Innovation is the answer! GoInnovate! makes it happen!

INNOVATION & TRAINING

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW PAPAGEORGE

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Q: How did you develop the GoInnovate! System and when was it created? In the early 80’s, I co-develop the first personal daily planner in the United States, called the Personal Resource System®. It utilized a systems thinking approach, which helped people think differently. It was very successful, for it changed the way people thought about how they invest their time.

GoInnovate! took that same systems thinking approach and focused on the individual, team and organization – the three levels of living systems inside organizations.

The GoInnovate! System arose out of my personal purpose, which is, “To help people have in their lives what means the most to them.” All of our training programs are very application-oriented. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. Our hands-on “real world” approach is very necessary, especially for teaching innovation. And yes, innovation can be taught!

Q: Can you tell us more about that? Today most individuals, teams and organizations want to be more innovative. But not many organizations know how to nurture a culture of innovation. We help them do it with assessments, workshops, online classes and consulting. Innovation has always been seen as an illusive concept, an “intangible” that cannot be taught or measured. We take issue with that. Our participants in our workshops work on an actual business innovations within their team. It makes the application instant, personal and, therefore, more effective. We also have built-in processes whereby measurements are agreed upon before the actual projects are assigned.

In our Certification Program we certify people to be Professional Innovators. But underneath that title, they are trained to provide systemic solutions that consistently produce business results.

Q: What is your approach to training in general? When I was at the University of Wisconsin in the early 70s, getting my Master’s in Organizational Development, I was the teaching assistant for the basic communications class. It was being taught, as many courses were, from the textbook, and the testing was taken from the book as well. I did my thesis on applying an experiential approach to communications, which is how the class was taught from that day forward. It made a huge difference in the learning and the engagement of the students. From that understanding, I developed a deep appreciation for the importance of creating the right conditions for people to experience what they are learning.

When people are open, they move beyond deeply held beliefs, and that leads to great collaboration and learning. Recent research shows that the heart has more nerve endings than the mind, so it is important to facilitate learning that engages both the heart and the mind. That’s when people truly learn.

Q: What about the GoInnovate! Academy training is radically different than any other training that you have done? One of the things I learned early on in working with organizations is that we usually blame people for failures without taking into account the conditions in which those people are working. Where we used to focus mostly on the individual and the team, we now include the Context (People, Structures, Technology and Processes) in our Academy. Any one of those contextual elements can help or hinder learning (and thus innovation). GoInnovate! generates an environment of freedom and creativity so that individuals are willing to take risks. My greatest joy is to see people in our Academy applying the System and having an “aha!” moment as they begin to understand how it works.

Q: What do you see for future of training? We have to make better use of technology in our training. Our biggest challenge is how to delivering training across geographical borders. That is why we developed our online training allows participants to learn at their own pace, and then connect through webinars and teleconferences to share insights across industries and cultures. While there still is a need for face-to-face training and consulting, I am excited about the IT possibilities available to trainers and educators. Innovations are happening every day. The possibilities are endless. GoInnovate!