Learning Theatre

Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

In his latest book, Innovation for the Fatigued: How to Build a Culture of Deep Creativity, Alf Rehn highlighted a phrase I hadn’t seen before – ‘Innovation Theatre’.

Coined by Steve Blank, innovation theatre describes the way organisations try to gain cachet in innovation circles by emulating startup techniques. Unfortunately these activities often end up as PR exercises, completing a tick box for trying something innovative but rarely achieving much. Think of them like weak Corporate Social Responsibility programmes. The problem is that the power, spend and decision making remain central, and the innovation is a side dish.

Now look at your learning offer. Are you truly changing your business? Are you achieving?

Or are you learning theatre, ticking a box for learning while the power to move people remains away from you?

You’ll know if you’re learning theatre when:

  • You’re ticking boxes
  • Your organisation uses your inputs to demonstrate you’re doing something over your outputs and outcomes
  • People enjoy what you do and then do the ‘real’ work back at their desk

Break a leg.

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