5 Tips on how to innovate Learning and Development within your workplace
Innovation is a core competency that every organization needs to develop. In a fast-paced changing environment teams across all industries are feeling increasing pressure to do more to keep up with the rate of change. We know the world is changing rapidly and everyone needs to be an innovator, but many L&D teams are constrained by their own culture. They feel stifled by corporate rules and structures, which prevent them from innovating. Not only do we need to innovate our process and output. But we also need to equip our people with the skills and mindsets to embrace innovation in everything they do. To innovate and try new things, you need a level of psychological safety where people feel they can take risks without being punished if something goes wrong.
Being innovative is not just coming up with new ideas; it’s about making your ideas happen in a way that adds value for your customers, your employees, or your organization as a whole.
The benefits of innovation within the work culture:
Innovation ensures everyone in the business is working towards the same goals. Shifting your business to be more proactive, collaborative, and innovative can improve many things. This would be improving business practices, efficiency, and performance. For example, employees will have increased competitiveness. Employees will also have improved staff retention. This is because staff likes to work in jobs that promote collaboration, teamwork, and problem-solving. These processes are driven by your business strategy, capability, market understanding, and commitment to the process.
Why should we innovate learning and development within the work culture?
The most successful businesses in the world have one thing in common – they’re constantly innovating and looking to improve on what they already have. And it’s no different for learning and development (L&D) teams. Since employers are increasingly turning to L&D to help them build a competitive advantage, it’s essential they continue to innovate and adapt if they want to remain competitive. By staying ahead of the curve and offering staff the training they need when they need it, you can encourage innovation as well as grow your business.
Most leaders will say they want more innovation in their organizations. And they want it faster. The problem is that most leaders don’t know how to create an environment where innovation can flourish.
Innovation requires high levels of engagement and healthy debate between people with diverse points of view and knowledge about the problem at hand. This collaboration across silos creates an environment where learning can take place and new ideas can emerge. It’s not enough to encourage this type of behavior from time to time — it must be part of the work culture.
Here are the 5 tips that will help you to innovate learning and development within the work culture:
- Encourage risk-taking and celebrate failure
- Build teams that operate with maximum autonomy
- Nurture creativity and experimentation while maintaining operational continuity
- Create a space in which creative employees can take risks and fail
- Adopt agile methods of project management
Encourage risk-taking and celebrate failure
Being afraid of failure is one of the biggest barriers to innovation. When you encourage risk-taking and celebrate failure, you create an environment where innovation thrives. Create opportunities for employees to take risks and make mistakes — like brainstorming sessions or hackathons — where there is no fear of judgment or repercussion for not succeeding.
Build teams that operate with maximum autonomy
These teams don’t rely on a single individual or leader for every decision. Instead, they have a pool of knowledge from which they can draw on to make decisions. These teams are also able to self-correct when necessary because they have the knowledge already in place to do so.
Nurture creativity and experimentation while maintaining operational continuity
Learning and development teams need to be creative and experimental in finding new ways of delivering content with the rapid change. Maintaining operational continuity is key, so there must also be a clear process for managing this experimentation.
Create a space in which creative employees can take risks and fail
The pressure that comes with producing quality work or meeting deadlines often stifles creativity. As such, managers should work with their teams to identify times when there’s extra space — when the organization can set aside a few hours, days, or weeks for the sole purpose of doing something new, unexpected, or innovative.
Adopt agile methods of project management
The agile method, is designed to provide continuous feedback throughout a project. The agile process also emphasizes adaptability. When problems arise or changes need to be made, an agile team can easily adapt and make adjustments because they are already working in small segments.
In conclusion the tips above are meant to help you innovate the way you train employees. The first step to successfully innovating your L&D strategies is to recognize the importance of doing so. Without the proper understanding of how a thriving, innovative L&D department can improve your company, change will be slow and may not begin at all.
Next, we encourage innovation in two ways: encouraging risk-taking and celebrating failure. These two elements go hand-in-hand and can be very powerful in alleviating fear of making mistakes. Which is often the biggest roadblock to innovation. Encouraging risk-taking requires letting go of what worked before and embracing change. In this regard, learning from failure should be encouraged with every decision made as learning without taking risks first will never lead to great results.