Wednesday, May 13, 2015

E-Learning Evolution: The Global Business and Education Innovation Council--The 80/20 Solution

It would be a gross understatement to say that the global corporate community has a stake in promoting and nurturing the seeds of innovation within their organizations. The daunting question that they face is:

" How do we institute innovation within our business organization without disrupting what we already have established and is showing a good ROI within our given market? We don't want to lose clients or market share."

The important understanding is to avoid the extreme positions on the issue. At one end is the position that we do not try to innovate and we remain doing what we always have done.

This approach of pretending that innovation is not a path to follow is one of the reasons that companies such as Kodak are no longer with us. On the other hand, there is no doubt that "full on" innovation on a large scale is disruptive for a company that could place a company in just as a precarious position as Kodak was in except for a different reason.

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 The disruption due to innovation will not be reserved to one sector alone but will be similar to dropping a stone in a large pond. The ripples act on objects in that pond to create a chain reaction so that one reacting event then triggers other events which in turn become stimuli for new events.
Within a business organization, a vision is needed to deal with the seismic changes that will impact a business. The way to do this is to be proactive instead of reactive.

An 80/20 Solution

In order to avoid taking extreme positions on innovation, one suggested approach is a 80/20 solution. This means that 80% of the business efforts goes towards maintaining and growing the services and products that are the strengths of the business's brand. The 20% is a part of the company that is created and devoted to creating conditions and protocols needed for innovation to grow and become a natural business thought pattern for the company. This means that the use of blended learning for its employees as a means of creating collaborative, problem solving and innovative thinking becomes the goal. In establishing such a focus, designated resources and funding should be planned for.

To achieve useful collaboration where innovative ideas can flourish, there must be a forum where groups can present such ideas where decision makers hear and discuss the possibilities. I refer you back to the case of Kodak and why it faltered as described in the Forbes(2012) article. The following quote is worth noting:

"...Historically, Kodak was built on a culture of innovation and change. It’s the type of culture that’s full of passionate innovators, already naturally in tune to the urgency surrounding changes in the market and technology. It’s these people – those excited about new ideas within your own organization – who keep your company moving ahead instead of falling behind. One key to avoiding complacency is to ensure these innovators have a voice with enough volume to be heard (and listened to) at the top..." (Forbes, 5/02/2012)

The Global Business and Education Innovation Council

In order for a business to create that 20% devotion to innovation that engages employees in putting forth innovative ideas, I am suggesting that the creation of a council made up of business leaders who are decision makers in their respective sectors is worth considering. The functions of such a council could be:

  1. Provide a forum for businesses to encourage new and innovative ideas by employees to be brought forward where they could be discussed openly with an understanding that proprietary concerns would need to be addressed.
  2. Coordinate business opportunities to help developing nations within a specific family of nations develop E-Learning access that is more in line with that of developed nations. The form that this could take could range from establishing appropriate infrastructure to the creation of targeted MOOCS to address educational needs specific to a particular region.
  3. Collaborate with other councils in other portals to share common problems and seek appropriate solutions that will keep innovation moving forward.
Remember!      This is not an option !!
 Businesses have some soul searching to do in a digital age and some questions that every business should consider are:
  1. Does the present business environment foster the development of innovation in a systemic way, starting with the engagement of employees in innovative thinking? If not then why not?
  2. Are there protocols in place that enable employees to become engaged and to collaborate in producing innovative ideas?
  3. Are the training events designed in such a way as to take into account the principles of learning for the employee? Are personalized learning profiles kept?
  4. Is there a Learning Principles Expert on staff who works with the trainer and instructional designer to create irresistibly engaging learning experiences?
  5. Do engaged and innovative thinking employees have a forum in which they can "pitch" innovative ideas freely without fear of penalty?
Next.......More about the Cross Disciplinary Research and Mentor Network

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