Monday, December 19, 2011

Innovation in Learning: Nurturing PEARL

I was invited to be part of a panel at Bangalore HR Summit. I chose the theme "Innovative Learning and Development Strategies". I always enjoy building a concept towards a talk in front of enthusiasts and experts. My audience were HR or L&D VPs, Directors, Senior Managers of the best companies in India. I presented a learning paradigm that was brewing inside me for a while and named it Nurturing PEARL.
Nurturing PEARL is a innovative learning methodology that helps human beings transforms information to knowledge; knowledge to wisdom; and wisdom to value. Therefore, Nurturing PEARL is a value creation paradigm (commercial, societal or individual value) to transform individual and collective human potential into an Excellence Zone. This is achieved by integrating modern research and ancient wisdom. The result is "Participative, Experiential, Associative, and Reflective Learning" methodology. This method is designed keeping in mind 'how human mind works'. Nurturing PEARL methods ensure that a candle of wisdom is ignited in the learner's intellect to find his / her way into theExcellence Zone. Target Audience: These strategies are effective for children, professionals and executives alike. With the context and examples changed a bit, people of all ages can get benefited by this blend of modern research and ancient wisdom.

Some folks asked a few questions that I could not answer at the venue, so I am including the Q&A here for everyone's benefit.

Q: oWhy there is resistance to innovation mindset in Indian organizations? Does taking risk play any role?
A: Your question on Innovation mindset and resistance reflect the situation I face in almost all organization I interact with during my creativity and innovation workshops. As I had mentioned, we acquire and evaluate information yet fail to convert it into knowledge or wisdom that becomes part of an individual or organizational attitude. As you have mentioned, risk aversion is another aspect of our culture. Additionally, how serious stakeholders are in creating an innovative environment is also a significant factor. Because of these primary factors, innovation stays as a workshop / motivation phenomenon in many organizations. To create a sustained innovation environment, a regular pep-and-use refresh has to happen i.e. keep championing innovation along with keep utilizing new methodologies to create value.

Q: How to Impress upon faculty and students about the need for L&D with increasing emphasis on placement / jobs?

A:This is a very serious issue and that is why I believe quality of modern education system in India is way behind some of the western countries in achieving its objectives. The gap between real world / industry and academia is growing as the criteria for success in the academia is very different than what is expected out of students once they enter professional life. That is why stress and depression is becoming our national disease. I myself feel that only less than 5% of what I studied in my engineering degree ever got utilized in my life directly. But when I did my MBA in the US, it was different. The focus was on learning and I totally enjoyed it (and continue to enjoy applying the knowledge in the real world now). As you have pointed out, to initiate and scale the change, we have to ensure the educators are communicating value of education in its true sense to the students. I have worked with some educational institutes and developed a new paradigm of "Academic Leadership". Our educators have to become leaders so we can bring transformation in the society. An inner transformation is required before we expect an outer transformation.

Q: How would you address an atheist employee on the Spiritual Quotient? What approach should be adopted?

A: First of all, the concept of spirituality has to redefined and clarified for the people. The word "spirituality" invokes conflicting emotions and the relevance to professionals or achieving excellence is not immediately visible. When I talk about spirituality, I am referring to the energy that is unleashed by tapping into one's deepest values and defining a strong sense of purpose - a capacity that helps us sustain in the face of adversities, and creates a power source of motivation, focus, determination, and resilience.

So there is no religion or sect philosophy in this definition of spirituality. The innovation is in the way we present our own experiences and ancient wisdom to achieve this purpose. As I had mentioned, this has become my life's purpose - uncovering wisdom and purpose from the rituals and religion and utilize the essence to unleash human potential to achieve organizational and personal excellence.

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