Why Agile Learners are Ideal for Innovation

by Paul Hobcraft

 

 

I came across an article written a few years back by the Korn Ferry Institute and I thought it was worth extracting the top line thoughts as important in my advocacy of innovation.

If you want to read more from their report here is the link.

My takeaways from this:

“Learning agility is a reliable indicator of potential for leadership roles.

Why? Learning agile individuals excel at absorbing information from their experiences and then extrapolating from those to navigate unfamiliar situations.

They are often described as flexible, resourceful, adaptable, and thoughtful—in short, an ideal fit for mission-critical roles”

For this report they analyzed looking at scores on the four factors of learning agility: Mental Agility, People Agility, Change Agility, and Results from Agility and came up with a finding that seven distinct profiles described approximately two-thirds of the high learning agility people. The discussion of these seven profiles I will leave for the downloadable report to outline. I was particularly interested in this:

Learning agility: Knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do” – sounds so right for innovation.

“Learning agility is the ability and willingness to learn from experience and then apply that learning to perform successfully in new situations”

People who are learning agile:

– Seek out experiences to learn from.
– Enjoy complex problems and challenges associated with new experiences.
– Get more out of those experiences because they have an interest in making sense of them.
– Perform better because they incorporate new skills into their repertoire.

A person who is learning agile has more lessons, more tools, and more solutions to draw on when faced with new business challenges.

Achieving to instill these from my innovation capability work, coaching and mentoring would be ideal, it is a way to seek out and learn innovation. Agile learners are potentially ideal for what is needed to manage innovation.

Of course, each of the learning agility profiles has a specific combination of strengths and developmental needs but I do like these generalized statements, it does sum up agility for me and fit in what I believe innovators need.

In their introduction I would like to go back to this, as it really sums up the agile person:

“Learning agile individuals excel at absorbing information from their experiences and then extrapolating from those to navigate unfamiliar situations. They are often described as flexible, resourceful, adaptable, and thoughtful—in short, an ideal fit for mission-critical roles.

For me, innovation is a mission-critical role.

Many organizations regretfully don’t recognize this enough but part of my mission is to raise innovation awareness and its ability to transform, to extend, to grow individuals, teams, and organizations. Becoming innovative offers that greater potential to be sustainable in what you do as you constantly look to evolve and learn.

I wish more would see the importance of having agility within innovation but actually learn to practice it, not just talk about it or think it lies elesewhere in the organization. Agility is required in you!

image credit: julianstodd.com

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paul-hobcraft-150x150Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Follow @paul4innovating

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