Monday, September 22, 2014

Inspiring An Innovation Generation:Part III--Design Thinking, Business, and Education

Using a design thinker mindset when designing online courses is an approach that holds great promise for developing a culture of innovation within the education of the innovation generation. It not only gives direction that is in synch with the use of developing technologies but also enables us to strive towards a worthwhile purpose, that being the improvement of the quality of life for this generation and the ones that follow.

However, what does this type of mindset have to say about training within the corporate culture? Keep in mind that if we systematically incorporate this type of thinking in the education systems that the generation of leaders coming out of this system will have a direct impact on the business cultures world wide.When we peruse the comments made with respect to the state of course design and training within the corporate world, we find a lack of satisfaction within the corporate culture as to their progress in becoming innovative. Companies such as Google and Apple who are known for their innovative services and products are often admired from afar by the rest of the corporate world who ask: "why can't we develop an innovative culture like them?"

Perhaps part of the answer to this very valid question lies in being able to identify the traits of an innovator within a corporate setting. In an interesting article titled: "The Innovators DNA" by Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen published in the Harvard Business Review (Dec. 2009), a six year study was described whose purpose was to uncover the origins of creative--and often disruptive--business strategies in particularly innovative companies. Their goal was to put innovative entrepreneurs under the microscope to examine when and how they came up with their innovative ideas. The authors considered the habits of 25 innovative entrepreneurs and conducted a survey of more than 3000 executives and 500 individuals who had started innovative companies or invented new products.

They discovered that there were five essential skills that separate the innovative from the non-innovative individuals in the corporate culture. They are as follows:

  • Associating
  • Questioning
  • Observing
  • Experimenting
  • Networking
They broke this list down into two categories: doing and thinking
So, what do these skills actually mean in terms of innovation?

More in my next post. One point I will leave with you is that there is a pattern that is formed with respect to how these qualities are connected and it is design thinking that makes sense of this pattern........

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