Passion for learning - Lesson 3: your reflections

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Look to innovate. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time.

Community reflective activity:
Often innovation is seen as the role of a few people in organisations. So, what tips do you have to encourage everyone to be involved in innovative practice?

  • I think that giving explicit 'permission' to innovate is really important. I've seen organisations that culturally lean towards root-cause-analysis of faults (laying blame, to the rest of us!) and that absolutely quashed all desire to think creatively or do things differently.

    I don't believe that creating 'permission' always means engineering organisation-wide cultural shifts; using things like regular stand-ups to elicit ideas, or having specific creative spaces can be enough to empower people to be genuinely creative. Yes, I think I'm suggesting setting boundaries to enable creativity - is that counter-intuitive to you, too?!
  • In reply to Jilly Julian:

    For future lessons I'll focus on a more positive way of saying that we need to create an enabling and empowering environment instead. Promise. :)
  • It may be that what gets rewarded gets done... So perhaps a leader board of number of contributions, or likes from those in the group or a collaborative 'vote' for ideas, suggestions and even fail-forward approaches may encourage all employees to participate. Consider: Innovation and creativity is 1 percent inspiration while managing and rewarding that creative idea may contribute to 99 percent of the outcome..
  • Maybe not call it 'Innovative Practice' - I think that can bring a response of 'oh, that sounds too hard, tooooo big, not my responsibility!'
    It is really about doing differently, trying things out, seeking improvement, playing with ideas and practices. Many of those will be small and that is fine. Many may not be successful and that is fine too. We can learn from them.
    Through doing this we can build skills in assessing risks. Doing pilots and small tests can be away of maximising the learning and minimising the risks.
    If we regularly do small new things, we get in the habit of innovating.
  • In reply to Jilly Julian:

    Totally agree - one of the key drivers in fostering an innovative culture is around challenging employees' thinking by empowering and stretching them to create value and new effective ways of working. I also believe that having a diverse and inclusive workforce unlocks innovation/potential through better debates and team collaboration given employees have access to the right tools and support.
  • In reply to Jilly Julian:

    I definitely get what you mean but know how frustrating it can be to represent in language Jilly ... the way I look at it is like in cyber world - a "sandbox" - allowing you to play and experiment in a safe space where you can fail but try again :)
  • In reply to Jilly Julian:

    You have permission to forget permission Jilly : - )
  • In reply to R Burnham:

    Really good points Rachel - creating those safe spaces and pilots to put new ideas or thoughts into practice and test them .... if they work, take the next small step .. and so on :)
  • In reply to Jo:

    Great shout Jo ... opening learning through connecting with a diverse workforce opens the doors to so many new learning ideas, styles and insights :)
  • Looking at the question in a slightly different way, recognising & praising innovation where we see it should help perpetuate innovative practice; even when we're short of ideas ourselves perhaps, backing others who are innovating is a positive action we can take, & beyond that, offering further support such as advice / suggestions
  • In reply to Tim:

    Great points Tim .. offering a safe space to encourage and nurture learning through innovative practice and experimentation/exploring ... innovation is very much a team sport, so helping encourage others is indeed a great way to create a learning mindset, culture and community :)
  • I find most innovation has come from someone having a problem with something or being frustrated with how things are done or not done. From this, we can always focus them on finding a solution/suggestion to their problem or situation, a new way of doing it or trying it and see what the result is. As R Burham says, if it works, great and if it doesn't work, that's OK too but what learning have they taken. Building confidence step by step in challenging how their own tasks/roles are undertaken will lead to more innovation and possible spread to their colleagues/employees. Don't rush to give people answers but guide them to think of their own ways of doing something differently. Don't allow people to simply complain, ask them to be part of the solution or have that mindset going forward.
  • In reply to Tim:

    Yes, this can contribute to creating a psychologically safe space, which is so important in encouraging and enabling people to be innovative. Line managers play a really important role in this of course, and so we in HR have a part to play by how prepare and support line mangers in this aspect of their role.
  • In reply to Jo:

    Diversity definitely can contribute to innovation. It can simply be helpful to encourage people to be in touch with other people within the organisation who they wouldn't normally come into contact with. A really simple way of doing this is through 'coffee roulette' where people across the organisation are randomly paired up for a virtual (or real coffee) and opportunity to chat. MS Teams has a feature that can make this happen. But it is also great to encourage networking outside of the organisation and even outside of the HR profession!