Report calls on companies to implement a clearer strategy on innovation training

The Skillnet-commissioned study found that 69% of companies don’t have any programmes in place.

By Jonathan Keane Reporter, Fora

IRISH BUSINESSES NEED to focus more attention on innovation training, according to a new study, but they need a clearer strategy on what that innovation actually is.

The study found that 69% of companies don’t provide any specific innovation training programmes for staff.

Of those that do provide training, 42% don’t have any procedures in place to evaluate how this training is running.

The study was conducted by Trainers’ Learning Skillnet Ireland, part of the national workforce training agency, and the Irish Institute of Training & Development. It is one of a series of reports that Skillnet Ireland has commissioned on the future of workplace development.

Sinéad Heneghan, chief executive of the Irish Institute of Training and Development, said the crux of the issue for a lot of companies is defining what innovation means to their business.

“We use those words all the time … I think people don’t really honestly know exactly what they mean when they use that language. Along with that it also means different things in different environments,” she said.

“Until you get clarity on that, it’s going to be slightly nebulous.”

The report urges a two-sided approach to implementing innovation training.

It recommends ‘soft’ skills that encourage generating new ideas and ‘hard’ skills that involve actually putting those ideas into practice.

Data for the report was compiled through an online survey completed by 62 organisations and face-to-face interviews with 43 individuals.

“One thing that the report has found is that there is a need for innovation training across Ireland,” Tracey Donnery, the executive director of Skillnet Ireland, said.

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Companies are facing challenges everyday when it comes to adapting to new technology and diversifying into new markets, she added.

“They may see (innovation) as a technical, engineering type of skill that really applies to developing new products only, whereas I think what we’re trying to get across is that innovation doesn’t only apply to developing a new product but actually innovating on a day-to-day basis.”

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