Innovation Gym: A new way to improve your Innovation Skills

Girls in STEM Mentor jan Choudhury

by | 25 Jun, 2021 | Untapped Thinking

Innovation is all about seeking out new and better ways to do things.  So when it came to creating our innovation training, we also looked for new and better ways….asking ourselves how we could help clients build innovation skills, even when they tell us that they are pushed for time and also have to cope with home or hybrid work scenarios?  We worked with thought-leaders in new educational and training principles to develop a different type of innovation training session where learning actually sticks to improve your innovation long term, not just during the Innovation Gym session. Here’s how….

Gym vs “Classroom” Training

We’ve called our flexible training sessions the Innovation Gym for a reason – to move away from the traditional classroom form when learners are in passive “receiving” mode. We’ve all experienced sessions that use only a single stimulus which drains engagement and causes fatigue. We know from neuroscience that this approach doesn’t strengthen our neural pathways or muscle memory; instead, it leaves us feeling overwhelmed as we try to “take it all in”. So just like a gym session, we want to ensure learners are engaged, energised and pumped up to follow the session through until the end. 

The Four Principles Of Innovation Gym

  1. Simple
  2. Story-led
  3. Active Learning
  4. Multiple Stimulus Formats

1. Simple

These are highly focused sessions with a targeted ‘Warm-Up’. The principle behind this is in “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, in which the laser focus on one core topic increases the ability to learn.

Simple = Core + Compact

2. Story-led

You learn by example using a ‘story’ of a real-life innovation case study to connect ideas and bring the core principles to life. This is the high-intensity section of the Gym Session, based on the last principle in “Made to Stick”.

‘Story’ is how people relate and connect ideas.  

3. Active Learning

Here, we build the “muscles” (neural pathways) through “reps”. We create time for learners to practice the new skill repeatedly, so attendees leave the session with good ‘muscle’ memory.

Repetition is how we build and strengthen neural pathways in our brains, which is the biology of learning. 

4. Multiple Stimulus Formats

We use a variety of ‘gym equipment’ (video, discussion, story (case studies), exercises) to drive engagement and better stimulate learning.

A variety of formats enables repetition to continue to be exciting and engaging.

The Science And Education Principles Behind Innovation Gym

The Neuroscience of Learning

As women in STEM, we have to delve into the neuroscience of learning, and this is where the training expert, Laura Flessner of Mindtap,  has mentored us to create our Innovation Gym Principles. What we’ve rediscovered is that the act of doing what you’re getting taught is proven to activate more parts of the brain, making learning even more effective.  

In the visual, “teaching” can represent the learner’s approaches to “teaching themselves”. 

The neuroscience of learning
Image Credit: Citywide Media Vancouver © Susan Close Learning 2009

Education 1.0 vs Education 2.0

Digital tools enable a greater variety of learning and help shift the trainer from a teacher to a coach/ orchestrator of learning. The learning is less of a push onto the student and more of a pull from the student.  

Education 1.0 vs Education 2.0
Image Credit Creative Academic

Our approach allows participants to own their learning as we guide the process. We look for the participants to show their learning through the discussions and the Reps (exercises). 

Arrange your first Innovation Gym Session 

We have several resources available for you to learn more about our Innovation Gym. Watch the video, read through our brochure or get in touch to arrange a call with one of our partners. 

We are future-proofing innovation sessions and guaranteeing a return on innovation thanks to our approach. Be bold, and come on the journey with us. 

Watch the Innovation Gym Video

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