Innovation is easy to talk about, but difficult to do !
Teaching Innovation is fun, but it is difficult to convey the challenges of managing innovation without fully immersing students in a practical environment. So when Covid 19 locked everyone behind a screen, we needed to act fast to rethink the Innovation course in our International Marketing and Business Development program. SKEMA’s IMBD course is famous for its active learning experience. In our innovation course students learn new tools and methods which call for constant iteration and feedback, as well as creative and strategic thinking.
Not an easy job because the engagement rules are different when face to face or remote, or worse when students are on their own asynchronous journey. Although the new generation is digital native, they equally struggle to work together in virtual environments.
What did we do ?
We flipped the classroom experience and did the following:
- We paced weekly progress linked to high quality asynchronous content: (they watch, they practice, and they refine their insights).
- We designed weekly 90 mins sessions centered on practice and feedback with knowledge checks
- We adopted a professional Innovation platform (Exago) used by industry leaders enabling projects to be shared and commented by all participating students.
- We embedded a gamified reward system. Students were rewarded for active, collaborative and constructive behavior.
- Finally, we engaged seasoned professionals who helped us in defining the innovation challenges. They helped us to appraise the ideas during the pitch sessions and shared their feedback to each project directly in the platform.
After 12 weeks of this exercise, the results in terms of student engagement and quality surpassed our best expectations! We covered over 13 different steps from market segmentation to innovation prototyping and pitching. Engagement spiked inside the dedicated Exago platform. 58 groups of students shared full visibility on the interactions within and between projects. Thanks to the dashboard, we had real-time data on each project interaction.
What did we learn from the numbers ?
Out of 270 individuals, 96% actively participated in the exercise. On average, each person interacted 33 times through appraisal votes or qualitative comments. Collectively, the projects benefited from over 33 hundred evaluations and more than 5000 comments. Our students appraised on average 3.6 times more and commented 34 times more than a best-in-class example provided by Exago.
What do these numbers mean ?
It would be impossible to exchange so many ideas face to face. Barriers of time and space would prevent so many interactions among so many people. This experience shows us the incredible potential of combining asynchronous and synchronous tools to enhance peer to peer learning. This does not by any means substitute face to face interactions. However, collaborative IT platforms can give us the best of both worlds.
As a conclusion,
Trainers don’t own the truth!
Peer review can be powerful when used correctly! Our experience shows that this can be achieved through a gamified, fully transparent, respectful and constructive environment.
- Distance learning changes the rules of engagement, and so should our methods and supporting tools.
- Constant feedback from facilitators and peers is key to support distant learning journeys.
- Autonomy within clear boundaries is essential for peer to peer collaboration.