The Innovation Award is for learning executives who have marshaled resources and applied innovative practices, processes and/or technologies in a new and groundbreaking way to address a significant business or organizational opportunity.
DIVISION 1: For companies with 10,000 employees or more
Mariam Kakkar, Chief, Talent Development Unit, United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is one of the oldest and largest U.N. agencies, working to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequalities, and ensure sustainable economic and social development in more than 170 countries. The Talent Development Unit uses an innovative approach to offer leadership and management learning opportunities to those working for UNDP, independent of their level, their contract status or their location, which is considered a game-changer in the U.N. system, according to the company’s application. Mariam Kakkar helped launch the innovative approach titled Leadership Development for All with the sole objective of driving a culture of continuous learning, innovation and knowledge creation. Additionally, the updated leadership development portfolio, which launched in 2017, added more than 10 new programs across all grade levels.
The Leadership Development Pathway will now include the three-month virtual learning program LDP Foundations; LDP1: Emerging Leaders and LDP2: Future Leaders, a 12-month virtual learning program; LDP4: Executive Education, which includes scholarships for open-enrollment programs at leading business schools; LDP RR, a customized training program for senior leaders of UNDP Country teams; a Women’s Development Programme which is a blended learning program for high-potential female staff; and last, the Senior Executive Programme. UNDP has seen a tenfold increase in reach, advancing from 200 participants in L&D programs in 2016 to 2,000 participants in May 2018. Across the globe, 56 female learners and almost 30 percent of all learners are based in “hardship locations” like Afghanistan, Syria or North Korea, where learning opportunities are low. UNDP saw major success and is now considered the benchmark within the U.N. system for offering inclusive and innovative leadership development.
Blaire Bhojwani, Senior Director, Learning Innovation, Hilton
Faced with the business challenge of figuring out how to build empathy in employees who have no hospitality experience without pulling them away from their duties, Blaire Bhojwani helped implement the Business Immersion Virtual Reality Program. The VR-based learning solution combines 360-degree video, 3D objects and animation that fully immerse the learner in hotel operations, according to the company’s application. The first step in this learning initiative was to get stakeholder buy-in at the highest level, but it proved easy with the knowledge that they had a forward thinking CHRO. Next, after storyboarding and getting approval for the strategy, the team held VR 101 workshops for the HR teams and discussed equipment and tested the VR themselves.
After getting some direction, structure and adding necessary revisions such as a VR coach to guide the learner, cheer them on and provide help if needed, the VR Business Immersion was first piloted and then launched at a Hilton Leadership Group meeting in front of 300 senior leaders. After some minor obstacles were figured out, the team streamlined it down to eight tasks and added a checklist. The initiative has shifted expectations of how VR can be used for onboarding, has successfully been used to build empathy for team members and drives business performance.
Elizabeth MacGillivray, Strategic Learning Leader, Mercer
With the knowledge that increasing its budget was not an option and that learning is a business imperative, Elizabeth MacGillivray and her team at Mercer introduced Micro Experiences and deconstructed learning into 30-minute bites delivered within virtual festivals, according to the company. Micro Experiences offer tasks and assignments people can complete in addition to their usual work, which allows them to explore different parts of the firm. The company adopted a “peer to peer” learning model, a “work fast, fail fast” scrum approach and created a virtual festival framework, which included 30-minute-long interactive sessions delivered by volunteering colleagues. In 2017, the company reported that 6,000 additional hours of learning were recorded at zero cost.
DIVISION 2: For companies with less than 10,000 employees
Nancy Robert, Executive Vice President, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, American Nurses Association
American Nurses Association Enterprises — a professional association and credentialing organization serving 4 million American nurses — is like many other organizations with multiple subsidiaries. Each of these subsidiaries had its own LMS and way for customers to buy content, but it was too difficult for leaders to share content with customers. This created the problem of unengaged learners unable to provide feedback to the organization. Nancy Robert and her team recognized this problem and met it head-on, coming up with the goal of finding a single, simple platform through which customers could access course material from and get more engaged with learning by personalizing it to meet their individual needs based on experience level and circumstances.
“Learner engagement is not a nice-to-have for us; it’s mandatory,” Robert said in the application. ANA Enterprise conducted a comprehensive, 18-month worldwide search before choosing D2L’s next-generation learning experience platform, Brightspace. Robert then had her team and D2L collaborate to restructure learning materials for more personalized, engaging content. Additionally, Robert and her team translated course information from 400 products into smaller chunks, while grouping courses together thematically so learners could ingest it in short bites.
Now, eight outdated delivery systems are combined into a single LMS, impacting 104,000 employees. It has since seen increases to learner customer satisfaction Net Promoter Scores and continues to deliver new, creative ways of learning to its customers.
Mike Blanchette, Senior Director, Sales Acceleration, Veeam
After being hired by Veeam in early 2017 as senior director of global sales acceleration, Mike Blanchette immediately assessed the learning staff, learning strategies, content technologies and impact on business results. Blanchette’s first step was to create an organizational structure which supported the mantra “Veeam Fast,” as well as implement a major initiative to revamp the new-hire training program. Blanchette reduced the bulky six-month program to a self-guided online platform, according to the company’s application. Sellers are now trained before their quota starts, and this change required the launch of a new LMS with competency mapping and a social learning platform where recorded sales pitches and product demonstrations are viewed and rated by the sales organization.
Joe Ilvento, Chief Learning Officer, Commvault
In an industry where career development is essential to all employees and outdated skills translate into a competitive disadvantage, Commvault empowered employees and managers to quickly asses, prioritize and develop specific skills with a global business tool. Joe Ilvento and his team’s learning strategy started with a business strategy. The project leveraged a five-phase partnership with the business. Phase one included the creation of job roles and levels and identifying a set of job core competencies, which each had a subset of three to five competencies. Phase two was an innovative strategy and one of the biggest keys to the solution’s success, where vendor-purchased job competencies were the basis of assessment before that was deemed too subjective and a Knowledge, Skills and Abilities/Key Performance Indicator description approach was applied. Phase three was the mapping of individual competency proficiency levels to training, coaching and on-the-job development activities. Phase four saw the launch of the tool in the field. And phase five was a live launch, which has since seen great success. Overall, the company indicates that individual development plans and/or the number of career conversations have increased by 454 percent for those who have completed the program over those who have not.
Meriya Dyble, Director, Learning Reimagined, ATB Financial
After making the major investment in 2017 to transition 5,300 team members from Microsoft Office to Google’s G-suite as part of its Work Reimagined strategy, Meriya Dyble put her reading skills about peer-to-peer learning to the test. The results were a peer-to-peer learning strategy that taught team members enough competency in the G-suite to reimagine the way they work. Five hundred team members from varying levels across the company were chosen from a self-selected process and were ready to support the change. The results indicate strategic planning, consolidation and reporting are now twice as fast.
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