Business Driven Action Learning

Sometimes a company or team needs a new, innovative product, design or solution, and is looking for an innovation process, to drive out-of-the-box creative thinking. Business Driven Action Learning is a powerful combination of Creative Thinking and Knowledge Management, which allows teams to develop step-change solutions.

To be successful all BDAL projects must have all of the following ingredients. Not having them all won't automatically lead to failure, but it will increase the probability of a disappointing outcome.

A key tool in the BDAL process is understanding how the stakeholders interact and how they can impact the outcome of the project. Using the stakeholder template to guide your thinking, and to identify people or organisations that you either need to connect to or be cognisant of in order to find knowledge and learn about issues so that you can gather insights and ideas that will help you to solve it!

Preparation. BDAL is a process that requires considerable upfront planning and organisation. We suggest you spend at least 40% of the total time of the project on the initial preparation steps. The first step in preparing a BDAL project is to identify the question that the company or team wish to find the answer to. This may seem like a simple step but pay particular attention to it as it will be the foundation upon which the rest of the project will be built.

Select and prepare the team. Diversity amongst team members is key - both diversity of backgrounds, and diversity of working styles. This is a point that you must get across to the sponsor. Without that diversity, the outcome will be seriously eroded.

Brief the team and identify targets. In many organisations there is a default assumption that when a group of people are brought together they will automatically form a team. Don't take that chance when managing a BDAL project. You should plan to spend a week building the team and equipping them with the tools that they will require while they are undertaking the research and developing the potential solution. It is strongly recommended that you use professional team building resources to build the team.

Idea finding, solution selection and development. You should aim to spend 50% of the time on this phase. During this phase the team will research and visit organisations who could potentially contribute to the eventual solution. The knowledge that is created during this phase will be immense and daily After Action reviews are a must. Knowledge Management technology should also be provided to allow the team to store their learning. The technology must allow access to this learning while the team are on the road to enable past learning to be access and married with the current learning possibly to send the team in a new direction.

Closure and reflection. You should aim to spend 10% of the time on this phase as it is designed to allow the team to reach closure on the BDAL process and allow them to start to re-enter into the mainstream of the organisation again. The personal change in team members may be very large and they may require assistance to re-enter the mainstream organisation. This is something you should plan for and have high quality coaching available for those who require it.

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