Education Innovation
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Innovation Partners is an education consultancy that

enables organizations to create new outcomes through collaboration and the incubation of new ideas


"When you’re doing innovation, the first question is not Is this going to work? but rather, If it works, would it matter?" 

-E. Toone, DARPA


Innovation comes together differently for each organization. We offer services to support your vision at multiple points in the innovation cycle.

Catalyze Innovation / Find your spark

  • Opportunity Analysis
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Strategic Planning
  • Program Design

Enable Innovation / Create optimal conditions for experimental work

  • Funding Strategy
  • Grant Competitions
  • Thought Leadership Campaigns
  • Communities of Practice

Scale Innovation / Establish clear pathways for system change

  • Policy Development
  • Ecosystem Coordination

Our Mission

Pursue Bold Ideas 

 Bold action is key to enabling radical progress on behalf of children

Solve Problems

Focus on solving challenges and reaching critical outcomes for students


Employ rapid prototyping to get evidence of what works, where and how 


Decrease the risks and costs of testing new ideas

Innovate on the System

Change how the system is being governed, funded and/or incentivized


Lisa Duty CEO & Principal Consultant

Lisa Duty, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Duty is the founder of Innovation Partners America, an education consultancy that enables states and organizations to create new outcomes through collaboration and the incubation of new ideas. Duty is an expert in personalized and blended learning and has counseled dozens of state education agencies, gubernatorial offices, entrepreneurs, foundations, professional service providers and school districts regarding education innovation.

Duty brings twenty years of experience in education strategy, policy, advocacy and design to her work—including that as a Founding Partner at The Learning Accelerator where she supported state leaders in reimagining their roles, missions, and the ways education systems can be rebuilt for innovation and high performance. 

In recent years Duty has served as a consultant to MasteryTrack, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing mastery-based learning at scale through education technology, and as an advisor contributing to the founding of Imagine Worldwide, a nonprofit dedicated to enabling children in developing countries to teach themselves early literacy through open source and scalable software. In 2019, Duty consulted with the Center for Innovation in Brazilian Education, Omidyar Network and Lemann Foundation partnership, conducting research and making recommendations to enhance capacity at the state level to plan for and implement education technology in Brazil’s schools. Her work served CONSED, a private non-profit association that brings together the Education Departments of the States and the Federal District in Brazil. 


Duty previously served as Senior Director of Innovation at KnowledgeWorks, Consultant for School Transformation at the Ohio Department of Education, and as an adjunct faculty member at The Ohio State University’s (OSU) College of Education and Human Ecology. Duty holds a Ph.D. in Global Education from OSU with cognates in Democratization and Secondary School Transformation. 



Nicola Whitehead, Alliance Manager, Lemann Foundation & Omidyar Network

Our team in Brazil worked with Lisa after we commissioned a report to analyse best practice around implementation of education technology in the US, to feed into a project to boost human capacity in Brazil’s Education Departments. Lisa was the only consultant who had the profile we were looking for: someone with extensive experience in rolling out edtech programmes in the public sector, combined with the writing skills and eye for detail of a researcher. We were delighted with the outcome. As well as producing and presenting a competently-drafted and well-pithed report, which highlighted the sheer depth and breadth of her knowledge, Lisa was also extremely reliable, committed and easy to work with. She would be an asset to any team grappling with issues around edtech use and advancement, particularly in the US context.

Joe Wolf, Co-Founder & President, Imagine Worldwide

I hired Lisa to help me explore the international implications for the work The Learning Accelerator (TLA) has been doing domestically over the last five years. She was a tremendous partner who excelled in the delivery of research, strategy, and outreach.  Lisa was instrumental in helping get my new global organization off the ground and properly positioned.


Lisa leads with a revolutionary mindset.  She helps people think differently about technology, the future, and their ability to do something really powerful in service to children. She gives all she has to the mission. I highly recommend her to other executives and entrepreneurs needing strategic advice or founding counsel.

Deborah Gist, Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools; Former Commissioner of Education, Rhode Island

I first engaged with Lisa during my tenure as Commissioner of Education of Rhode Island. Lisa brokered and led an Innovation Partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Education and The Learning Accelerator, and was a critical partner in our mission to advance personalized and blended learning throughout the state. Lisa employs deep domain expertise about states and agencies—how they work, the overall innovation ecosystem at the state level, and the critical connection between policy and implementation. Most importantly, she has what it takes to make things happen at the state level.

Andrea Castañeda, Chief Innovation Officer, Tulsa Public Schools; Former Chief of Fiscal Integrity & Statewide Efficiencies, Rhode Island Department of Education

Lisa has the rare ability to amplify the best thinking and enthusiasm of others, while at the same time connecting them to the resources and networks that will help ensure success. Far from pushing her own skills or ideas, Lisa commits herself to helping colleauges and clients convert ideas into profoundly relevant, appropriately local, firmly researched, and enthusiastically innovative initiatives with the best chances for success. Lisa's energy, commitment to the success of those around her, and expansive experience and network are an asset to any organization and project.

Bobby Keener, Chief Technology Innovations Officer, Virginia Department of Education

Lisa is deeply committed to improving student learning and was a great asset to the Virginia Department of Education. She actively supported the planning and launch of our Technology and Innovations Strategic Plan Task Force, first using an impressive collection of both hard and soft skills to understand what we were trying to accomplish and then leveraging her expert knowledge and experience of learning models and strategic planning to help us bring that vision to life. Lisa is an innovative and collaborative leader who proactively and skillfully challenges old assumptions about systems change and what's possible and her help has been invaluable to our organization as we look to maximize learning opportunities via technology and innovative approaches and practices.

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Tricia Moore, Former Director of Partnerships at Reynoldsburg City Schools

As the director of partnerships for a K-12 public school district with a strong culture of innovation and collaboration, my job often is to get the right people in the right place at the right time to catalyze action. That often means having a precise mix of thinkers and doers, people who can set an ambitious vision along with the folks who problem-solve, connect and execute. Lisa Duty has been a go-to colleague for five years because she is one of those incredibly rare people who both dreams and makes.  With Lisa at the table, I always get more than I expected.


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Doug Casey, Executive Director, Connecticut Commission For Educational Technology

The process of working with Lisa Duty of Innovation Partners America has been exceptional. Within the first five minutes of speaking with Lisa, you sense her rare ability to listen and synthesize ideas on a deep level. With little background on our state’s challenges, she delved into Connecticut’s educational culture, quickly helping us identify both barriers to and opportunities for positive change. She deftly synthesizes differing stakeholder perspectives into a cohesive whole, casting a vision for what can be, informed by her wealth of national education reform experience. 


Our team was thrilled with the product that resulted from our work with Innovation Partners. While Charting New Frontiers in Student-Centered Learning takes a direct, confident stance in calling for a new education system centered on the graduate of the future, it also accounts for the reality of where we are now. The result of nearly a year of work with Lisa is a research-based set of practical calls to action that leverage all that is great about Connecticut’s leaders, educators, and students, with unprecedented opportunity to prepare all children for a new future.

Shafiq Khan, President & Co-Founder, Teach-the-World Foundation

I have worked with Lisa since founding Teach the World Foundation a year ago. She has been a great asset to us and helped us develop the necessary intellectual capital to get our venture off on the right foot. Beyond her professional competence, on a personal level, Lisa is wonderful to work with. Despite her daunting credentials, she is unpretentious, very friendly and very accommodating. In view of our experience with Lisa, I have no hesitation in recommending her.

Scott Ellis, CEO, MasteryTrack; Founding CEO, The Learning Accelerator

I hired Lisa to develop and lead The Learning Accelerator's state strategy, partnership, and investment practice. Not only did she prove to be expert at catalyzing and facilitating change with states, she predicted and designed what would be needed in the future all across the nation--customized pathways for states to realize the connection between policy and support for implementation to advance blended learning and innovation. Ask yourself if you could do 2-3 big things to advance innovation and improve student success, what would they be and why? Then hire Lisa to help you do them.

Dr. Gisèle Huff, Founder, The Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity; Former Executive Director, The Jaquelin Hume Foundation; Chairwoman, The Learning Accelerator; Member of the Board, iNACOL

I have known Lisa Duty for more than five years, most recently as a Partner in The Learning Accelerator of which I am a founding board member. Her contribution to that organization, with which I am very familiar, has been outstanding. Lisa is dedicated to the mission of transforming learning for America's children and translates her passionate commitment into very effective actions. Her analytic, strategic and operational skills are exceptional. Lisa is imminently qualified and I recommend her unequivocally. 

Andrew Benson, Founding Executive Director, Smarter Schools

Lisa and I were at the forefront five years ago of making significant leaps forward for blended and personalized learning in Ohio. While at KnowledgeWorks Foundation, we were able to make those gains in Ohio because Lisa innately understood that it was not about policy or practice; instead, it was about policy and practice and relationship building and research and how they all connect to help to move innovations forward. That unique insight and skill set in one person is rare, and Ohio was fortunate that Lisa applied those skills to create and secure blended learning legislation, to develop examples of blended learning classrooms, and to put Ohio in the limelight among experts nationally. Schools were improved with innovations, and thousands of students benefitted. Lisa left a lasting legacy in Ohio, and she has since replicated that success in other states across the country.

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While at the Colorado Department of Education we worked with Lisa on an important body of work. The project was to invest in the communications capacity of two pilot districts so they learned how to engage with their community in genuine partnership. Not only was the strategic support effective at helping these districts, but a Community Collaboration for School Innovation Toolkit was created which is being used by a number of districts in Colorado to engage their communities in a range of innovation topics. Throughout that work, and in our partnership, Lisa was a thoughtful partner with insights about systemic implications of smaller decisions made along the way.  


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