Creating Learning Environments To Inspire Innovative Thinking


Janet Sernack

September 21, 2017 4:25 pm

Guest Blog by Janet Sernack, Founder and CEO of ImagineNation

As a seasoned corporate educator and coach, three factors currently stand out to me that appear to be common across corporate demographics impacting negatively on our ability to adapt, change and innovate;

  1. The “instant learning” hook, is seducing some people into believing that, for example, a 5-minute video, or an 18-minute TED talk can give them the content they need to master the subject they are exploring.
  2. The “fast paced, reactive environment” prohibits many of us others from being fully present, from being able to suspend judgement, to sense and perceive systemically “what is really going on” in a current situation or business problem.
  3. The critical “inner self management” disciplines and practices are absent, inhibiting people from investing time to see a current situation or problem with the “fresh eyes” needed to discover and emerge creative ideas, or hidden solutions.

The outcome is the absence of the “deep learning” required to build our competence, capacity and confidence to successfully adapt, change and innovate.

So why is it that we seem to have forgotten to seriously value and invest our precious time and resources to engage in the type of deep learning that enables us to truly connect and have the generative conversations we need to have to manifest change and innovation?

The learning curve is the earning curve

In the Deloitte Report on Corporate Learning in 2016, Ten Trends Shaping the Future, Josh Bersin reinforces and validates these factors, stating that the Modern Learner is “overwhelmed” and that today’s employees are largely “overwhelmed, distracted and impatient.”

He also introduces us to the “new world of work, with learning at the centre” telling us that “the learning curve is the earning curve.”

Taking action — developing a reflective stance

One of my goals as a leadership coach and corporate educator, is to know how to fast track a leader’s consciousness, realising that the key clue lay in, what Senge describes as transforming and integrating our motivational, cognitive, emotive, visceral structures. [download PDF of Senge article]  I discovered another clue in Otto Sharmer’s “Theory U” where he provides us with a dense yet cohesive construct for leading from the future as it emerges, a process called “Presencing”.

Considering, and being willing to work with, peoples overwhelm, distractedness and impatience, at ImagineNation™ we adapted these core structures, as the overall learning structures for our global innovation education and coaching programs, to ensure that deep learning occurs.

Having authentic conversations that create the space for deep and meaningful change

We are all enjoying the shift in both macro and micro agile learning channels towards the use and adaptation of Story and Conversations, to facilitate learning and change.

As part of a collaborative event, held here in Melbourne between the Organizational Development Association (ODA) and the Victorian Chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF), my colleague and I co-created an evolutionary model, to enable people to have authentic conversations that create the space for deep and meaningful change.

Key Steps for Taking a Reflective Stance

By embodying and enacting these stages and steps, people learn how to co-sense, co-presence and co-create the space for deep and meaningful change.

“We include the CCS Cards as triggers for enabling people to be truly present, pay deep attention and to be intentional as they cycle through the key steps. CCS Cards enable people to unconsciously access their internal motivational, cognitive, emotive, visceral structures and states and “bring them forth” into the reflective stance.”

In one on one coaching and group training situations, we include the CCS Cards as “triggers” for enabling people to be truly present, pay deep attention and to be intentional as they cycle through the key steps.  The CCS Cards enable people to unconsciously access their internal motivational, cognitive, emotive, visceral structures and states and “bring them forth” into the reflective stance to:

  • Create a Container: that gives people permission to be their authentic selves, to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, because they feel connected and trusted and are motivated, open minded (curious) and hearted (compassionate) in their willingness and desire to collaborate.
  • Sense and Perceive the Whole System: in ways that allow people to see with “fresh eyes” (not knowing) “what is really going on” to gather information, associate the key patterns and trends, diverging and converging within the social field, with discernment and detachment (open mind, open heart and open will).
  • Generate Discovery: deep diving through generative listening, inquiry and debate to safely challenge the status quo, provocate and disrupt conventional ways of seeing, perceiving and responding to people’s internal and external worlds. Creating cracks, openings and thresholds for possibilities and opportunities, not previously imagined, for change, to emerge (open mind, open heart and open will).
  • Emerge Creative Ideas for Change and Innovative Solutions: through facilitating options, making choices, co-creating the desired future, solution and a collaborative outcome. Being tolerant and willing to experiment, adapt and grow by sharing reflections to learn, by knowing how to advance the transformation and integration of our four human structures – cognition, emotion, body and will.

 

Choosing the authentic learning pathway

This is truly an immersive and emergent process, which, with experimentation and practice can be adapted to meet short and longer time frames.

It is an enormously powerful change because it potentially reduces peoples overwhelm as it involves learning how to emerge creative ideas and innovative solutions for change. It holds people’s attention as a crucial part of the overall process, and because is it a deeply iterative, generative and co-creative process, it potentially reduces people’s impatience.

This is because they are deeply engaged in a trusted and collaborative, inspiring and purposeful, meaningful learning and change process that is open to alternate world views, operates from the highest source of human possibility, and taps into the whole (Source).

 


About Janet Sernack

Janet is an ICF ACC executive coach, located in Melbourne, Australia. She is the Founder of ImagineNation™ a global innovation culture consulting, education and coaching start-up that helps people make sense of innovation, develop innovation agility and unlock collective genius. She invented thought leading global innovation education programs: The Coach for Innovators Certified Program™ and The Start-Up Game™ that enable people to be, think and act differently, to make the difference they want to make, in ways that people value and cherish.