We have all witnessed how the world’s leading companies as well as whole industries quickly get into trouble and even disappear due to the increasing pace of change. It has become very apparent that businesses must come up with improved and sometimes completely new ways of doing things in order to not only survive—but to grow and flourish. Organizations must learn better ways of working with innovation.
In order to meet this need, a number of companies have started to invest in different platforms and tools as the means to become more innovative.
Having access to the tool is not enough; you need to understand what is inside innovation … how does it work and what is needed.
“However, as reality shows in many cases, this doesn’t do the trick becasue having access to the tool is not enough. You also need to understand what is inside innovation, to take the skin off innovation in order to see how it’s structured inside; how does it work and what is needed. It’s a little bit like providing all employees with a tool like Excel and then expecting them to be financial experts, which they of course won’t be.” says Lars-Percy Andersson, Founder and CEO of InnovationManagement.se.
Since there is such a huge need for knowledge on how to become more innovative, consequently there is also a huge need to find an effective solution to this problem. To address this, we spoke with David Shoemaker, Ph.D. and VP, Program Management with the Apollo Group, the company that developed the Innovator’s Accelerator online learning program.
David, can you please tell us how Innovator’s Accelerator got started?
— The three professors, Clayton Christensen, Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen, whose research and findings comprise the learning backbone of the course were flying all over the world, teaching workshops to groups of 30–50 participants at a time. Inevitably, at the end of the workshops, the response was, “This is terrific! How can we get this out to the rest of the organization?” The answer was to create an online version.
What do you see as the advantages of online learning?
— The advantages of the online modality over traditional face-to-face learning are many, and they begin with scale and efficiency. No one disputes the efficacy of traditional face-to-face learning. But organizations today are faced with the imperative to innovate quickly or perish. That means their employees must master the tools and techniques of innovation.
An online solution enables them to reduce their time to competency from years to weeks.
For a multi-national organization with a globally distributed workforce numbering in the tens of thousands, relying on a face-to-face solution to teach those tools and techniques could require literally years. Organizations simply don’t have that kind of time. An online solution enables them to reduce their time to competency from years to weeks. That imperative was, in fact, one of the central drivers behind the creation of Innovator’s Accelerator. “
What would you say is the job to be done when a client needs help to find a solution such as the Innovator’s Accelerator program?
— In broadest terms, I think organizations hire Innovator’s Accelerator to help them build and promote a culture of innovation that can help them gain or maintain competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Could you elaborate on which kinds of challenges or problems Innovator’s Accelerator can help solving?
— Professor Clayton Christensen, on whose work much of Innovator’s Accelerator is based, has identified three types of innovation challenges that organizations may face at different points in their life cycle:
The skills and behaviors that Innovator’s Accelerator teaches are essential to all three kinds of innovations and can help organizations enter new markets with growth innovations, maintain and grow existing markets with sustaining innovations, and increase profits through efficiency innovations.
Innovator’s Accelerator teaches five skills that the research of Professors Clayton Christensen, Jeff Dyer, and Hal Gregersen has identified as essential to an individual’s capacity for creativity:
and places these skills in the context of a framework that individuals can use to generate innovative solutions to specific product- or service-development challenges.
When disseminated throughout the enterprise, these skills and the framework in which they are situated comprise a common vocabulary that enables leaders across the enterprise to speak the same language of innovation to their subordinates and teams to collaborate effectively both internally and cross-functionally.
And because observing, questioning, experimenting, networking, and associative thinking are behaviors as much as they are skills, their adoption across the enterprise leads to cultural change that can have lasting impact.
Now is the time to make sure that your company will exist in the future. Learn about the two different Innovator’s Accelerator online courses:
Innovator’s Accelerator X: The seven-week Innovator’s Accelerator® IAx online training program has been created specifically for intra-organization teams. By working together, participants will get an infusion of fresh ideas and solutions to energize your organization and develop a common innovation language that fosters transformation in workplace culture. Get a free consultation >
Innovator’s Accelerator: The Innovator’s Accelerator® concentrated, independent online training program accelerates an individual’s ability to become more innovative. Enabled by a dynamic learning platform, lessons can be accessed anytime from virtually anywhere so your team members can participate at their own pace and when best fits their schedule. Sign up today >
Rosina Mat Rawl
Metrix Research Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Q: What job are you looking to get done with Innovator’s Accelerator?
A: To grow my company in a sustainable manner
Q: What challenge are you looking to solve with the help of Innovator’s Accelerator?
A: Some unique innovator skills to come up with ways to grow my company in a sustainable manner
Q: Please describe the your thinking when deciding to buy in the course for your company?
A: The key personnel in the company cannot do all the thinking and execute growth initiatives. We need to get others to do this with us.
Q: How many people from your company have enrolled and what positions do they have?
A: 10 people, their positions ranging from junior executives to senior managers.
Q: What are your impressions from the Innovator’s Accelerator program?
A: I took the course last year. I discovered where I was lacking to lead my company to success. Now that I am facilitating the course, I am able to revise the lessons and hopefully able to gain more insights on how I can grow my company.
Head of Strategy & Business Innovation,
Ericsson, Dubai, U.A.E
Q: Why did you decide to take this training program?
A: I wanted to learn more about what corporations can do to improve innovation and thereby continue to stay relevant in a fast moving industry like the ICT industry.
Q: What expectations did you have before starting and were your expectations met?
A: To learn from examples of what other companies are doing to boost innovation within their organization and how you can cultivate the innovation capabilities. And yes, my expectations were met.
Q: What would you say has been the major benefits you have gained from attending this program?
A: The five DNA’s (observe, experiment, network, question, associate)
Q: Would you recommend it to a colleague?
A: Yes, I’d recommend it as the concept is very tangible and thus easy to remember given the notion that we can all train our innovative skills.