Can You Train People to Be Innovative?

Jeffrey Philips, at Innovate On Purpose, asks "Can you train someone to be innovative?"

He thinks you can (and I agree) and offers some good advice on how to go about doing it, including making sure that the culture of the organization will support experimentation, risk taking, and failure.

Training people to innovate works best, I believe, if you train a bunch of people all at once. More precisely, if you train an intact team or organization.This way, all of the people have a shared experience that they all take back with them to their workplace.

Many years ago, when I was Training Manager in a science-based organization, we did just that. And it helped fuel a significant increase in innovation, as measured by the number of new product ideas entering the commercialization pipeline.

Interestingly, one of the external consultants that helped us was Roger von Oech.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 10/10/06

Comments

Gautam Ghosh said…
training is only one input...other has to be relooking at organizational culture issues around rewarding failure, open structures and emphasis on collaboration and knowledge sharing
Terrence said…
Agreed!

We found that "open structures and collaboration" were especially important. Once R&D and the business units (R&D's customers) started meeting, talking, and getting to know each other better, there was a significant effect on innovation.

Terry
JFL said…
Yes you can but why bother.

80% if IDeas already come from 20% of the people.

Just identify and ask them for IDeas.

Actually 80% of 80% of the IDeas come from 20% of 20% of the people which is 64% from just 04%.

Wow!!!!!

Have a good IDea today, JFL
Anonymous said…
What a refreshing post.. Mostly because just yesterday I read another's assertion that you are either born an entrepreneur or you are not.. I don't happen to agree. We have remarkable capabilities to do anything, in the world of innovation, but only if we are willing to pay the price and persist until the intention takes hold!

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