To be competitive in the global economy, the Pew Center asserts that right brain innovative capability must be used to do NEW WORK — because “left brain” routine work will be outsourced more and more to countries where there is cheaper labor to do these routine jobs. This is especially important for Canada, which ranks 14th in Innovation amongst 17 peer nations, according to a recent Conference Board report (the USA ranks 3rd). To meet this challenge, different kinds of Knowledge Solutions can be used for different purposes. For example: Reciprocal knowledge exchange between researchers with chemical and electronics backgrounds enabled Eastman Kodak to create hybrid products for the digital age. Knowledge transfer from C-level officers (CEO, CFO, etc.) to lower-level positions ensured retention of critical organizational knowledge needed for successful succession planning at Sony Electronics and Winthrop Pharmaceuticals. Knowledge harvesting of the unique problem-solving ability and practices of each independent researcher at AIL Systems generated additional business. Knowledge sharing between departments (e.g., Sales and Finance) and between management and labor overcame “silo thinking” at CSX Transportation to produce innovative services for customers and profits for shareholders. Knowledge translation converts knowledge and creative ideas into new products; AT&T did this to get new and better consumer products to market faster.
My wife and I have been innovators in education and corporate settings for over 30 years. At the University of British Columbia, we discovered how to enable future teachers (as mentors) to identify and respond to individual differences in learners by carrying out a Mentor-Assisted Enrichment Project with 2-5 proteges in grades 4-12. Via R&D, we discovered how to properly structure MAEPs for gifted/talented, ESL and at-risk youth to produce appropriate outcomes (higher-level thinking, better language facility, motivation to stay in school). The mentors reported that they learned more about working with individuals than they did in any other way during their B.Ed Program. When we started our company, we combined the educational paradigm (emphasizes methods and process) with the corporate paradigm (emphasizes results), to create over 200 distinctive programs for corporate and government clients. Each program was collaboratively planned to meet different business goals and the needs/goals of individual participants. We created paper products to enhance success, and later converted these into a web-based system that manages the entire process (registration and matching participants to work together in different ways, online training, monitoring activity, evaluating results). Our website lists “Firsts” we pioneered and continue to do.
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