Create conditions for successful learning and an innovation-led culture

Can innovation become the norm?

Rapid technology development pervades almost every industry. Research studies have indicated that a significant portion of today’s work will become automated and the nature of businesses will be transacted in the digital space.

Innovation becomes an expected norm for organisations to thrive. What does this mean for organisation leaders and their employees? What will be a competitive differentiator for business when raw technology is cheap and accessible? How can employees become future-ready and develop a bias to innovate?

There is no instant playbook or secret sauce that provides a complete answer to those questions. Nonetheless, the unifying factor will still be human capital’s ability to grow and innovate.

The key differentiator will be the quality of the workforce—having employees who are able to think, relate and learn continuously to contribute towards business goals and innovate. Building a culture of learning and innovation is vital for a successful future-ready workforce and business growth. Organisation leaders can apply the following five tips in creating conditions of a sustainable learning and innovation-led culture.

Tip #1: Invest time and resources that drive performance

Leaders need to work with their employees to develop and communicate learning goals that are aligned to business outcomes. They need to spend time with employees to regularly communicate and receive feedback about the progress of learning, how it increases their work performances and areas of improvements during the learning journey.

Tip #2: Incorporate flexibility in learning and supporting resources

Provide learning platforms that foster immersive practice-oriented experiences which are easily accessible. The desired objective is to leverage blended learning approaches (e.g. flipped classroom, micro-learning and face-to-face targeted coaching) to optimise learning transfer as well as to inject purposeful, progressive experiences.

Introduce ‘purpose-driven hackathons’ for employees to learn how to quickly take an idea that they have and build a foundational level product to demonstrate the feasibility of their idea.

Tip #3: Remove silos and develop team structures that promote collaborative experiences

Remodeling by leaders takes centre stage. Leaders need to demonstrate an ability to work on cross-functional challenges and possess skills in navigating ambiguity during high stakes operations. It is crucial for leaders to consistently provide support and directions on the development of formal and informal teams to meet various organisational goals.

Tip #4: Build innovation incubation platforms

Introduce ‘purpose-driven hackathons’ for employees to learn how to quickly take an idea that they have and build a foundational level product to demonstrate the feasibility of their idea. Another approach is to create learning circles that bring a confluence of ideas and practices that have flourished and reinvent new ways of work.

Tip #5: Enhance motivation mechanisms

Leaders should actively ‘catch’ employees who are progressing and praise them. Providing recognition in that precise moment produces a positive impact on employees’ motivation. Leverage technology tools to integrate gamification of work where the social aspect of the game naturally motivates others to work harder in regulated and friendly competition. Gamification empowers employees to contribute both individually and as a team to achieve organisational goals in a more fun and engaging manner.

Beyond the Next Lap

Technology can shape new ways of work. Organisations will still require employees to design, operate, maintain and innovate. Creating those conditions will gain a significant amount of the groundwork required to build a successful learning and innovation-led culture. The next part of the journey will require all the stakeholders in the organisation to work together. In doing so, employees will become more empowered to learn, perform, drive change and be innovative for their organisation.

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Headline image silhoutte of man by pixabay.com

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