How to be Innovative – 10 Top Tips
by Tess Robinson, Director, LearningAge Solutions
Being innovative doesn’t mean that you have to come up with big radical new ideas all the time. Sometimes the very best learning innovations are quite simple and subtle or are just improvements or diversions from existing ideas.
- Look beyond what is in front of you and practice seeing more than what is directly before your eyes. Think of this in terms of the young lady/old lady optical illusion – there are different ways of looking at the same thing. The way you view something at first, is not necessarily the only way of looking at it.
- Ask questions – don’t be afraid not to accept the status quo. Asking questions will help your ideas to crystallise. Don’t stop at the first answer either, as above, there are many different ways to answer the same question.
- Think about what kind of learning you’d like to see, be it products, theories or something completely different. Where is the gap? Look at what others have produced and see how it can be improved upon.
- Collaborate – don’t be afraid to share ideas and get other’s opinions. Join a body such as the eLearning Network or ASTD where you can attend networking events and get yourself a mentor.
- Keep your eye out for emerging L&D trends that can be exploited. New trends often mean new ways of learning are needed – you can be on the forefront of that.
- Notice assumptions and don’t be afraid to break the rules. Just because something has been done a certain way for years, doesn’t make it the best or the right way!
- Change your routines – walk a different way to work, talk to a stranger, challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done before – perhaps something you’re scared of. Break out of your normal comfort zones and allow your brain to get a taste of what it feels like to do things differently – exciting isn’t it!
- Be prepared to have to weed through piles of rubbish to get to the good stuff. Being innovative isn’t just about having that lightbulb moment but about being committed, flexible and open.
- Prototype and test your ideas as early as possible (and as cheaply as possible) to discount solutions that won’t work and hone the ones that will.
- Finally, don’t be afraid of failure. It’s fine to get things wrong as that’s often the best and most powerful way for you to learn and be spurred on to get things right.