Re-inventing Corporate Learning to Spark Innovation
They may not initially intend to, yet they all have the ability to shape an entire industry or market.
In our uncertain and turbulent world, we all have the power to tune into and harness this creative energy to make a significant difference within the realms we care deeply about.
It is possible to expand our ideas in unexpected ways that create and harnesses the power of entire industry eco-systems to shape innovative new industries and markets, especially to meet the needs of the emerging Gen-Y generation.
“Small moves, smartly made can set big things in motion.”
An example that stunned me recently was stumbling across Seth Godins’ Education Manifesto where he demands that “we stop stealing dreams (what is school for?)”.
He states that “top-down industrialised schooling” is not enabling children to understand, never mind develop the mindsets and skills to meet the needs of, and flourish in the emerging “internet and connection economy”.
He challenges the very nature of our industrial age education system, how it deprives children of their imagination and creativity and “steals their dreams”. He states that most schools are still churning out safe, “predictable, testable and mediocre factory workers.” Who then become productive and dependent workers in affluent countries that can no longer afford them if they want to compete in a globalized world. He challenges the purpose and roles of schools and demands that we re-invent schooling, stating that we do not need schools to “create compliance, to cause memorization, or to teach students to embrace the status quo”. He demands that schools teach children to be “fast, flexible and focused”. He states that the real shortage is in “dreams, and the wherewithal and the will to make them come true”.
This is definitely one of those “small moves” that has sparked a global debate on the nature and role of schools and education in a globalized and diverse world.
Reading this made me realize that I have been at the effect of this “rational, assembly line approach” to education for the past 30 years in my career as a corporate consultant, trainer, global facilitator and executive coach.
I have sat next to, stood in front of, and shared audiences with a wide range of both passive and aggressive managers and leaders, who are so accultured to “not rock the boat” and “play safe” that even the mention of the words “disruptive innovation”, creates enough fear and trepidation to cause the shackles to rise on their necks!
I realized that the same principles Seth Godin is applying to reinventing schooling also applies to the need to re-invent corporate education, a realm I care deeply about!
This is a billion dollar global industry in need of a massive re-invention process to meet the needs of an emerging generation of new managers and leaders as well as an internet and connected world!
We need to enable leaders to recover from their inadequate industrialized schooling so that they can dream and create new ways of flourishing in this new world.
This was further reinforced, by my recent participation in an Innovation Lab, called
“Gen Y Entrepreneurship – Reinventing Leadership and Learning” at the Presencing Global Forum in Berlin in July this year. Our group, which comprised of delegates from South East Asia, Middle East, US and Europe, understood that the emerging Gen Y workforce embodies values and aspirations that call for a re-evaluation of the way things are done in organisations. Some of the key questions we dialogued over two days included:
- How is Gen Y tackling our current social and organisational challenges with new ways of leadership and learning?
- What are the opportunities for Gen Y to help the current system shift and move towards a better society?
- How can we create enabling spaces for Gen Y to innovate and be even more effective in bringing such transformation into being?
Within our Lab, there was acknowledgment that the industrialized system, as described by Seth Godin, was both inadequate and inappropriate. There was a real sense of urgency for the development of new forms of learning, which were perceived as being largely experientially and playfully based.
- Gen Y contributors expressed a deep desire to be shown ways that help them see themselves within the current system to effect ways to shift it from within.
- They sincerely want to contribute through entrepreneurship, to feel connected, to be creative and authentically themselves.
- They want to be awakened, think for themselves, be heard, be part of a collective and realize their potential.
- They want the corporations they work for to positively impact the communities, governments and societies they operate in by role modelling a different way.
This requires the development of a new skill set based on the Presencing principles:
1. The quality of our results in a system is a function of the awareness that the people in that system operate from; the essence being “I attend this way, therefore it emerges this way.”
2. The new reality emerges from the opening of the mind, heart and will to connect ourselves to our deeper sources of wisdom, creativity and humanity.
3. In order to bring about profound change around us, we first have to go through a profound inner opening not only as individuals, but also collectively. It’s about to linking people to each other, to themselves and to their own journey.
I have spent the last six years developing a deep understanding of the practical applications of the Presencing Process, as well as two years researching, designing and prototyping my own innovative global corporate learning consultancy, I hope that ImagineNation™ is just one “small move” that has been smartly made re-inventing corporate learning to spark innovation. I hope that it will contribute towards creating an innovative new approach to corporate learning that will inspire the Gen-Y emerging leaders, as well as meet the needs of cross generational and diverse leaders to shape a new and connected corporate world. I hope that some of the provocative and disruptive, iterative and generative, experiential and playful concepts, principles and techniques that I have developed will inspire peoples’ innovative and entrepreneurial sparks.
I hope that collectively, we can enable people to learn how to dream again and develop the wherewithal to shape the profound change that is so needed by organisations today and model a new way.
image credit: squidoo.com; myprettypennies.com; presencing.com
Janet Sernack is the Founder & CEO ImagineNation. She is an ICf certified executive coach and experiential learning specialist with expertise in adaptive leadership and team effectiveness. Janet facilitates a weekly business network in Zichron Yaakov, Israel, for English speaking business owners and entrepreneurs.
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