Different implicit approaches to promoting innovation in education can be explored through the decision making of curriculum – reflecting what is taught to students and how the students are taught. Are innovations in curriculum expected to derive from centrally driven processes? Or has much room been left for those innovations within schools? What kind of role may be played by different stakeholders such as experts, teachers or parents in curriculum innovation? This paper discusses various innovation rationales for the central and school-based approaches to curriculum decision making and provides an overview of OECD education systems in this continuum. In addition to formal decision making, various structural factors that may have an effect on those decisions are analysed and the ways the different stakeholders can influence curriculum innovations discussed. The paper combines various OECD and UNESCO data with a focus on public lower-secondary education.