As you know innovation is never far from our thoughts at Team TutorPro HQ, we’ve even recently been shortlisted for an innovation award! However we’ve realized that innovation can actually be a slightly disconcerting word for many of our friends and client family members. Sure, it’s exciting to read about a small bunch of people somewhere near San Francisco who have used nothing but an out-dated Mac to create a billion dollar company but that’s not what most of us spend the day doing. We spend our day trying to meet one or other KPI and ensuring our stakeholders are looped-in and happy.
The thing is innovation doesn’t have to be a great big thing that we admire other people for doing – a dream of the chance to change the world in the future. Innovation doesn’t have to be something that gets in the way of our short-term objectives of achieving KPIs and stakeholder satisfaction. Innovation, in small ways, can be our daily competitive edge. In order to work out exactly how to do this, lets first look at what innovation is. The Merriam-Webster team define it as “a new idea, device, or method”. So that covers the three people in northern California, but it is also clearly something we can all aspire to with a bit of creative thinking.
Firstly, here’s an example of how we at Team TutorPro help our clients innovate. We’re chatting to client A. Client A has found a really great way to engage their staff in eLearning, they have tested the method to destruction and they’ve had multiple hundreds of per cent increase in user uptake as a result of employing it. They know we’re always keen to hear about interesting ways to achieve an objective so they call us for a chat. A couple of weeks later client B calls. Client B is in a totally different industry to client A, they have established practises that just aren’t resulting in the engagement they need for the project to be viable. They call us to talk it through. We suggest client A’s method. This method, though it comes from a different industry, with a different organizational structure still works really well. Client B’s stakeholders are see the engagement levels raise. This process works because we see ourselves as not only a vendor, but also as sitting at the center of a learning and development ecosystem, and we see ourselves as having a duty to pass information around that ecosystem for everyone’s benefit.
How can we all make sure we’re being innovative? We employ another method for creative problem solving, and it involves happy hour. Here at Team TutorPro HQ we love an excuse to socialize but we set ourselves a rule. Once every two weeks each of us makes sure that we make time to go meet with a friend who works in a totally different industry. If you work in finance, go to happy hour with someone in aerospace and defence. If you’re in legal, go to happy hour with an organic food producer. We find that if we chat regularly with people from totally different industries and talk through issues we’re having, they often find those problems simple to fix in an innovative way, because they are used to approaching problems differently. We then go back to the team and sell them innovation. We don’t brag, but we don’t hide our innovation either. One simple line in an email will often suffice, “Dear XYZ, I am going to try this new method to achieve our aims today. It’s different, but it works in X industry and I think it might work for us.” That way, you add value, and you demonstrate your creativity to your stakeholders as an innovative team member – all by going to happy hour.