I have conducted numerous innovation training sessions over the years and there are few principles i tend to follow.

1. Ask for volunteers

Like any subject it is difficult to force people to be innovative, particularly if they do not want to be there in the first place.

It is much better to start with just a few volunteers if need be that are keen and enthusiastic and want to learn.

If you do a great job they can become your champions within the organisation.

2. You have to experience innovation to really get it

Learning how to create and innovate is a bit like learning how to swim.

You can watch videos on swimming and talk to people who have swum but you won’t really get swimming until you jump in the water.

It is much the same with innovation — you simply have to experience being innovative to really get it.

3. Work on real problems

I have found the best results is when the group works on real, tangible problems or opportunities.

In this way the learning becomes more profound and participants can better link it back to their jobs.

4. Be innovative about innovation training.

Innovation also has to be role-modelled.

If you want others to be more innovative then the way you train people should also be innovative.

Go for walks, watch videos, move people around, vary the pace, play out roles and use smaller groups are all aspects of innovation training that will keep people engaged and productive.

5. Have a senior leader introduce the innovation session.

It is always a great idea to have a senior leader set up the session.

The leader should outline why the training is needed and what the expectations are.

Most of all they should try and attend all or some of the session so that they are seen to be investing their own time in the training.

6. Have regular follow up sessions

Because innovation has to be experienced it is important that after the initial training there is regular follow up, smaller and shorter sessions where experiences can be shared and lessons learned.

7. Most of all make the innovation training fun!

Enough said.

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