Tuesday, March 24, 2015

E-Learning: Business Innovation, Collaboration and Professional Mentor Networks

In a previous post, it was emphasized the need to develop a learning community within a business and how effective collaboration that involves all employees when it comes to training is an essential. It is an essential so that a systemic innovation mindset becomes a natural way of thinking, learning and discussion for all levels within the organization. However, it is important to emphasize that no business is an island and that there needs to be effective collaboration that sees connections to important professional networks due to the vital knowledge and skill sets that they provide to the learning community within the business organization. With the rapid change in technology and the emerging of new skill sets as a result, it is vital that a business have the most current "strategic intelligence" that impact the performance of the business.


In the past SME's were relied upon to help Instructional Designers in creating effective relevant training experiences for employees. However, with the proposed re-defining of the roles that I have suggested, it is important to ask a few questions in regards to their role:

  1. Can SME's keep up with the rapid changes occurring within many disciplines that have a bearing on the business' innovation efforts?
  2. Can SME's be asked to develop these external connections to professional networks or should that be the role of a new entity within the business that I call the "Council of Innovation and Learning"?
What would these professional networks look like?

Ideally, they would have some of these characteristics:
  1. They would be made up of professionals who are on the leading edge of their disciplines. These would be disciplines that have a relevant impact on the product or services that the business excels in. They would be finely tuned to ongoing research in their area and able to translate how different lines of research will impact a business interests both in the short term and the long term.
  2. They would be able to collaborate with the learning team within the business and advise them on direction that training should take, given the present status of the business and the goals it has in establishing a culture of innovation within the business.
  3. Along with the Council of Innovation and Learning they would have a presence in providing a forum for innovative ideas that employees have where employees can receive relevant feedback from professionals as to the potential of the ideas have for the company.
Building a culture of innovation should be based on the "expanding horizon" concept where you start with building the learning community and mindsets within the business first and then expand out work to make valuable connections to important professional networks that are global in their reach.

Sir Kenneth Robinson offers some additional insights in his presentation titled: "How to Build a Culture of Innovation". I will leave it to you to think about how these principles would apply or not apply to your aspirations as a business seeking to lead the way in your area.


Next....E-Learning: A Blueprint to the Future--Bringing It Together

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