A light-bulb moment in Innovation Learning

Over the past few weeks, or is it months or is it even years, I have been constantly thinking through how we are learning in our innovation understanding. I have been struggling over this for a long time, looking to create a more compelling narrative and have only realized part of my ongoing difficulties was that I was coming at this the wrong way.

Firstly a narrative should be open-ended, there is no finite resolution yet to innovation understanding and secondly, it is for the intended audience to determine and relate, not the person presenting the narrative. For me, one light bulb went on.

The second light bulb moment came earlier this week. I was reading an article by Josh Bersin, called “the disruption of digital learning: ten things we have learned”. Josh is the founder of Bersin by Deloitte and this article was on one of his LinkedIn Pulse views. It actually stopped me in my tracks, it made me really think and recognize some of my recent shifts in my innovation focus was making real sense. The article alarmed me but it also ‘re-armed’ me.

Let me pull out a few ‘nuggets’ from this article by Josh Bersin, it has profound implications for all of us and how it triggered some questions for me. Perhaps the article will for you.

“Digital Learning does not mean learning on your phone, it means “bringing learning to where employees are.” It is a “way of learning” not a “type of learning.” It is more employee-centric in its design and needs to follow a employee’s journey at work.

My 1st Question from this : How can I apply this way of learning to my innovation advisory work?

“As content grows in volume, it is falling into two categories: micro-learning and macro-learning”

One is what I call “micro-learning,” things we can quickly read, view, or consume and they only take 10 minutes or less

Macro-learning, on the other hand, is something we do when we want to truly learn a whole new domain.

To quote from the article: “Early in a role, we need “macro learning” to get started: understanding the job, the domain, the people, the systems. As we progress up the learning curve, we need continuous injections of new skills, information and connections, to proceed – until we become an expert”

“Then we tend to become the “coach” and we teach others, moving in a more horizontal way, until we reach the next level of proficiency, role, or promotion to energize our career. At that point we may need another “macro learning” intervention to go back up the learning curve, or if we fail we may actually get bored and leave”.

My 2nd question: Am I designing what I convey to fit these two types of digital learning of micro and macro learning to help in these pathways of learning?

“Work Has Changed, Driving the Need for Continuous Learning, quite simply because the way we work has radically changed”.

In Deloittes research it has shown that in a given week, employees take less than 25 minutes of time to actually slow down and learn. Really? Wow!

My 3rd Question: So how can I make my work relevant and fit innovation learning within this incredibly short time to learn?

“Research is also telling us we don’t learn well through “binge education” like a course. We learn by being exposed to new skills and ideas over time, with spacing and questioning in between”.

It is when we repeat information well, with timed intervals between, and we ask people questions (to force our brains to “retrieve” information), we actually create new learning pathways, just the same way we learn certain “on the job skills” through practice, repetition, and continuous questioning about why something didn’t work. We are entering the age of “spaced learning”: Repetition, Spacing, Questioning.

“Today learning is about “flow” not “instruction,” and helping bring learning to people throughout their digital experience”

My 4th Question: What can I offer and how can I build this “flow” of learning?

It seems to me the need is to build personal learning pathways that build your narrative that is built on key topic training that can be specific to your “moment of innovating need” (micro-learning) or build an understanding of a whole “new domains of innovation knowledge” (macro-learning), so by combining these we can build a perpetual learning. One I can contribute into, that draws from my extensive resource repository built up over the last sixteen years of practice, research and knowledge building.

My 5th question is to you, reading this: Do you have an innovation need? Can I help?

One clear message from this article by Josh was “We believe there are “Four E’s of learning” at work (education, experience, environment, and exposure). People at work must have time to learn, they must feel their new skills will be valued, we must take time for discussion and reflection, and managers must give people space and freedom to discuss mistakes, ask questions, and often experiment with new ideas”.

We do need to engage far more on innovation. It is the exchanges, the sharing and relating we build our knowledge and competencies. We can’t simply rely on stumbling across these or just have to find your own “type of learning,” we need outside stimulus and some structure in our “way of learning”.

Yet what is most troubling is today, we seem not to have any decent time to stop and learn. How do you respond to this time-starving for learning? I need my third light-bulb moment – any suggestions for my own ongoing pathway of learning?

My innovating regards

Paul Hobcraft

3 thoughts on “A light-bulb moment in Innovation Learning

  1. Pingback: Learning Platforms and Personal Learning Pathways – Advocating 4 Innovation

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the interesting post which got me thinking about realms of reality / contexts in which we learn – being African, I see kids educated with ipads under trees in natural environments, built environments, the phygital, virtual and someday in outer space – digital learning can take place in any one of these 6 arenas … as can ‘trading / marketing / retail / finance’ take on different forms in these environments (retail is not dead, its the form of retail that has changed) … as an innovator, creative artist and design thinker – I enjoy using an experiential pedagogy like ‘theatre of the oppressed’ in the 21st century transmedia storytelling space … clearly we cannot apply industrial age models (with production, distribution and consumerism theories that hold true for built environ – but no longer hold true in other realms … while I also agree that personal learning pathways can be built, it is when such pathways become entrenched, systematic and programmatic that we force innovators to evolve into ‘the usual story’ / stereotype and as a result there are not enough intellectual heroes around who can actually think and see their way clearly through the choices we have to make as human beings living in a digital age …


    • “there are not enough intellectual heroes” is for this very reason that we never “allow” the individual voice to emerge, we want to shape it, mold it to fit and then we wonder why we have no heroes.
      Giving the tools to make personal choices and ‘seeing’ possibility is the 21st-century breaking story
      Thanks for your comments

      Liked by 1 person

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