Tool Training

Playbook for innovation learning | 35 diagrams to support talking and thinking about learning for innovation

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 21 May 2018

This playbook was written by Bas Leurs and Isobel Roberts, and produced by Nesta’s Innovation Skills team

This playbook has been created for innovation practitioners who want to spread innovation skills, methods and tools.



Over the past three years, in Nesta’s Innovation Skills team we’ve had numerous conversations with colleagues, partners, participants and practitioners about building innovation capacity for the public and development sector. Whether in a design workshop, briefing or strategy session – or just an informal conversation – we often found ourselves quickly sketching a model, or pulling out a diagram from a slide deck, or a printed copy
of a deck (as shown in the photo) to support the conversation, stimulate discussion or challenge thinking on learning for innovation.

We have been collecting these frequently used diagrams, models and frameworks, and are now publishing them in this ‘Playbook for innovation learning’. Alongside each of the 35 diagrams, we’ve added a short description explaining their purpose and background and how we use them to help others think about and discuss learning for innovation.

Who might find this book useful?

This is a practitioners book, it is written for innovation practitioners who want to spread innovation skills, methods and tools. When we wrote this book we had practitioners with several years of experience in mind, but we believe that newcomers may also find it useful. We see that innovation practitioners, at some point in time, get involved in – or tasked with – the design and delivery of a learning offer or capacity building programme, but might not
have a background or training in learning design. We made this book to provide them with a foundation and structure for making innovation learning decisions – including designing more effective learning experiences, identifying and articulating learning needs, pitching a learning offer at the right level, connecting a team or innovation strategy with learning and development, etc.

This book is not meant as an introduction to learning or instructional design, but instead we see it more as a toolkit. If you are looking for an introduction to learning design, we highly
recommend Julie Dirksen’s book Design for How People Learn.

How to use this book

We often use these diagrams in a non-linear, interactive way, going back and forth between them, or combining them, and we suggest you might use them in a similar way. While there isn’t a comprehensive narrative that connects all these diagrams in a linear way, we have grouped them into five categories to make browsing easier, although you may notice that some diagrams fit into more than one category. These categories are:

  • Learning processes & strategy
  • Competencies & expertise levels
  • Content & communication
  • Design & innovation processes
  • Team & innovation strategy

Please bear in mind that this book is not an exhaustive list of diagrams. We are conscious that there are many more models, concepts and frameworks on learning and innovation out there, and we are also well aware that some models included here are not supported by rigorous academic research. Instead, we have selected those that in our experience have prompted reflective conversations and inspired action. These models alone are not recipes for success, instead consider them as the seasoning to add flavour and depth to your discussions.
This is also not a static document; as our thinking on learning for innovation develops, we may add or revise diagrams and publish updated versions of this book. We also invite you – particularly the visual thinkers among us – to customise these diagrams to your own needs. You may even generate your own diagrams whilst in discussion, and over time create your own playbook. 








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