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The word innovation is thrown around a lot these days. Everyone knows that we need to innovate to stay ahead, but fewer people really know what innovating entails.
While it all sounds very impressive, what do we really mean when we say that companies and products need to innovate?
We mean they need to change, and most importantly, they need to embrace that change.
Innovation at SocialTalent
SocialTalent has been working on disrupting the learning space for years now and we’ve changed a lot in that time.
We’ve gone from classroom learning to an online LMS (learning management system), to a non-linear based form of learning ie. learn what you need, when you need it.
We are driven by the determination to stay ahead of curve for our learners.
Innovation in this sector can be hard. Learning and teaching are age-old traditions and more established companies can be slow to embrace a new form of learning that doesn’t fit the mould they have in their heads. However, the results speak for themselves, and our combination of personalised Learning Paths, Behavioural Nudges, and Analytics show huge improvements for our customers who embrace this new way of thinking.
Thinking doesn’t have to mean what it used to, we’re trying to change the narrative and help people realise how powerful learning can be, especially when they get to control when and how they learn.
But innovation comes with its challenges too. Change is hard and change is scary. We’ve learned that sometimes a severe change, while it gets you to an end result quicker, it causes so much detriment to a user experience that a user will reject that entire experience. Even the big companies know that, and sometimes they take the risk anyway.
The changing of the algorithms within Facebook and Instagram are widely regarded as annoying by most end users, but the paying advertisers can benefit from them and so they stay. But most of these companies are constantly testing their new ideas, seeing which new innovative features will work best for them, and then release them to their full user base.
In some cases, changes have been so extreme that companies have had to backtrack and create a “midway” step between the way the platform currently is and the way they want it to be in the future, just to make sure they don’t shock their end users too much!
Piece by piece
Here in SocialTalent we follow a similar pattern. We have a test environment where we build new features and test them for bugs, iterate them, and approve features for release.
Next, we release our newest features to the SocialTalent company. Our employees use our platform to do their own training and because they know the system so well they are the perfect test group for an Alpha launch! Following feedback from our internal users, we release our best and brightest ideas to the rest of our Learners, take in their feedback, and then figure out ways to continue improving our system.
The feedback loop is critical to innovation. Without feedback and evidence, we are simply wandering in the dark with our arms outstretched hoping to hit a wall. Making sure to listen to end-users will ensure that your new ideas will be well accepted by those that you want to engage with.
Find your problem, come up with a solution, listen to how your solution can be improved, and then keep finding new ways to improve it!
Innovation is embracing change, and change never stops!
Shauna Carrick is Associate Product Manager at SocialTalent. She helps build the beautiful world of learning that customers like Axa, Manpower and Randstad recruiters depend on.