Project Based Learning to Innovate

I’ve recently had two of the most powerful learning experiences of my professional career. Both experiences involved projects in which I accepted a new challenge. One, I found and interviewed 107 innovative leaders at a wide variety of organizations to learn how they were learning and doing innovation. Two, based on things I learned while doing those interviews, I did something I’d never done before…acquired another web business.

Project Based Learning

I’ll describe both of these in more detail in future articles. But…a key thing I learned was that to learn innovation you have to do innovation. It isn’t enough to keep reading books, blogs, tweets, or watching TED Talks online. You have to do. Take on a challenge to develop something new. As a result of doing that, you learn the knowledge and skills needed along the way through seeking information online and talking to people….and then taking action and implementing changes as you go. I recommend developing something you’ve never built before…but that thing you develop is still is a complimentary fit with you or your organization.

I’ve done this “project” before with writing a book, designing a website, building apps, conducting a research study, starting a business, and now acquiring another business that someone was selling. I’ve spent years in graduate school reading articles and writing papers but I’ve developed the most skill through these different projects where I had to develop something new for real purposes.

What is a challenge or project you would like to take on? Remember, you learn most not by reading what others write, taking tests, listening to podcasts, etc…but by actually doing and creating for yourself. Developing something for real and for you.

What innovation project could you work on? The goal is to develop something new that you’ve never done before that could be useful to you or your organization. I recommend this entrepreneurial innovation online course that will walk you through identifying a challenge or project in your sweet spot and then generating and developing ideas for it.

If you do the activities in the online course and engage in real project based learning, please leave a comment or send me a message to let me know what project you are working on! Currently tools like Miro, a versatile online whiteboarding tool, can really help you visualize your project and work with others on it. Miro is a digital collaboration tool similar to LucidSpark and Figjam…all are great options for your projects and ultimately – learning.

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