Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Innovating Our Industry [Seven Survival Skills]

Innovator. An innovator is defined as a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products. these are individuals who blaze a trail into a new territory. Innovation is necessary for our survival - as a people, and as an industry.


In his book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, Tony Wagner provides a clear argument for the changes that are needed in our educational system (and to some extent, our parenting styles) to create innovative people. Without innovation, we will cease to develop and exist. In his previous book, Tony identified seven survival skills that people need to possess and foster in others in order for us to continue to thrive.  These skills are also what is needed within our industry of fire protection, life safety, and codes and standards development, to enable its continued growth and impact.
  1. Critical thinking and problem solving.
  2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence.
  3. Agility and adaptability.
  4. Initiative and entrepreneurship.
  5. Accessing and analyzing information.
  6. Effective oral and written communication.
  7. Curiosity and imagination.
Tony adds to this list, “perseverance, a willingness to experiment, take calculated risks, and tolerate failure, and the capacity for “design thinking”.

The U.S. Army understands the importance and urgency to create innovative thinkers and leaders. In 2015 the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command released a “Learning Conceptpaper that identified three components that would contribute to a more competitive learning model.  These three actions can be implemented within our industries to enhance innovative thinking and growth.

  1. Convert most classroom experiences into collaborative problem-solving events led by facilitators (vs. instructors) who engage learners to think and understand the relevance and context of what they learn.
  2. Tailor learning to the individual learner’s experience and competence level based on the results of a pre-test and/or assessment.
  3. Dramatically reduce or eliminate instructor-led slide presentation lectures and begin using a blended learning approach that incorporates virtual and constructive simulations, gaming technology, or other technology-delivered instruction.
How can we foster these traits within our organizations and personnel? What tools are you using to encourage and create innovation with your company, organization, or industry at large?