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How to Use Training to Drive and Maintain Your Innovation Strategy

By Guest Author
By Guest Author
All Industries
5 minutes read

A well-planned innovation strategy is a core aspect of running a successful enterprise. Recent research indicates that Learning and Development training (L&D) is essential to driving and maintaining your innovation strategy over the long term. 

Developing a successful application on any platform is a stroke of innovation. However, it’s no trade secret that your innovation strategy isn’t ‘complete’ post-deployment. If you’re going to continue to drive and maintain innovation within your company, you’ll need to continue strategizing to maintain your competitive advantage as you move on to future developments and new ideas. 

L&D training will support and sustain your innovation strategy in development, deployment, and beyond. Across industries,  a 2019 L&D report found that companies are more likely to predict an increase in their L&D budget when revenue grows. L&D is being recognized as the way into a stable and growth-oriented business future.  

Whether you’re focused on developing in spheres as diverse as FinTech or IoT, the blend of innovations in the training industry and professional L&D knowledge demonstrate why training is the key to help your innovation strategy flourish.  

Let The Ideation Safely Flow

A quality innovation strategy will have a long-term outlook, and explicitly state where your company wants to be in two, three, five, ten, or more years. One way to make that vision into reality is making it clear to employees that no idea is a bad idea. 

At Bonobos, the first digitally native vertical brand, innovation is an organic byproduct of focusing on individual strengths throughout the L&D program and emphasizing collaboration across organizational hierarchies. 

Bonobos’ Director of Employee Experience Tiffany Poppa explained in the report that their strength-based approach has helped them foster a culture of collaboration and open communication by focusing on individuals. He highlights how people can express themselves openly when the right environment is in place. 

Creating that safe space in the training room will create more communication across hierarchies and teams, and result in innovative ideas being shared more openly. Your innovation strategy should impact your organization on an infrastructural level, and foster ideation on teams implementing the technology and beyond. With an open culture of communication, teams will have a better understanding of each other and know how to support the long-term vision your enterprise has set out for itself. 

Agility Shirks Complacency – And Not Just In Development

Working in development, chances are you’ve been inundated with the term agile. Transferring agility into your L&D function will ensure that your innovation strategy can actually succeed. 

It may feel self-explanatory, but keeping all aspects of your training relevant is not something every organization considers when pursuing professional development. As Global Talent Development Manager at Wilson HGC, Dave Miller explained

“What worked 12 months ago may not work now. As a team, one thing we’ve learned to do is assess weekly what we do and then make the change. Our programmes are changing constantly because our workforce is changing constantly.”

Constant evaluation of the effectiveness of your training strategy is a key way to ensure that all your employees, from tech implementation to HR, have the same understanding of how to support and execute the goals laid out in your innovation strategy. 

In recalibrating and reevaluating, look to your training infrastructure to understand how fast teams are able to adapt to the lightning-fast changes thrown at every enterprise by the market. If you don’t keep innovating, you run the risk of your business becoming obsolete. 

By tailoring your L&D function to the present needs of your employees, and forecasting the needs of your business for the future, you can support whatever changes you need to make to your innovation strategy. An agile L&D function will keep teams upskilled when it matters most. 

Not All The Answers Lie In-House 

If your enterprise is focused on scheduling developments and deployments, training may be the last thing on your mind. But with the competition in today’s market as fierce as it is, overlooking L&D is a dangerous step towards extinguishing the potential of your hard-fought innovation strategy. 

On the other hand, you may simply lack the resources to implement a training strategy on the level your employees deserve. Relying on in-house resources can take up valuable time and focus on what your company does best – development. 

The L&D report found that when executives are highly engaged in L&D the chances of saying a company had a culture of innovation are three times better. As a leader or someone within your organization with decision making power, take the initiative to seek help in areas you’re less comfortable with. It’s likely that other organizations have faced the same issues as your business. 

Whether you’re struggling to figure out an innovation strategy that works for your company, or if your existing strategy isn’t achieving its desired impact, external partners often have the specific knowledge and expertise that you may be lacking in-house. 

An innovation strategy is only one piece of the puzzle to allow your enterprise to thrive. Driving and maintaining your innovation strategy with a well-planned L&D function plays an important role in supporting your organization’s innovation strategy for long term success.  

Every business is vying to maximize their competitive advantage. Will you take the extra step with L&D? 

About the Author:

Max Maccarone is a content editor for the higher education portal and professional development search engine Max relocated to Stockholm after graduating from York University in Toronto. An avid traveler, Max is dedicated to creating diverse and engaging learning and development content for a wide range of publications. 

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