Key Learning's from The Innovative Organisation Masterclass - Workshop by "Future of Work Consortium", London



I have had the opportunity to attend the THE INNOVATIVE ORGANISATION MASTERCLASS, which took place at The City Suite, etc.venues, 8 Fenchurch Place in London on 4th October 2016.

There were amazing array of speakers including Dr. Srini Pillay, CEO NeuroBusiness Group and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, Professor Kamalini Ramdas, Professor of Management Science and Operations, London Business School and key note speaker Professor Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and Founder of Future of Work Consortium and Hot Spots Movement. The Masterclass focussed on helping members get acquainted with cutting-edge academic thinking on innovation, Discover best-in-class thinking about future-proofed approaches to harnessing innovation and also touched upon on the challenges of driving innovation within organisations.

I have encapsulated below few of the key learning's out of this masterclass : -
  • Innovation is something many organisations have struggled to maintain outside of their R&D labs. Innovation is not a department anymore. It is a mentality that should pervade your entire organisation. 
  • Overcome Innovation Inbreeding - Innovation inbreeding is when innovation efforts are constantly led by the same group of people within the company. One common theme across the innovation literature is that breakthrough ideas almost always come when diverse disciplines and people come together. Leaders seeking to drive innovation ought to ask themselves the degree to which their ideas are suffering because of innovation inbreeding.
  • Conquering Digital Distraction - Digital distraction may be the defining problem of today’s workplace. All day and night, we are barraged with so much information that even when we want to focus, it is nearly impossible. Control the digital overload rather than letting it control you. 
  • Valuing Solitude -  build periods of solitude in the daily lives of employees. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. Studies indicate that we spend anywhere from 35%–55% of our time, and sometimes much more, in meetings. But there is a problem with this as people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. 
  • Productivity versus Creativity - Organisations must balance productivity with creativity. Provide people opportunity to learn diverse things that are not obviously relevant to their jobs, so that they will have a broad knowledge base to draw from when they need to be creative. 
  • Idea Recognition is critical - In most organisations, innovation is not impeded by a lack of ideas, but rather a lack of noticing the good ideas that are already there. Consider some well-known examples from history. Kodak’s research laboratory invented the first digital camera in 1975 but did not pursue it and allowed Sony to become pioneers in digital photography. Similarly, Xerox developed the first personal computer, but did not invest in technology and allowed Apple to take the opportunity away. According to a study published by a team of researchers at Wharton, these examples reflect a bias we all share - a bias against new and creative ideas.
  • Hiring Originals - Overcoming innovation inbreeding starts with hiring, by purposely hiring someone who would make peers feel uncomfortable; someone whose skills the company does not need and someone without previous experience in solving the type of problem at hand. These practices may sound irrational but research suggests that they are all sound approaches for overcoming innovation inbreeding. Put simply, these diverse experiences give the company a broad spectrum of ideas to try in new ways and places. However, it is interesting to note that an optimum innovation team also contains some conformists as they can dramatically increase the output of innovations - not just ideas.

Lynda during her keynote summarised and called upon oganizations to take following steps to foster culture of innovation across the board.

Generate lots of ideas | Hire Originals | Encourage employees to become polymaths | Facilitate a ‘network of teams’ | Assign people to tasks they love | Make time for the work that matters | Harness communities of creativity | Foster a positive work culture | Build periods of recovery |Encourage curiosity in Leaders.

Learning & Development - Measuring Learning Effectiveness - Part IV


“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t 
control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” ― H. James Harringto

In this series on Learning and development, we have touched upon so far on key learning principles, learning Types and developed an understanding of learning style in previous posts. Now let us touch upon upon Learning Effectiveness and challenges around measurement. There are 2 key concepts prevalent while talking about learning effectiveness. ROI and RoE.

As per Return on Investments (ROI), cost benefit analysis is carried out by companies to link benefits of the learning initiatives both at the organization & employee level to the learning spend, the benefits are measured in monetary terms, however, Return on Effectiveness (RoE) measures business metrics relating to effectiveness of the training instead of returns on investment. ROE demonstrates the degree to which training initiatives satisfy the expectations of key business stakeholders. 

Business partnership is necessary to bring about positive ROE. it is essential to negotiate and clarify with stakeholders what the expectations are regarding training outcomes. Clear and precise success indicators (eg percent changes in performance metrics) should be developed in line with these expectations. The training evaluation should then assess and report on both the actual changes that have come about as a result of the training and the extent to which these changes have met stakeholders’ expectations, ie whether there has been a ‘Return on Expectations’. 

What is important to note is that in ROE, we are not attempting to isolate the impact of training to business value. To isolate the impact of training is methodologically impossible and strategically counterproductive. If we're trying to build partnerships with managers of trainees, we can't use an evaluation plan that isolates the impact of training alone and ignores the critical management support after the training event. In this aspect ROE (Return on Expectations) is different from ROI (Return on Investment) 

There are multiple models including CIPP Model by Daniel L. Stufflebeam, Success Case Method Evaluation Model by Robert O. Brinkerhoff, High Impact Evaluation Model, by Canadian Society for Training and Development, Stakeholder Approach to evaluating Training by Fred W. Nickol, Kirkpatrick’s Model of Evaluation by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick and many more available to measure the learning effectiveness. Every model will have its own advantage and disadvantages. 

Having gone through various model, I personally tend to subscribe to Kirkpatrick’s Model of Evaluation.It is divided into four parts: reaction; learning; behaviour and results. The below picture is self explanatory


It wont be feasible to measure all the programs on level 3 and 4, hence it is imperative that we identify the high impact programs keeping in view the program alignment to the larger business objective, potential strategic and financial impact and availability of executive sponsorship and support which would be key to deliver the impact. 

With this, I will conclude this series on Learning and development with the hope that this provides you few pointers to develop your learning and development strategy and execution plan.

Learning & Development - Learning Styles - Part III



Having got the overview of key learning principles and learning Types in my previous posts, It is of great benefit if we as learning Facilitators understand employees learning style early 
on so that learning may become easier and less stressful.

Most people learn best through a combination learning styles, but everybody is different. Although most people use a combination of the three learning styles, they usually have a clear preference for one. Let us look at 3 main types of learning styles

Auditory Learners: Hear

Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained than read about them. Reciting information out loud and having music in the background may be a common study method. An employee with an auditory learning style learns best when information is delivered in auditory formats such as lectures, discussions, oral readings, audio recordings, or podcasts. Auditory learners do well in classroom settings where professor lectures and student discussions are the norm. These students also do well with taped courses and group study situations. 

Visual Learners: See

Visual learners learn best by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading. For them, it's easy to look at charts and graphs, but they may have difficulty focusing while listening to an explanation. An employee with a visual learning style learns best when information is presented in visual formats such as books, articles, web pages, images, videos, or diagrams. Visual learners do well with class handouts, power point presentations, movies, and chalkboards. These students take detailed notes, highlight their texts, and use flow charts for study aids. 

Kinesthetic or Tectile Learners: Touch

Kinesthetic learners process information best through a "hands-on" experience. Actually doing an activity can be the easiest way for them to learn. Sitting still while studying may be difficult, but writing things down makes it easier to understand. An employee with a tactile learning style learns best when information is conveyed in "hands-on" settings such as trade positions, labs, workshops, or participatory classes. Tactile learners respond well to touching and creating things in areas such as art and science. These students want to hold and manipulate the subject matter, rather than merely viewing an image of it.

Participants will use multiple types of learning processes during your presentation. When you use different modes of presentation (e.g., lecture, case study analysis, role playing, and discussion) and encourage active participation, you will more effectively facilitate optimal learning.

In my next post, I will touch upon Learning Effectiveness and challenges around measurement. Watch out the space!

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