Changing a process or implementing a new and exciting learning management system does not constitute innovation. Change occurs because a decision is made to improve the existing state of a process. Many times, the decision to improve a method is warranted because a modified procedure may involve a technological advancement and eventually become more efficient and effective. Change becomes innovative when those who are impacted by the change are involved in the creation of the change.
Involving individuals in the change process creates an accepting and engaged workforce. Brown (as cited in Dron, 2014, p. 252) asserted that organizations that take employees out of their positions and have them create an innovative process, do in fact create something innovative. The challenge is that unless the innovation seeps into and spreads throughout the organization it does not become embedded in the workplace. When innovation seeps throughout an organization it is used by more than just the innovators of the change. The question is, How does innovation become embedded and spread throughout the workplace?
Embedding innovation is a cultural shift. Innovation filters through an organization when the people who are required to use the new process are given the opportunity to understand how it works. This opportunity builds appreciation for and provides time to understand the benefits of the change. Everyone learns in a different way and at a different time. Individuals need sufficient time, tools and opportunities to learn the new process (Dron, 2014). A workplace that understands these factors provides employees opportunities to build their skills, knowledge and abilities. Skill building embeds change in the organization and makes it innovative because it is used and adopted on a daily basis.
As Dron (2014) so eloquently stated, “To learn is also to learn to learn, and learning to learn is thus, more often than not, to change how we go about changing” (p. 261).
Dron, J. (2014). Chapter 9: Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press.