The Innovation Award is for learning executives who have marshaled resources and applied innovative practices, processes and/or technologies in a new and groundbreaking way to address a significant business or organizational opportunity.
DIVISION 1: For companies with 10,000 employees or more
Eric Fusilero, VP, Global Enablement and Education, NetApp
Over the past several years, NetApp had to extend its platform to support customers while transitioning to the cloud. Faced with the increasing depth of NetApp solutions, rapidly changing technologies and the emergence of a new type of learner, NetApp needed a fresh approach to learning in order to remain relevant and effective.
In 2018, Fusilero challenged his leadership team to take a fresh look at the organization, the longer-term vision, how the team operated, what success would look like for NetApp University — and the strategy and action plan to get there. With input and support from his team, Fusilero crafted a strategic plan that required structural and operational changes. The plan crystalized around key learning goals to be developed and delivered over a 3-year period: democratized learning; learning anytime, anywhere; and modernized learning.
Fusilero created three goal teams, each championed by one of his direct leadership team staff. Teams organized themselves around specific goals, formed a vision for each goal, and created long-term and short-term plans for deliverables, execution and milestones. Fueled by input and excitement across the broader organization, the goals came to life.
The revamped strategy allowed NetApp University to move forward and align priorities with NetApp business goals to further support the business.
John Kusi-Mensah, AVP, Global Distribution Academy, MetLife
During a time of company transformation, MetLife needed a more efficient and cost-effective approach for delivering learning that addressed increasing distribution advantage, providing accurate solutions for the right customers, driving operational excellence and transforming the enterprise through digital.
The Distribution Academy, constructed by John Kusi-Mensah, created a competitive advantage for MetLife through scalable learning performance solutions that enable distribution and talent development and deliver sales excellence. These goals are achieved through the program by providing a customized learning experience and sales curriculum, curation of external and internal content, one-on-one skills coaching and a device-agnostic learning experience. This program is now considered a crucial strategic enabler by MetLife and is being used as a tool to hire and retain sales talent.
Jason Moore, Manager, Alternative Learning Technologies and Programs, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
After facing a multitude of challenges with training delivery and refresher content, as well as poor user learning experiences on mobile platforms, Moore recognized the need for a company-wide shared service that provided alternative learning technologies and programs (ALT + P) across Gulfstream’s platform.
Due to the lack of tech-enabled and self-guided training delivery methods, Moore established an ALT + P team to create sustainable content delivery. The team was responsible for meeting user expectations with training delivery methods that had a natural feel to the user learning experience. The mobile-first design thinking focused on delivering maximum functionality within the restrictions of mobile-browser content delivery that also functioned properly on less restrictive desktop browser platforms.
After extensive testing with targeted user profiles across upcoming generations to enter the workforce, there was consistent improvement. Now, the previously unsupported demand for sustainment and refresher training is fulfilled across the enterprise for the first time.
DIVISION 2: For companies with less than 10,000 employees
Ann Marie Sidman, Executive Director, Organizational Development and Learning, Boston University
With Boston University’s several campus locations and diverse grouping of operational organizations came difficulties in providing opportunities for staff development. The university lacked relevant and engaging development opportunities for staff populations with diverse needs. The Organizational Development and Learning team, led by Sidman, wanted to expand the reach of its programming by delivering new learning opportunities in ways that would impact more learners while also aligning with the university’s strategic plan. The team recruited a group of leaders across the organization called Learning Leaders.
After identifying the need to offer development opportunities for all types of staff across multiple campuses in a flexible format, the team created Choose to Learn Live. This program is comprised of live and virtual sessions that feature internal and external experts focusing on relevant business topics. The session recordings allow this program to be used time and again as a refresher, part of a team discussion or a larger department initiative. This connection has created opportunities for more programming, making Choose to Learn Live an effective foundational program on which to build further programming.
Michael Byars, Director of Learning and Organizational Development, Children’s National Health System
With the health care industry’s complex environment, Children’s National Health System needed to invest in its management team to maintain their clinical excellence. Improving the skills and engagement of its leadership team and providing an increase in support in their positions was critical. As a result, they implemented a multifaceted approach that improved the working environment.
The organization established a leadership development capability in the Children’s National Leader Academy. This program includes 21 courses that consist of classroom and e-learning modules and a custom senior leader curriculum.
The new platform gave the Leader Academy team’s curriculum the ability to expand into web-based learning modules. Children’s National was named one of the Top 5 children’s hospitals nationwide in the 2018-2019 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. Additionally, the Children’s Neonatology ranked first in the nation for the second consecutive year.