We attended: The (Adaptive) Innovative Organisation


On a cold winter’s evening in July, I attended a public lecture on the topic of ‘The (Adaptive) Innovative Organisation’. The event speaker was Prof. Gerry George and it was co-hosted by the University of Melbourne and the Centre for Workplace Leadership. The topic focused on a better understanding of what ‘Innovation’ is within an organisation and how being ‘Adaptive’ is crucial to being an innovative organisation.

Prof. Gerry presented various findings based on his research and explained the meaning of the findings. The key messages I took away were:

  • Being ‘innovative’ doesn’t mean you will benefit from your innovation.
  • Innovation takes patience.
  • Innovation has to start with something ‘familiar’.
  • Pick only two or three ‘extension pastures’ to focus your innovation efforts.

Something else that I really connected with was when he talked about organisational leaders commenting that their aim is to be the ‘Google’ of their industry.

Prof. Gerry highlighted that these statements are made usually only considering the ‘visible’ image of Google. Everyone sees a successful company that is constantly innovating, has a great culture and think that this is all there is to see. They miss out from understanding what happens behind the scenes and the journey that has made Google what it is today.

Ultimately, you can’t just do what you see Google is doing and expect to become Google. You have to understand how they do it and why they do it that way. There is a lot more to ‘being Google’ than simply doing as Google does.

The reason I feel this topic was relevant to the eLearning industry is because a lot of organisations constantly tell you they are ‘innovative’ and that they want ‘innovative’ eLearning.

What the lecture made apparently to me is a very important follow-up question when working with organisations that are demanding innovation;

"How will you adapt to accommodate this solution?"

I feel discussing an organisation’s adaptability is critical in understanding whether the full potential of an idea or change for the better will be achieved.

I’ve found that in eLearning, the word ‘innovation’ is universally meaningless. It seems everyone you speak with has a different interpretation and understanding of the word when it comes to describing both their organisation and the eLearning they want.

Asking how adaptable the organisation and its L&D approach is will help uncover the true meaning of ‘innovation’ to that organisation.

If you’d like to speak with us about how we can help your organisation be both innovative and adaptable with your eLearning strategy, contact me at raf@purelearning.com.au