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Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick

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Coaching innovation

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If you think that innovation is just another word for inventing stuff then I’m afraid that your business is in danger of rapidly falling behind the times. Yes some innovations do require inventions as part of their genesis but a true culture of innovation embraces the attitudes and interactions not only of the people within your organisation but of third parties as well.

It’s a difficult concept to grasp for those who have been brought up within the Industrial Revolution style of business management. In that style, the focus is very much on people as part of the machine; siloed and isolated, carrying out their own specific task with little reference to those around them. A culture of innovation sweeps that old methodology aside, replacing it with interaction and collaboration as people work together to create genuine solutions.

With this change of attitude comes a new way of learning. When I only needed to know my one specific task, I could be trained in virtually robotic fashion. Now I need a more holistic view of the business, I need to understand where my work fits in relation to others and I need to be helped to act on my own initiative, to be empowered and to collaborate with others. All of this requires a completely new style of learning.

In effect, we are moving away from learning by rote and towards a more open and free coaching style in which individuals take responsibility for their own learning and in which that learning is delivered in a more blended form as and when required. Tell me what to do and I may slavishly obey without thought; coach me in the needs and aspirations of the business and its customers and I can proactively create solutions for the benefit of all.

In fact, innovation is the next business revolution. People are moving from being cogs in the machine to being entrepreneurs within their own organisation, to being intrapreneurs. Businesses are moving away from linear and incremental growth towards agility and the creation of real solutions which will meet the needs of their customers and of their investors. The more agile the business, the more that employees will need to enhance their skills ‘on the fly.’ Yes, there will still be a need for formal training but there will also be a need for self-managed learning, drawing on apps and the Internet and for collaborative learning not only with colleagues but with external third parties such as suppliers or even rivals.

The world of work is changing and the way in which we learn and develop has to change to match. Initially, it may take extra time and cost as we free up resources to enable employees to learn in a new way but results far outweigh the costs as people change from being unthinking automata to be invaluable and proactive members of innovation-leading teams.

If you’d like to learn more about shaping the future through building an innovation culture feel free to email Cris at [email protected] or visit www.thefutureshapers.com for more information on how Cris and his team help some of the worlds smartest companies succeed through innovation.

Author Profile Picture
Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick
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