The pursestrings in business are almost never tied to learning. If they were, professional development would not be a last resort for creating culture, nor would it be thought of as being near Dante’s lowest circles of hell. I believe the following to be true: if the investment in learning is not made, then the outcomes of change will never be felt.
Just as classroom culture is not an accident, business culture is a function of all stakeholders. This means that holding the acts of authentic learning as only being for those in charge is a serious misuse of power. If we hold onto the most powerful acts of innovation as if they were something to be hoarded, we will never see potential fulfilled or engagement attained.
So, what does it mean to stop gatekeeping innovation?
- It means you should ask the big questions of even the smallest stakeholders.
- It means you should create a story, craft an interesting example, or wordsmith a model of exactly who you are and how you relate to the task at hand (do not outsource this, authenticity is key!) and then ask for response.
- It means you should concoct a unique metaphor (no wheels, keys, or paintings allowed) to illustrate your ideas and request people to author a new one.
- It means you should create an experience that cannot be had elsewhere, and ask others to recreate it for themselves in their own channels.
Authentic Learning Environments are not just for the classroom. They are even more important when the stakes and expectations are set in the margins of profit rather than the margins of paper.