How to develop an innovation mindset

Welcome to the latest edition of Learning Included!

Thanks (and welcome) to all of you that have joined us over the last couple of weeks. It’s great to have you here.

It’s perhaps no surprise that innovation has been a prominent topic over recent months. We wanted to share some of the conversations and thought-pieces that have captured our attention.

We hope you enjoy!

During this time of uncertainty and change many organisations are struggling to foster innovation across newly-remote teams.

It’s a complex challenge, mainly because the concept of innovation is often interpreted differently – Is it a mindset? Is it a core business function? Is it both?

In this edition of Learning Included we explore ways in which innovation can be developed and celebrated.

Let’s get started …

What do we mean by “innovation” (and can it be taught)?

We’ve been approached by quite a few organisations wanting help with promoting innovation within their teams; innovation training, developing innovation programs and L&D teams looking to innovate in terms of how they provide learning.

We decided to fire up the mics and talk about what an innovative organisation looks like, and whether people can be trained to be innovative. Here are a few of our key take aways from that conversation:

  1. Innovation is often confused with creativity – and a good way to think of innovation is ‘creativity manifested’.
  2. Separate innovation teams or ‘skunkworks’ are falling out of favour. Too often, innovations they create don’t make it into the wider organisation or, if they do, they’re killed off by the ‘organisational antibodies’.
  3. Innovation needs a culture and climate where people feel they can try things and make mistakes without career risk. And ‘climate’ means what happens within a team. An org can have a culture that values innovation, but the climate within a team can run counter to that and kill creativity.
  4. For most orgs, ‘secondary’ rather than ‘primary’ innovation is likely to be more useful – refine and improve all the small things, rather than looking for a silver bullet that transforms everything in one go. It’s easier to improve 1,000 things by 1% than to improve one thing by 1000%.
  5. Innovation isn’t innate. We can train people to be better at it – for example, by using tools, frameworks and problem-solving approaches such as divergent and convergent thinking.

Listen to the full podcast episode here

Innovation strategies for remote teams

Last week, we ran a couple of webinars in which we shared tools and approaches that have worked for us as a remote organisation. A great question that was put to the group was, when it comes to innovation, are you more of a Picasso or a Cezanne? 🤔

You can view the full session, hosted by LearnJam co-founder Nick Robinson, here.

3 best practices for fostering a long-term ‘Innovation Mindset’ in a remote-first future

In this Forbes article Rajiv Mirani, CTO of Nutanix, shares some practices that have helped his company foster innovation mindsets across their remote teams. These include:

  1. Using Zoom breakout rooms to replicate those impromptu, spontaneous moments when colleagues meet, interact and discover ways in which they could collaborate together on an interesting project.
  2. Documenting “innovation tactics” as a way of sharing them with the wider organisation and thereby improving the chances of them being replicated and scaled.
  3. Getting the most out of remote video calls by making meeting prep mandatory – including circulating key documentation and talking points well ahead of the call, so that time together can be put towards asking questions and making decisions.

Read the article here

Innovating pedagogy 2021

It’s interesting to see how approaches to learning and education are responding to the need to innovate.

This report issued by the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University outlines ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a widespread influence on education. Some of these, including the idea of ‘best learning moments’ (learning that happens in a flow state whereby ability and challenge are appropriately balanced), Corpus-based learning and the application of chatbots are already well recognised.

More interesting to us is the mention of gratitude as a pedagogy – whereby learners and teachers are encouraged to to reflect on their attitude when approaching a learning experience. Further enquiry into negative / reluctant attitudes can lead to these being reframed in terms of gratitude. The report suggests that learners are more engaged and motivated as a result of shifting their mindset from discomfort to gratitude.

It’s also heartening to see the report call out equity-based pedagogy, which involves finding fairer ways to improve learning for all by considering barriers to learning at personal, cultural and societal levels. This speaks directly to the work we’ve been doing on Inclusive Learning Experience Design (ILXD) as part of an Innovate UK-funded project.

Read the full report here

​What we’re up to

👉️ On April 23rd we’ll be talking about the environmental dimension of Inclusive Learning Experience Design (ILXD) and how it relates to the concept of learning spaces at the LXDCon conference.

👉️ We are planning on running our own 4-week Innovation Toolkit Training programme to equip teams with the concepts, strategies and tools to innovate in a time of uncertainty and change. Find out more here.

And finally …

April started with a dramatic change in personnel.😉

I’m sure our Head of Canine Experience Design (CXD) is cooking up big things.

See you in a couple of weeks for the next instalment of Learning Included!

All the best,

The LearnJam Team