Career Insight

How Training Can Hinder Creativity and Innovation


Posted: Mar 8, 2017

By: Christine Wilton



You may be wondering why someone who has worked in continuing education for the past 10 years and is a passionate advocate for lifelong learning would write an article about how training can hinder creativity and innovation. The truth is it can. Overtraining is a problem I have seen when working with organizations.

Training and learning are often used interchangeably, but the meaning is different, particularly for the participant.


Training is about getting your employees to do what you want them to do, the way you want them to do it. Your employees are groomed to follow a set of fixed expectations and ideas.   Training is usually about the organization and not the employee.


Learning goes beyond training and focuses on the employee integrating new skills and behaviours into their work. Learning boosts employee engagement, empowerment, and productivity so that your organization and your employees grow and progress at the same time.

There is definitely a need to include training into your learning and development strategic plan. For example, employees need training to learn a new software system, use a machine, or to learn about new compliance requirements. The problem occurs when you overtrain.  Have you ever worked for an organization that has a toolkit, script, process manual, and templates for everything? Overtraining can suck the creativity and innovation right out of your best and brightest.

If your organization has a training culture emphasizing command and control while lacking innovation and creativity, it is time to take action and begin to strengthen your organizational learning culture.

At Western Continuing Studies, we are in the business of learning. We can help you develop corporate learning solutions for an employee or your entire team. Whether you would like to discuss your challenges or opportunities, we would love to chat about learning and development with you!


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