Sporting metaphors are rife in business, and with good reason: both fields are competitive, goal oriented and emphasise teamwork and leadership. So far, so cliched. So, forgive us for adding another to the canon: if business is like sports, then innovators are the decathletes of the corporate world. More than any other discipline or role in business, innovation requires you to be adept at multiple skills; innovators have to be scientists, marketers, market researchers, financiers, designers, communicators, writers, technicians, operational experts and influencers. So, it’s not surprising that the innovators we work with tell us that they struggle with getting the training they need to fulfil these roles, and with staying up to date as new tools and techniques come onto the market.
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Why is training so important?
We see innovators in all sectors and sizes of organisation struggling with accessing and applying training and staying current, regardless of their career stage or experience. Innovation teams often work in silos and are typically focused on one project at a time, often seeing a concept through from ideation to market activation, which can take years. Then, once the project is finished, you can be back at the beginning of the process again as part of a new team. If the last year has been about launching a product into the market and the day-to-day work has been all about writing product specifications, ensuring that technical claims are supported and working with marketing teams, it can be difficult to start again at the beginning of the innovation lifecycle, working on identifying opportunities, something that you perhaps haven’t done for several years.
Even experienced innovators sometimes need a refresher, to tone up their skills or to find out more about new methods that may not have existed the last time they worked on something similar. One report, by Bain & Company about the ‘Three Steps to Make Training Stick’, estimates that the half-life of a skill is now about five years. Training is also hugely beneficial, both to innovators and the companies that they work for. The same report states that training can increase profit margins by 24% and that employees cite training as the primary factor in recruitment and retention.
Training is a life-long endeavour. To continue the metaphor, if you worked with a personal trainer to become fit and strong, you wouldn’t expect to maintain your physique if, following your course of training, you swapped the gym for sitting on your sofa with wine and crisps. To stay fit for sport and for business, you need to put your training into action and top it up regularly.
Why is training so difficult?
Traditionally, training takes place in person. A trainer comes in, or the team goes off site so they can concentrate on the training away from the day job. To make it worthwhile, the training can take anything from a half day up to a week or more, depending on what needs to be learned. This can be great in many ways: it is immersive, and teams can train together, building rapport and relationships. However, it is time-consuming, can be expensive and, critically, takes people away from the day job. In addition, how many times have you finished a training course inspired by what you have learned, only to forget all about it once you are back at your desk and dealing with your regular workload?
The other option is online training, which can be delivered more cost effectively and is easier for people to fit it in around the day job. But the benefit of bringing the team together is lost, and online training can be even less effective than in-person training as there is often no way to check whether you have understood what is being taught.
We understand that innovators need to train in many disciplines in an agile, timely and cost-effective way, so we’ve brought together the best bits of traditional training and online training, without any of the drawbacks. Just as HIIT training in the gym was developed for busy people to work out more effectively and efficiently, we have developed the Innovation Gym to power up innovation ROI with short, quick, intense and focused training, enabling teams to innovate faster and more effectively. Innovation Gym draws on the neuroscience of learning and uses case studies and story-based techniques, led by expert trainers, to create training that people remember and can apply immediately.
Check out our latest White Paper, Science that Listens at https://www.untappedinnovation.com/our-tools/ for more details on why this type of training works for innovators.
Talk to our team about how Innovation Gym can help you brush up on your skills and capabilities: https://www.untappedinnovation.com/contact-us/