What does creativity in L&D look like for you?

What is L&D if it’s not a creative function? Does ‘training’ need to be creative? What’s wrong with the pedagogical approach to training? What does creativity enable in a learning environment? How do we reconcile being seen as the ‘fun’ team against the perception of not delivering on performance related objectives?

As with many teams, L&D can benefit from creative thinking. But I wonder, how creativity is part of the day to day operation of L&D, as opposed to part of the delivery.

See, if we understand how to enable better thinking, tangential thinking, lateral thinking, idea generation, and all those other things related to creativity, it shouldn’t happen in isolation in a learning event. It has to happen regularly.

Things like:

  • When you have a team meeting, or a 1:1, or the annual performance review, how many of you do this in a meeting room, or something similar, and how many purposefully go outdoors for a walk? That change of environment reduces barriers, encourages natural dialogue, and is conducive to building rapport.
  • When you are designing the strategy for L&D, how many of you sit at your PC and produce spreadsheets, and how many are at a whiteboard creating messy links and drawings? Illustrations, graphics and visual representations are a helpful way to create connections and spark different things that you may have missed in alternate fixed formats.
  • (I can hear it now – oh yeah, I use mindmaps to do that)
  • When you’re about to design a new solution, how do you experiment and try different ways of doing things? Or do you not feel you have the permission? Or have you tried to experiment and it got shot down? Or have you experimented, it didn’t work, and you gave up?
  • When you’re looking for new ideas, how often do you look to completely different fields – or even read about different fields to understand what they’re doing? Completely different fields of work can often raise completely new ways of thinking for what we do in L&D that we may never have considered an option.
  • When you’re challenged about your actual approach to designing and delivering L&D, how many get defensive? How many get curious? How many sulk? How many get collaborative? How many seek to find out more?
  • When you are in a team meeting, and someone suggests something that contradicts you, how do you face up to that humiliation and present it as respect for the other person as opposed to a slight against you?

As L&Ders, we’re probably well known for delivering good and useful learning sessions. And in those sessions, we’re probably well known for being creative about the design and delivery. But as I said above, and in the points above, creativity isn’t something restricted to just one set of stuff – it’s about how we allow for that and cultivate it in many ways so that it becomes a natural and reflexive muscle we can use regularly.


Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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