Innovation. It’s been the mantra of corporations for the past decade, especially in industries with quickly evolving technologies. If you are one of the biggest media companies in the world and you realize employee-driven innovation is a key to future success, how do you approach teaching people how to innovate in a, well, innovative and effective way? Solution: Dig deep into your DNA and design something no one else can.
The direction from the company president was clear: introduce strategies that greatly increase employee-generated ideas for innovation. Each of the company’s divisions created their own strategies and platforms to make this happen. One was wildly successful…with the limited number of people they had time to engage. They wanted to multiply their efforts by teaching people on teams throughout the division how to lead the successful innovation-generating activities they had adopted. And they wanted the training program to be their own—using models and approaches they had developed—not a readily available, off-the-shelf training program on innovation. Once we engaged in the project, it was quickly apparent that understanding this division’s context was critical in designing a training program with the expected degree of impact. We also realized that this would be more than a training program on innovation; it would be an opportunity for leadership development and getting employees to “live the brand.” In short, it had to be really good, really effective and 100% authentic.
We invested the time upfront to complete a deep learning-needs analysis. We conducted interviews with company leaders, potential participants and internal innovation experts. Our analysis pointed to one key theme—the program had to model the spirit of the content. It had to be an innovative and highly-intense approach to learning. So, that’s we did. It took nearly a year of proposing ideas, asking, “What if we…?” and rolling out prototypes for review. However, when completed, the eight-session, blended-learning program supported with formal, informal, social and hands-on activities represented a uniquely genuine asset designed to produce high-impact results—both in terms of talent development and employee-derived innovations.
The training program and related assets have become a model for corporate-innovation training. The program is being re-purposed for use with individual teams, divisions, and other groups. The training program is being modified for each unique context while maintaining the integrity of the unique approaches and models used to teach people about how to be innovative. “We have what we need—what we know works,” is how one leader in the corporate training team described the training program. It is good to know that the Vivayic team could bring innovation to people who know it inside and out.