In an industry that tends to lapse into inspirational memes at the drop of a hat, we too often spout motherhood statements about innovation while conveniently ignoring its more troubling flip side, risk.
There is no innovation without risk. And this, one could argue, is the nub of the problem faced currently by L&D in the UK as revealed within the pages of Embracing Change, the industry benchmark report released this week by Towards Maturity. The risky business of learning innovation seems just too rich for the blood of many in training, a branch of the enterprise that, historically, has not had that much to do with the sort of high-stakes investments that digital transformation often requires.
Partly in consequence of its back story, training has lagged in adoption of digital technology when compared to its swankier cousins, marketing and finance. By comparison, training comes across in the numbers (if not in the rhetoric) as unadventurous and risk-averse. Course-based, stand-up training is still massively dominant in UK organisations, and training continues to be seen as a cost centre, rather than as the engine of growth and competitive advantage.
However. While the headline result of this year’s benchmark research – ‘70% of L&D teams fail to improve business productivity’ – might seem dispiriting; and Clive Shepherd, for one, pulled no punches in pointing out exactly how ‘stuck’ the report shows L&D to be, there are clear indications in the report of what L&D should do to improve this situation, and a growing evidence base on which it can draw in doing so.