Course Outcomes

This innovative-thinking and problem-solving course will:

  • Explain innovation and its value to organizations.
  • Suggest methods for identifying the right problems.
  • Introduce multiple tools for assessing the current environment, validating perceptions, generating new ideas, and evaluating potential innovations.

Course Overview

Innovation can transform organizations, create new methods for solving problems, and add small improvements to existing solutions. Organizations that value innovation realize that standing still is falling behind. What works today will probably not work or not work the same way years, or perhaps only months, into the future. This interactive workshop focuses on innovation and tools for driving ingenuity and improvement. The program looks at conditions that must exist for innovation to occur, the importance of confirming and validating perceptions, the value of looking at an environment through multiple lenses, tools for thinking deliberately, creativity and ideation exercises, and methods for evaluating and implementing new ideas.

While this course is offered in both a one-day and two-day format, to get the most from the program, we recommend investing in the two-day option. That format provides for more practice time and application of the tools to the participants’ business problems.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Recognize roadblocks that impede innovation.
  • Evaluate their environment through multiple lenses.
  • Identify root causes.
  • Understand the need for disciplining thinking to discover good ideas.
  • Apply a multitude of creative thinking techniques to business problems.
  • Evaluate ideas methodically.
  • Define a plan for implementing lessons from the course once back on the job.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Unlocking Your Inner da Vinci: An Introduction to Innovation

Innovation is a change that results in a new method, idea, process, or approach to solving a problem. Some innovations are giant leaps, but most are small improvements that collectively and over time have a positive impact. This course opens with a discussion around innovation and the conditions that must exist for innovative thinking to become the norm within an organization. Through an interactive exercise, participants will practice their ability to innovate and generate multiple solutions to the same challenge. Next, we will examine seven reasons people fail to innovate and solutions to those problems.

Perceiving Clearly: Confirming What You “Know”

To think well, you must first have a clear and accurate view of reality that allows you to identify and focus on the central facts. This module is about managing perceptions and the importance of validating what is seen. During this part of the course, we will consider the information we routinely check versus the data we take at face value. We’ll then talk about the importance of validating perceptions before making important decisions.

A Series of Lenses: Looking Inward and Gaining Perspective

In his 1508 “Codex of the Eye”, Leonardo da Vinci ventured that submerging one’s head in a bowl of water could alter vision. Considering one’s business environment can accomplish a similar objective. In this segment participants will evaluate their environment using Business Training Works’ strategic-thinking tool, Lenses: Gaining Focus and Seeing New Perspectives.TM The purpose of this activity is to provide a means to help people make sense of how their customers, clients, work, products, and other elements fit together.

Understanding Deliberate Thinking: Pleasing Patrons and Other Stakeholders

Creativity without structure or purpose can result in nothing more than a bunch of zany ideas that cost teams time, profits, or worse.  During this segment of the course, we will explore the process of deliberate thinking and its importance in unearthing good ideas and helping people stay focused on the right things. From asking yourself “why are we doing this” to confirming others’ points of view, in this part of the program, we will look at multiple tools for organizing requirements and understanding what is important.

Igniting a Creative Renaissance: Practicing Creative Thinking Skills

Innovation is the ability to select, combine, refine, and turn the best creative ideas into reality, revenues, and profits. During this part of the course, participants will build skills to be more creative in a business (versus artistic) sense for the generation of useful insights and ideas. Activities include brainstorming, reverse brainstorming, brainwriting, altering attributes, mind mapping, analogies, picture association, and de Bono’s six thinking hats among others.

Cracking the Code: Evaluating Ideas

Some ideas are great, some not practical, and some simply don’t deliver value that exceeds the costs of implementation. For innovation to add value, ideas that are adopted must make sense. This part of the program focuses on tools for evaluating ideas. In this segment, we will consider a value analysis, an evaluation matrix, a weighted matrix, and forced voting.

Avoiding a Return to the Dark Ages: Implementing Improvements

All too often people are pretty good at identifying ideas that lead to improvement and innovation but weak on implementation and delivery. Without proper management, good ideas become the victims of fear, pessimism, inertia, and politics. This final unit examines actions participants can take to become agents for driving good thinking throughout their departments and workgroups.

By the conclusion of this course, participants should have an arsenal of business innovation, process improvement, and creativity tools to put in practice back on the job.