Saturday, 15 February 2014

Innovations in the workplace

Do you sense that your innovations (as supporters of learning) have been valued, encouraged, supported`? 
As a self-employed trainer/facilitator my innovations are about convincing customers (who may be the global training company that I free lance for, its own customers that I may have exploratory meetings with or independent organisations who are my customers) to adopt a suggested technology-driven learning route. The irony here is the more they chose the technology, the more likely I will be making myself redundant, since much of my learning interventions are f2f.

Having said that I have two stories of innovation:
1) In 1990 I demonstrated to my local Further Education College a web site called 'The Manchester Host', it was an early version of an ISP - only restricted in that it specifically served local Manchester based organisations and businesses. (The w.w.w. was not user friendly, widely known, nor very advanced then.) My College considered following Manchester's lead, recognising the opportunities for both businesses and for learners. Needless to say, once it hit a funding problem, the idea was shelved and the rest is history......
The innovation was valued, it was encouraged and supported until the £ signs appeared! The risk was considered too great for the investment required and given its novelty value few people could really believe that it had any real longevity, relevance or usefulness(sic).
2) Last year, I proposed a training programme for trainers that raises their awareness about available technology based activities to support learning in the training room. This has been accepted as a way forward by my 'training' customer and is now in the development stage. Although accepted, the organisation operates in such a way that value, encouragement and support are implicit in the 'go ahead' directive. The assumption is that I will deliver the programme on time, it will be tested then rolled out to the public via the training organisation's directory and sales people. My pay-off will be the kudos, the training contracts I receive and personal satisfaction at its positive impact on the learners.
What evidence do you have to support your view? 
Experience has taught me that this is how these organisations operate.
How widespread is innovation in your organisation? 
Not particularly widespread, there is a lack of surplus funding for development. There seems to be either knee jerk reactions to cost cutting innovations (which often don't work in the long term) or the view if it ain't broken why mend it? In many organisations the online learning that does exist tends to be traditional instructional learning packages aimed at solitary learners.
Are there policies or statements that relate to innovation? If yes, how are they implemented?
Not to my knowledge. Other than the mission statement which purports to be a globally leading training organisation of excellence. 
What implications, if any, does this have for your attitude towards innovation?
I welcome innovation that is not simply a gimick, knee jerk reaction or poorly managed. All innovation needs to be handled with care and people need to be led through change with effective leadership, empathy and consideration.

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