Stop Looking for Innovators

A new study compares social learning and innovation – and finds social learning produces better results

Social learning bests innovation, announces a new study out of Indiana University.
Panopto Enterprise Video Platform - Social Learning
In research published in December, a team of IU cognitive scientists reported that in experiments designed to assess the uses of innovation and imitation in solving problems, it was those people who observed and imitated others – the imitators, not the innovators – who get better results.

The reason, according to IU’s Thomas Wisdom, co-author of the study, is that “imitators often make their own improvements to the original solution, and these can, in turn, be adopted and improved upon by the originator and others.”

“Innovation” has become a buzzword in business for a reason – new ideas have the potential to radically change the way businesses operate.

But it’s too easy to mischaracterize innovation as an act of pure creative epiphany – eureka flashes of insight that deliver whole new ideas, perfect and complete.

Almost always, true innovation is more subtle – and more prevalent. A front line employee finds a way to improve a regular process. An analyst writes a short macro to speed up work in Excel. A member of the sales team stumbles on a new strategy that really clicks with buyers.

These are all innovations, but true to the results found at Indiana University, they aren’t new ideas so much as new improvements.

At most organizations, your people are finding new ways to be more productive every day. The key to turning those new personal improvements into organizational best practices – the kind of secrets that become competitive advantages – is how well your people can recognize and share those improvements with their colleagues.

Looking to the future, social learning is one of the trends in learning and development we’re most excited about. Video is one of the most effective ways to teach and share just about any new idea, process, or tool – video is engaging, easy to understand, and best of all quick to create, share, and watch.

Panopto was designed to make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to record and share any idea with any video recording device. Want to see how our video platform can help ignite your organization’s social learning? Find out today with a free 30 day trial of Panopto.

Published: February 07, 2014