Going Beyond Training

Businesses that actively seek to innovate accomplish several vital goals: They remain competitive in a difficult market. And they develop talent from within through interesting and challenging projects.

Many countries are experiencing a weak economy (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/05/06/how-toronto-can-become-a-global-centre-for-innovation.html and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-hollender/what-the-world-needs-now-_2_b_1116989.html). Job numbers are below what is needed for full employment (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-idUSKCN0YO1I8 and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/12136090/Mapped-Europe-divided-how-the-jobless-disease-is-splitting-the-continent-apart.html). Profits are on a downward trajectory. One way for businesses to work their way out of the current economic climate is to innovate—that is, to develop better business models, improved business processes, disruptive new products or services, and new applications for existing products.

In addition to talent and skill, businesses seeking to innovate need the following:

• Opportunities for unconventional voices: Experts do not know everything. Creating space and opportunities for team members to share their perspective generates opportunities for sharing, collaborating, and eventually innovation.

Solution strategy: Develop and maintain a culture of listening and cooperation in which the opinion of everyone is intentionally sought and valued.

• Context: What’s the greater picture of the problem being solved? Some solutions address the symptoms of the problem. Other solutions seek to remedy the problem’s root cause. The symptom and the cause often need to be addressed in different ways by different people.

Solution strategy: Be wary to not focus only on the problem. Ask questions about how the pain point arises and how it is maintained.

• The whole organization: Scrum teams can be effective in ensuring timely delivery of product development. They also can become isolated from the rest of the company and the market. While it is important to have clear leadership and production roles, it’s important to keep in mind that the entire company interacts with the market in unique ways. Other departments have their own expertise and can offer insight.

Solution strategy: Have monthly or quarterly information sessions to inform and gather feedback from other departments. Rotate who participates in the meeting to get fresh eyes on the project.

Businesses that actively seek to innovate accomplish several vital goals. They remain competitive in a difficult market. They develop talent from within through interesting and challenging projects. These companies also attract outside talent by developing a reputation for doing interesting work. By thinking of innovation beyond training, these businesses are building strong cultures that will ensure their competitiveness for years to come.

Renée Gendron, MA, founded Vitae Dynamics Inc. to transform workplaces and economic ecosystems into healthier, better adapted to economic conditions, and more respectful environments. Gendron extends tailored and specialized bilingual training on leadership, conflict resolution, and communication. She also provides mediation and research services. Gendron holds a Master’s degree in social sciences and certificates in alternative dispute resolution and conflict resolution. Her research has been presented at many conferences and is published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Gendron can be reached at @vitaedynamics or renee@vitaedynamics.com. Her Website is www.vitaedynamics.com

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