Learning Powers Innovation

Technology is the poster child of business though it’s learning that powers innovation.

Before any new idea is a glint in the eye of an inventor learning is there to inspire and take the idea towards physical manifestion. 

As an idea travels the perilous journey to market people learn about it and how to fit it into their world,  then teach others how the idea serves their needs.  Eventually the learning changes how people think and act. 

It is action that spurs innovation and simply put,  learning powers innovation.

Despite this simple cause and effect  observation the business world worships technology, often at the expense of learning.  But doesn’t technology make learning ‘fater, better, cheaper’?  In my experience, generally not.  Indeed learning is slowed down by learners forced to do seeming unnatural acts to accomodate software and hardware rather than use the tools as they see fit.

Social Media and Web technologies provide us with an interesting opportunity if people are permitted to access content, tools and communities rather than forced to submit to single standards though it appears that Google, Microsoft, SAP, LinkedIn and Facebook are attempting to tightly bind customers to single digital spaces the same way as sites were designed to be sticky in the mid 1990’s.

Twitter software tools currently seen as a blessing and blight, depending on your perspective, may help users avoid the grip of Twitter.  Google is being challenged by Bing and Yahoo though revenues rise faster by distermediation within its search space.

How does all of this affect learning?

Each digital space is actually software and software is specifically designed to accelerate specific resources, enforce compliance and ‘teach’ or condition specific action.  Worse is the dizziness that happens when moving from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIN as all of the interfaces are different, the content access and navigation unique, and perhaps even worse there are very few options to ‘put down’ tools offered by the software disguised as ‘communities’.  If you don’t use their interfaces the odds are that you can’t benefit.

The visitors to popular web and social media sites learn by doing exactly what everyone else does, include creating their own content and teaching each other, but within the restrictions enforced by each digital space.

In faster and higher quality learning occurs with the support of an experienced ‘facilitator’ who  stimulates self-directed adult learning groups with a browser, a white paper and a book.  Conversations go a long way in enhancing learning.  We don’t avoid technology, rather we use when needed to go faster and only if it helps.

One of the simplest recent examples of mis-applied technology is the concept of SEO or search engin technology where business people assume that Google’s technology must be applied to increase their product or brand or corporate visibility to the world.  Millions of dollars are burned at the altar of adWords or adCenter which may be a good idea, except for the simple fact that there is virtually no way either the people  nor the search engine spiders that that find the web their web sites can learn absolutely nothing.

We show this concept quicky with SpeedSynch S5 maps and this example of Telecom New Zealand is telling though richer examples may be seen on one of our Twitter Personae @transMediaSEO while we build our SpeedSynch exemplars.

Learning drives innovation and you can learn faster by avoiding the drag of mis-applied technology.

Cheers,

Nick

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