Designing a School System From the Ground Up

How Innova and IDEO created a scalable network of K-11 schools in Peru

Despite an emerging middle class and rapidly expanding economy, the education system in Peru ranks 65th out of 65 countries. Innova Schools knew they could do better. They envisioned a world-class education at an affordable price for Peru’s underserved youth, but they couldn’t do it alone.

Excited by the challenge of building a school from the ground up, IDEO designed Innova’s entire K–11 learning experience and strategy. After months of fieldwork, prototyping, and deep collaboration with the Innova team, IDEO developed the curriculum, teaching strategies, buildings, operational plans, and underlying financial model to run the network of schools. Our mantra was: affordability, scalability, excellence. 

I was blown away when I visited Innova. It was beautiful, open and modern. It was inspiring to see an affordable school deliver an education that would rival schools in the richest countries.

—Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy

This comprehensive approach to system design ranks as one of Latin America’s most ambitious privately funded educational projects. In February 2015, Innova Schools will be the largest private network of schools in Peru with 29 schools, almost 20,000 students and 1,200 teachers and growing. The schools offer students a quality education for about $130 a month. Peru’s Ministry of Education administers a national test of second graders for math and communications in all private and public schools, and Innova’s 2013 performance was three times the national average in math and two times the national average in communication.

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Project date: 2012