Why Innovation Trainings are a Waste of Money?

Photo: Dollar bill by TaxRebate on Flickr

Part of my job is to design and deliver innovation trainings. You could say I help organizations’ most valuable asset — people — change. In the last year, I’ve trained more than 500 people. Together with people I work closely with, we’ve trained thousands of people. We’ve worked with both big corporations and small-sized companies and different industries. We witness high appetite for innovation trainings and serious budgets spend on workshops alone. The question is are they worth it?

As an analogy, let’s think for a minute about personal change. Have you ever wanted to get fit? I did. If you are like me you must have tried training “at this awesome gym with that energizing instructor” or “this lovely app with yoga-inspired coaching sessions” or similar recommendation. Did it work? No.

It is the same with innovation trainings. If you’re lucky, you might contract an experienced agency with knowledgeable trainers who will design and deliver a meaningful and interactive innovation training for your team. The question is what do you do after that? Because if you stop there, you’re wasting your money.

Attending a 3 day innovation training is like going to the gym for a 3 hour yoga class once. Investing in it is not a strategy for long term change. For change to happen and deliver results you need deliberate practice. You need to translate the knowledge from the innovation training to your real projects. You need to do what the coach showed you. Every day. On your own. And that is hard!

At ReFacilitate we can help. In order to support the innovation daily practice we connect companies to independent innovation facilitators. Unlike innovation trainers who come for a couple days, facilitators get embedded for up to several months and work on a daily basis with teams and individuals. Our facilitators act as one part on-the-job coaches and one part team members. At the price of a 3-day workshop, they stay for a full month and can work with several teams and individuals.

At ReFacilitate we know that innovation workshops are not enough. We founded our company on the belief that affordable continued support and internally grown innovation teams are the way to go for corporate innovation. And we have a network of capable facilitators to deliver the promise.

About the author

Elina Zheleva is a Design Thinking Evangelist trained at the HPI School of Design Thinking and Stanford d.school. She travels the world and works with organisations to help them transform into more customer-centred and innovative workplaces. She is the co-founder of ReFacilitate — a company dedicated to helping organizations build internal innovation capabilities.