Discover how a focus on learning drives organizational innovation and creativity.
- Many corporate initiatives that provide a competitive advantage such as entering a new market, proposing a novel solution or streamlining manufacturing processes are messy, nonlinear and ill-defined. If the solutions were obvious, someone would have already figured them out. For a company to gain and sustain a competitive advantage what is needed is a high degree of creativity. Often creativity is considered to be something a person is born with, it's considered a gift. And those who are not creative, well they're out of luck. But it turns out, that's not true at all. There's a growing body of research indicating that a strong component of creativity depends on the social and cultural context which surrounds a person. For example, Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur, and Albert Einstein can attribute their scientific breakthroughs to strong collaborations and a network of social support. Without those two things, which are often left out of textbooks there would be no scientific breakthrough. Culture and environment can and do feed creativity The value of this insight is that organizations can foster creativity by encouraging an open learning focused culture that values collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Yes, there is value to hiring and promoting creative individuals. But it would be almost impossible and impractical to rely solely on hiring practices to obtain the desired level of corporate creativity. Instead as the research indicates, creativity can be greatly enhanced by generating a culture that supports the creative process. So how does that happen? Learning new things provides exercise for your brain. I know it sounds weird, but think of your brain as a muscle. The more you exercise a muscle, the stronger it gets. When organizations provide time for employees to take a break from the daily grind of work tasks and demands, it provides opportunities for new growth and to practice learning and absorbing new concepts and ideas. Employees that are well versed in corporate processes, policies, and knowledge through training and learning within the organization have time to think beyond the mundane and the familiar. If you have to stop and think every time you have to issue a customer credit because you haven't learned the process you aren't going to be able to spend any brain power on improving the process. To build a culture of creativity and to use it to obtain a competitive advantage, you need to focus on learning.
- Building competitive advantage through L&D
- Meeting customer needs
- Adopting new technologies
- Rating your organization's L&D maturity level
- Aligning learning goals and business goals
- Monitoring L&D performance with analytics