Innovation and the sharing of ideas is essential if people and organisations are to adapt to modern realities, remaining agile and flexible in order to accommodate alternative futures, shocks and discontinuities. The focus of this lies not in developing more ‘knowledge’ of a technical or rational character, but rather lies in enhancing ‘adaptive’ skills, habits and perspectives (SHPs). These SHPs include enhanced emotional intelligence, metacognition and macro-cognition skills and capacities.


At Kinnford Consulting we frame this as an ‘educational challenge’. Our emphasis is andragogic (based on principles of self-directed, adult learning) rather than pedagogic (based on techniques of teacher-directed, information transfer). The key features of this approach and how it applies are set out below.

Features of Androgogic approaches:

The person is

  • Self-directed
  • Responsible for his/her own development
  • Self-evaluation is characteristic of this approach

The person’s experience

  • The person brings a greater volume and quality of experience
  • Adults are a rich resource for one another
  • Different experiences assure diversity in groups of adults
  • Experience becomes the source of self-identity

Readiness to develop

  • Any change is likely to trigger a readiness to develop
  • The need to know in order to perform more effectively in some aspect of one’s life is important
  • Ability to assess gaps between where one is now and where one wants / needs to be

Orientation to development

  • People want to perform a task, solve a problem, live in a more satisfying way
  • Development must have relevance to real-life tasks
  • Development is organised around life/work situations rather than subject matter units.

Motivation for development

  • Internal motivators: self-esteem, recognition, better quality of life, self-confidence, self-actualisation.

DEVELOPING NEW Skills, Habits, Perspectives (SHPs)

Meet the ‘adaptive challenge’, which is to know how to BE a different (expanded) type of person, leader, group, etc. This involves:

  1. What got you here won’t get you there: Grasping the range of (SHPs) that a new reality needs
  2. Gaining insight into and developing ‘conscious competence’ with new SHPs;
  3. ‘Unlearning’ and giving up those old SHPs that are now unhelpful

‘Doing things differently’ (expanded range of SHPs) to the point where ‘unconscious competence’ begins to emerge.

What does not work:

  • ‘Talking heads’ don’t create SHP change.
  • ‘Intensive’, off site ‘courses’ can give ‘knowledge’ but not SHP change
  • Developmental work separated from the worksite does not easily transfer back.

What does work:

  • The basis for adult development is active and experiential learning
  • Embedding into worksite which anchors change as it occurs.

Acquisition of new SHPs takes time. (New neuronal pathways take at least 30 days to grow but generally longer than this.)


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