Educational designers regularly engage in a process of creative risk taking. Inevitably, some designs result in degrees of failure, which need to be productively managed. Surprisingly, creative risk taking and productive failures are rarely discussed or studied in the field of educational design or educational technology. This chapter reports on six narrative-based case studies of creative risk taking and productive failure drawing from 12 educational designers working centrally and across nine faculties in a large metropolitan Australian university. In each case we highlight the valuable role of productive failure. However, we also reveal the inherent aversion to sharing failures, due to institutional, identity and interpersonal factors. The ill-defined roles of educational designers and the ways in which they have to work across and between boundaries are key issues which we propose need to be directly addressed to support future innovation in higher education.
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