Harness the Power of Disruption with Innovation Centers

We live in an age where change is so rapid that ongoing innovation is a requirement of an effective learning and development organization. Leaders of high-impact learning organizations are able to ask the right questions, connect innovative ideas to processes, and put them in place to make those ideas happen.

innovation centersIs your organization ready to start an innovation center and meet your transformative challenges head on? Here are seven easy steps to help you get started:

1. Engage a cross-functional team.
The first step is to look inside your organization for those who are already innovating. However, don’t just focus on those considered to be innovators, look for those who share freely, take initiative and learn from others. These are the people to build your innovation center around.

2. Ensure resources and accountability for success.
Create space and set aside time for the team to focus on a repeatable process for identifying, documenting, and sharing innovations across the organization. If you are truly strapped for resources, collaborate with an external organization that can help jump-start your innovation infrastructure.

3. Document current innovation activities.
You do not have to start from scratch; I recommend learning about the current innovation activities already happening in the organization. Additionally, support the team by adding a publishing specialist who can help enable the sharing.

4. Create a rolling learning innovation plan.
Once you have the current innovation activities, you can expand on those by creating a rolling innovation plan. Survey your internal clients to see what they feel are important areas or technologies to explore. The key is to keep the plan current, publishing your progress as you go.

5. Implement a sustainable process.
To support your team, create a sustainable, repeatable process that allows the team to prioritize activities, conduct experiments and document the results.

6. Publish and share the findings across the organization.
Once you have a process for setting up and documenting the experiments, the next step is to commit to continuously publish and maintain a clearinghouse of innovation activities.

7. Drive operationalization of the innovation.
As your innovation concepts become more viable, the final step is to ensure that they can integrate successfully across the organization.

Learn more about how Innovation Centers can help organizations not only manage, but harness the disruption they are facing. Should you take the challenge and start an innovation center for your organization, we are here to support you in catalyzing your innovation efforts.

Matt Donovan, VP, Learning Solutions

Matt Donovan, VP, Learning Solutions

Early in life, I found that I had a natural curiosity that not only led to a passion for learning and sharing with others, but it also got me into trouble. Although not a bad kid, I often found overly structured classrooms a challenge. I could be a bit disruptive as I would explore the content and activities in a manner that made sense to me. I found that classes and teachers that nurtured a personalized approach really resonated with me, while those that did not were demotivating and affected my relationship with the content. Too often, the conversation would come to a head where the teacher would ask, “Why can’t you learn it this way?” I would push back with, “Why can’t you teach it in a variety of ways?” The only path for success was when I would deconstruct and reconstruct the lessons in a meaningful way for myself.

I would say that this early experience has shaped my career. I have been blessed with a range of opportunities to work with innovative organizations that advocate for the learner, endeavor to deliver relevance, and look to bend technology to further these goals. For example, while working at Unext.com, I had the opportunity to experience over 3,000 hours of “learnability” testing on my blended learning designs. I could see for my own eyes how learners would react to my designs and how they made meaning of it. Learners asked two common questions: Is it relevant to me? Is it authentic? Through observations of and conversations with learners, I began to sharpen my skills and designed for inclusion and relevance rather than control. This lesson has served me well.

In our industry, we have become overly focused on the volume and arrangement of content, instead of its value. Not surprising—content is static and easier to define. Value (relevance), on the other hand, is fluid and much harder to describe. The real insight is that you can’t really design relevance; you can only design the environment or systems that promote it. Relevance ultimately is in the eye of the learner—not the designer.

So, this is why, when asked for an elevator pitch, I share my passion of being an advocate for the learner and a warrior for relevance.
Matt Donovan, VP, Learning Solutions

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