I was reading through this article on the Science Daily site and thought about it in the context of L&D. Most importantly, it highlighted an issue that I’ve seen in L&D for some time; that being how the fear of creativity can impinge on trainers’ capacity to ‘sell’ a new idea.
It’s a question I think we in L&D need to ask ourselves:
Am I creating training that sustains the status quo, rather than creating opportunities that disrupt?
I use the word disrupt quite deliberately; I know of many trainers who are happy to talk about their ‘innovative’ and ‘revolutionary’ training activities. They are, in the most part, not.
They are repositioned activities, looking at a new problem with an old perspective and selling it as a new idea.
There is a market for learning that sustains; many processes are embedded in the workplace and what is required is to sustain the current performance. A new team member needs to learn the what, how and why of a task. Outside of process learning, there appears to me little that disrupts the way activities are learnt.
A lot of this fear of creativity will come from the sponsor/purchaser having an idea about what has worked in the past. This experience comes across as resistance to something novel; as the article above states:
Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.
I believe there’s a need for the L&D community to start selling ideas that generate a feeling of ‘uncomfort’. Maintaining the status quo will mean quite simply that by doing what L&D have always done, L&D will get what they’ve always got. If you want L&D to be taken seriously as part of the business proposition we need to create a feeling of ‘stretch’ for the purchaser and prove that the disruptive has added value to the learner and the business.