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Recent research has highlighted how the Learning and Development (L&D) landscape is chock full of innovative practices. L&D professionals provide some key strategies that illustrate how the journey to fostering a culture of innovation throughout your organization can start in the training room.

Because technology is becoming ever more integrated into our daily lives, business in today’s market is a whirlwind of constant developments and advancements. Staying at the forefront of this innovative environment is a key factor in retaining your organization’s competitive edge. But how can you climb to the top of your industry’s innovation ladder?

In’s 2019 L&D report, conversations with practicing L&D professionals showed that fostering a culture of innovation within the walls of your organization through learning & development translates to market competitiveness in the long term. A competitive edge is certainly useful in terms of generating revenue over your competitors, but a culture of innovation actually impacts your organizational culture from top to bottom; extra revenue is a lucrative cherry on top.

In a similar report from, 42% of respondents reported professional development as their most valued employee perk, and L&D is a key factor in encouraging employee retention. L&D is the most efficient and direct way to impact your company culture, and training professionals have identified 3 key strategies to enhancing workplace innovation through L&D.

1) Get Comfortable with Innovative Technology

According to the report, companies with revenue growth are more than twice as likely to incorporate innovative technology like augmented reality and game-based learning in their training offerings. Gamification is a popular trend in eLearning training, and Virtual Reality (VR) takes gamification up another level.

Virtual RealityAccording to Forbes, VR market volume is expected to reach 98.4 million sales by 2023, and training professionals have seen the real-time impact of VR in implementing effective, innovative training. VR allows trainees to put what they’ve learned into immediate and authentic practice.

Chief Strategy Officer at the VR coaching company STRIVR finds that with VR, “You can now practice these situations. You can get a legitimate lifelike scenario with full end-to-end practice. It’s not role play. It’s alone and the stakes are free. You have this beautifully free space to practice, to stumble on your words.” While the stakes are free in a simulation, recreating a high-stakes situation gives employees the space to make mistakes and learn from them on the fly. These are skills that translate directly into engaging with the real-life pressures of business, gained through innovative training.

2) Drive Innovation Forward with Top-To-Bottom Agility

Technological innovations in training can develop employees’ flexibility, as well as their agility.

For Anthony Sandonato, VP of Learning and Development at Wyndham destinations, agility has been a key factor in his success in implementing innovative practices. He finds that an L&D strategy should be, “…built upon that flexible framework, and designed to remain nimble and adjust to continuous organizational changes without compromising either the speed or quality of…talent development strategies.”

As the importance of innovation continues to grow, your organizational priorities can turn on a dime and employees need to have the skills to keep pace. Fostering those skills in a training environment builds a culture of agility from the ground up, and an agile L&D function will keep the entirety of the machine in motion.

3) Look Outward to Effect Internal Change

So, you’re ready to implement innovation at your organization, but where do you start? Not all companies have the budgetary resources to maintain an internal professional-development team. Looking outside your company’s walls can provide the tools needed to bring innovation to your office.

Other companies may have experience with L&D strategies or referrals to external partners that proved successful for them. Partnering with external training providers can give you confidence that you will achieve a strong return on your investment. Professional training providers can tailor an L&D strategy specifically for your industry or organization, are immersed in the training industry and its best practices, and can bring new innovations and perspectives to your training strategy that you may not have considered.

Karen Bicking, Head of US Learning & Talent Development at Bayer finds that in her experience, “You can influence innovation when you’re living it.” Take the plunge by first looking inwards to understand the current landscape of innovation and training at your organization and then shift your gaze to see how outside training help can provide guidance on your journey towards innovation.


Content written by guest author: Max Maccarone

Max Maccarone is a content editor for the higher-education portal and professional-development search engine Originally from Canada, Max relocated to Stockholm after graduating from York University in Toronto. Max is an avid traveler and dedicated to creating diverse and engaging learning and development content for a wide range of publications.

CMOE guest authors are carefully selected industry experts, researchers, writers and editors with extensive experience and a deep passion for leadership development, human capital performance, and other specialty areas. Each guest author is uniquely selected for the topic or skills areas they are focused on. All posts are peer-reviewed by CMOE.

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