One of the best things you can be in an educational sense is innovative – having the courage to try new things and new ways of doing things. Especially from a learning perspective trying new ways of learning is an excellent way to grow personally and professionally. You never know until you try just what methods are going to work best for you as an individual. Perhaps a more audio focussed approach of listening rather than reading will be best, or maybe you absorb knowledge best when you frequently get others to test you.
Innovation has a great deal of historical precedent ofcourse. It wins wars, builds economies and makes life better for billions. Take, for example, the history of Japanese car manufacturing following World War II. As a resource poor island nation that had just lost a major conflict badly, the Japanese were in a bad way, particularly where manufacturing was considered. Their products, particularly their cars were generally laughed at as rubbish, and poor imitations of the likes of those constructed in western factories.
Until losing the war, their automotive industries were set up alongside similar lines to the dominant American model which advocated lower costs through economies of scale. What the Japanese manufacturers did however was innovate. The brought in new practices often referred to as “Just in Time” manufacturing processes which allowed them to innovate and update their production lines to meet changing demands much quicker than the bulky and ponderous western methods of the time. Today, Japanese car manufacturers are amongst the biggest and most respected in the world and have factories in places like Wales and the United States to meet global demand for their products.
That said, innovation is hard and coming up with good ideas yourself can be a struggle. Fortunately, you don’t always have to come up with a good idea – being prepared to try out the good ideas of others is also a fine way to seek improvement for yourself. Today for example, the Japanese themselves face stiff competition from ultra-flexible competitors throughout Asia such as in China and Korea.
From a learner’s perspective, whatever you decide, the important thing is to be prepared to try new things. The best and most immediate thing of course is to try other peoples methods. We’ve already talked about some on our Blog here at ADL and its quite easy to find other ideas online. But don’t be afraid to try your own ideas! Who knows, you might well be on the threshold of something that will change your life forever!
Until next time,
Director – Academy for Distance Learning.