Innovation is often identified as a key strategic advantage for organisations who have instilled innovation into their culture.  Innovation need not be on the scale of a major new product and service, often it is creating a new process or tool that works within the business to support greater effectiveness and performance.  One of our clients determined that innovation was going to be a strategic focus for their business.  This client has successfully implemented a learning and development strategy that has driven higher levels of performance both at individual, team and enterprise levels.  Now they wish to translate this learning culture to support one that includes innovation as well.  DOTS LMS is the backbone for the learning and development processes and it was our challenge to explore how we can utilise DOTS to support innovation.  This first entry explores the first phase of the innovation project plan and in the second entry I will illustrate the tools used in DOTS LMS and how they were configured to create an effective ‘innovation incubator.’

The first phase was focused on communication and awareness.  The management team determined that there was a need to ensure a pervasive understanding of the strategic plan throughout the enterprise.  An online course was developed using the DOTS Content Creator that included videos, images, Excel spreadsheets and other file types.  This course is approximately 20 to 25 minutes in duration and included an enrolment so that attendance could be tracked.  The course included a feedback form and a DOTS Survey to gauge reactions and collect ideas.  The other courses in phase one included a course on how the innovation project was going to be undertaken, a course on the concept of innovation and examples of how innovation drives better performance at all leves of an organisation.  These courses were developed using a combination of the DOTS Content Creator and Microsoft PowerPoint with Articulate.  All of the courses included online feedback and a survey so that ideas could be captured even at this early stage of the roll-out.  Since the client already had the employee population in DOTS the course was catalogued so that all persons could access it.  In addition to employees, a couple of the courses were made available to key partners and suppliers to encourage their participation in the innovation process.  These external users were granted access to the courses but did not have access to any another feature or function within the LMS.

DOTS Libraries were used to provide support resources such as links to external sites, articles, presentations and information about key people involved in this project.  To encourage people to engage and participate in the process a number of DOTS Discussion Groups were established.  Some Discussions were open across the Enterprise while others were available to specific teams and departments.  The phase one timeline was designed for 8 weeks to ensure a good pace is established.  The pace ensured there was a prevailing sense of importance attached to this project as well as an energetic level of activity.

In the next entry I will explain the use of DOTS LMS to support the innovation processes.

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