and “Agency by Design: Early Childhood in the Making” (HK).


For more details, visit:

Project Zero Logo

Should you have any enquiries, 

please contact us via email at

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