9 tips to help with learning innovation

2 Nov

It’s easy to talk about Learning Innovation. Loads of people are doing it, sharing ideas about it and having conversations about it. But how do we move past the ideas and actually start creating stuff that is helpful and meaningful?

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Image: ToothpasteForDinner.com

Here are a few things that help me stay on track to do just that:

1. Put the audience first: understand the concerns that users have and then create stuff that addresses these concerns. Then think about user experience and the context a solution will be used in before considering tech.
2. Change behaviour by applying marketing thinking to learning. Build products and experiences around nudge theory and behavioural psychology.
3. Innovate to improve performance, but not for innovation’s sake. Make sure everything we create has a reason to exist and is helping to make something better.
4. Always be in beta. As soon as something is good enough, get it out there and see what works and what doesn’t. (Minimum Viable Product approach, if you’re playing buzzword bingo). Don’t just plan and talk about stuff – make something. Constantly test, learn and refine using data and the audience to make things better.
5. Ditch signoff and conventional project management. Agile methodologies (another one for your buzzword bingo game!) are our friends. We can’t work in a waterfall/stage gate/signoff way and still expect to deliver rapid changes and improvements that really have the user at the heart of what we do. Design is the process.
6. Inspire by sharing stories. Stories help to make messages stick (especially when people don’t care about something). Find people who have real, emotional experiences to share and then create a simple way to share these.
7. Move away from courses to resources and towards guidance. We forget as much as 65% of what we learn in training after one week. Work to connect people to the things they need to be better at doing their job, when they need them. Forget about learning. We are here to help people to do their jobs better – through products, resources and experiences.
8. Focus on design and utility. Make your experience or product seamlessly fit into the life of your user. Make it feel and look beautiful. Make it useful. Ignore your own intuition and test what you’ve done with your audience to make sure it’s useful, beautiful and meaningful to them.
9. Commit to the mission. The future of learning is an exciting place but we’re going to fight all kinds of battles on the way. One thing that can help with this is working out loud, sharing what we do and bringing people along with us on the journey. Do things together. Be brave.

Shout out to my rad team and pals who have influenced this post.

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