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Why Learning & Innovation Matter

October 30, 2017

Learning to be innovative is within most people’s capacity. Innovation expert, Linda Hill, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, said the following during an interview with Scientific American in early 2015:

“I became a professor of business because without economic development, none of us can have the livelihoods or lives to which we aspire.  I became interested in innovation because we have so many complex problems and opportunities out there in the world, both in business and society at large, that need innovative solutions.”

“We need a lot of new thinking and new ways of doing things to address them.  That is why I am interested in business and, particularly, in what leaders of businesses do that makes the difference.  If we can build organisations that are willing and able to innovate time and again, then I believe that we can create better societies.”

How is this achieved?  By businesses and organisations having a growth mindset and providing their staff with ongoing learning and development opportunities.  A training and professional development program that is contemporary, evidence-based and realistic.

All too often learning and development programs make extraordinary claims about achieving almost any goal imaginable.  The reality is that change, self-improvement and personal development are worthy goals but achieving these things is really quite difficult.  Change is difficult.

However, skills can be taught and incremental change can happen if the correct approach is adopted.  This is not as glamourous as an Anthony Robbins seminar or part of the Self-Help Actualisation Movement (SHAM) but it is grounded in science and does not have give you a misleading short burst of euphoria that you can conquer the world.

As leaders, managers and workers, we can all do better but it must be realistic, achievable and sustainable.  A good learning and development program must in the first instance be honest, authentic and ethical and not one that promises the impossible.