Promoting Sustainable Educational Innovation Using the Sustainability Meter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Schools struggle with sustaining their educational innovations (Cohen and Mehta, 2017; Askell-Williams and Koh, 2020) and may benefit from concrete and practical guidance (Askell-Williams and Koh, 2020). A dialogue between staff within schools can be a way to promote self-evaluation regarding the innovation. Therefore, a self-evaluation tool for educators was developed: The Sustainability Meter (TSM). The purpose of the tool is to gain insight into the different perspectives and experiences of stakeholders within the school organization regarding the innovation, as a basis for improvement-directed actions to promote sustainable educational innovation. Design/methodology/approach: In this small-scale study, the authors explored conceptual and instrumental use of the Sustainability Meter in two phases, and also examined user satisfaction. In phase 1, the tool was used under the guidance of the researcher (first author), who supported the chairs in taking steps before the group dialogue took place, and who then guided the dialogue itself as a moderator. In phase 2, work with TSM was organized independently by the schools themselves, supported by the manual. Data were collected in the form of observations of the dialogue, group interviews and documents generated by the participants. Findings: In terms of conceptual use, in general, participants gained better understanding of each other's perspectives and backgrounds with regard to the (sustainability of the) innovation. The dialogue also led to insights into challenges for growth toward sustainable innovation. For instrumental use, the results of the analysis were incorporated in a plan of action in the majority of the participants' schools. In terms of user satisfaction, participants in all groups perceived TSM as an enjoyable support for high-quality dialogue. This research provides some indications that the tool might lead to sustainable educational innovations. Originality/value: Next to developing an action plan based on the results of the school, the tool also appeared to help breaking up the process in smaller, clearer and more feasible improvement-directed actions. The results of this study further show that the authors could distinguish between three types of instrumental use. The improvement-directed actions in this research often were a combination of this three types: initial solutions, short-term and longer-term measures. This research provides some indications that the tool might lead to sustainable educational innovations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-255
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of professional capital and community
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2023


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