Explore our programs — offering exceptional academic preparation, opportunities for growth, and the tools to make an impact.
Find everything you need to apply for and finance your graduate education.
Stories, strategies, and actionable knowledge — putting HGSE's powerful ideas into practice.
With deep expertise that connects research, practice, and policy, HGSE faculty are leaders in the field.
Get to know our community — and all the ways to learn, collaborate, connect, develop your career, and build your network.
Faculty-led programs to deepen your impact and build your effectiveness as an educator and leader.
Access the premiere education subject library for Harvard University.
Access the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of the Registrar, Career Services, and other key resources.
Explore opportunities to grow, build connections, and create change.
David Perkins is a founding member of Harvard Project Zero, a basic research project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education investigating human symbolic capacities and their development. For many years, he served as co-director, and is now senior co-director and a member of the steering committee. Perkins conducts research on creativity in the arts and sciences, informal reasoning, problem solving, understanding, individual and organizational learning, and the teaching of thinking skills. He has participated in curriculum projects addressing thinking, understanding, and learning in Colombia, Israel, Venezuela, South Africa, Sweden, Holland, Australia, and the United States. He is actively involved in school change. Perkins was one of the principal developers of WIDE World, a distance learning model practitioners now embedded in programs at HGSE. He is the author of numerous publications, including fourteen authored or co-authored books. His books include; The Eureka Effect, about creativity; King Arthurs Round Table, about organizational intelligence and learning; Making Learning Whole, a general framework for deepening education at all levels; and Future Wise, about what's worth teaching for the contemporary era.
Idea into action refers to the quest to translate ideas (principles, plans, good intentions, etc.) into action on the ground. It applies to individual behaviors, such as achieving regular exercise or productive leadership styles; to group and organizational behaviors, such as fostering team coordination or a culture of creativity; and to general population phenomena, such as getting people to vote or obey traffic laws. The challenge of idea into action takes on its most familiar and widespread form in what we might call the "middle ground," where the problems of action are neither technically (e.g. perfecting a golf swing, learning a musical instrument, or developing sophisticated skills of mathematical modeling) nor clinically (e.g. addictions, phobias, compulsions) difficult. The middle ground of idea into action ranges across innumerable everyday situations where we generally feel that the idea should translate into action readily enough with a bit of guidance, attention, and resolve, but it often doesn't.
The proposed program of investigation addresses the middle ground of idea into action, centering on two key questions: (1) Why does idea into action so commonly prove so hard to accomplish? (2) Are there significantly more reliable ways to achieve idea into action, including attention to the trade-offs in time and other costs involved and how they might be addressed in practical settings?
Idea into action is of prime concern to Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), a membership-based organization comprising 220 independent schools in Victoria, Australia, dedicated to developing and supporting good leadership and teaching practices. It is also a concern to Project Zero (PZ) in its collaborative work with organizations that seek to change practices in schools and other settings. The project will focus on contexts of interest to both ISV and PZ: settings of organizational development, organizational and school leadership, and student learning for action.