Title LEAN - LEarning from ANalogies
Project Number 2012-1-CY1-LEO05-02321
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text LEAN project developed innovative didactical methodologies for problem solving and decision making training to business executives as well as general & departmental managers. The participants were trained on topics that apparently are not relevant with specific working problems, which resulted in learning a new thinking methodology that can be very useful in a business world, marked by rapid changes.
"New skills for new jobs" is the new EU strategy that concerns also the ability to solve problems, learning from different disciplines and multicultural experiences,to work and take decisions in a global context. In this sense,VET actors and trainers need to improve their training offer and methodologies in order to boost this kind of skills and aptitudes.
This project, through the transfer of an innovative methodology based on the use of “analogies” and cross-cultural cues for the management education,answered to this increasing need for skilled resources for managers and entrepreneurs.A particular attention was paid to the specific sector of small family-based enterprises,whose business approach is often far from the consideration of that set of multidisciplinary hints and suggestions which are of the out-most importance in a context dominated by globalisation and intercultural dynamics. Multicultural training is intended to be an effective instrument to help SMEs entrepreneurs and managers to acquire an intercultural vision based on a cross-functional set of information, histories and best practices which are often very far from their way-of-thinking.In so doing,entrepreneurs were supported to look behind the specific scenario in which their activities take place, learned how to reason and act in global and intercultural terms.
The analogical training addresses SMEs' needs to:
-increase their capabilities to act in a global context
-increase their aptitude to analyze problems in a strategic way,combining different cultural approaches
-increase their problem solving skills,with a particular emphasis on the management of multiculturality and internationalization processes
-support companies family-owners aptitude for a new concept of leadership,based on a multicultural,competitive and business-oriented approach
-spread of a cross-functional approach,able to support SMEs' evolution from a traditional functional structure to a new inter-functional one
LEAN project aimed to transfer innovative didactical methodologies for problem solving and decision making training. To be trained on topics that apparently are not relevant with specific working problems means to learn a new thinking methodology that can be very useful in a business world marked by rapid changes.
The Consortium was composed of 4 internationally recognized institutions, active in the management education and enterprises support and of a local NCCI.
According to the joint policy initiative "New skills for new jobs", carried out in cooperation between the European Commission and the EU Member States in order to solve European skills deficiencies and give Europeans a better chance on labour markets, VET actors have to evolve and to adopt a new mix of skills by developing more innovative and responsive trainings, able to provide appropriate qualifications and to achieve new learning outcomes. The ability to learn from different disciplines and from multicultural experiences and to enlarge the usual ‘technical’ approach by encompassing different knowledge sources is fundamental for entrepreneurs (in particular family SME’s entrepreneurs) and managers and top manager as it can help them to find new and innovative ways of enhancing their performance through cross-cultural and informal learning. Nevertheless, the recourse to the cross-cultural and analogical method is not common among EU business schools and VET institutions. In CY, where the 99,9% of the companies are SMEs - and among them the 94,8% are very small enterprises (0-9 employees) -, the possibility for entrepreneurs and SMEs' managers to learn though informal and multidisciplinary training is nearly non-existent, since their competencies are focused on day by day activity and there is a general lack of strategic planning and vision. Innovation is not relevant for them and nothing seems to encourage new ideas creation.
LEAN project transferred an effective learning methodology based on the use of analogies and cross-cultural hints as specific learning instrument. The use of analogies is quite usual in scientific training, but not so common in other VET fields, such as business training, which is usually focused on functional competencies and skills. While fostering the acquisition of new perspectives, the didactical use of analogies represents a powerful tool for sparking breakthrough ideas -especially in a global scenario characterized by instability and rapid changes -in an informal context where each participant is invited to carry specific and individual contributions out of any "formal constraint". Therefore the project is considered ideal for people in charge of strategic decisions. Considering the effectiveness of the method and its rare presence on the EU scene, the application of the cross-cultural and analogic approach in management training represents an undoubted innovation.
LEAN aimed and succeeded to cope with the increasing need of EU VET actors and trainers to improve their offer and methodologies in order to comply, in an innovative way, with the growing demand of problem solving and decision making skills and aptitudes.
In particular, the project focused on the CY, PL and RO situation and, through the transfer of a didactical methodology based on the use of “analogies” for the education of relevant decision makers (entrepreneurs and managers), it pursued these practical objectives:
- analysed the state of the art of EU theoretical and operational models for multidisciplinary and analogical training methodologies (with a particular emphasis on management training, problem solving, decision making and leadership)
- identified the peculiarities of Cypriot, Polish and Romanian training needs regarding the application of informal and interdisciplinary learning methodologies
- outlined the already existing similar training paths (if any) in CY, PL and RO which are coherent with this project in order to scout possible synergies and avoid any overlapping
- identified, through regional scans in the three transferee countries, the cultural and methodological peculiarities that such transfer should imply and the potential national-regional partners and stakeholders that have an interest in sustaining and disseminating this kind of approach
- shared among partners, local trainers and VET actors the knowledge about how to use analogies to create effective, non-traditional and informal learning settings, where the participants (decision makers) understand that it is possible to learn from fields that –apparently - are very far from their everyday work and competencies
- tested the effectiveness of the competencies/skills developed by local trainers and experts to use analogies as learning settings for informal training on problem solving, decision making and leadership and the adequacy of the analogical frameworks selected, adapted or developed to the specific local contexts and training needs in CY, PL and RO through pilot testing
- exploited with local stakeholders the relevance for entrepreneurs and managers of learning in non-traditional and informal ways and developed an innovative way to face strategic and managerial problems making use of analogical and interdisciplinary hints.
These objectives were clearly focused to support the promotion of the acquisition of key innovative competencies in VET systems LEO-TraInno-9.
Administrative and Support Service Activities
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Information and Communication
material for open learning
program or curricula
The main project products developed were:
- The state of the art of theoretical and operational models of cross-cultural education in EU - National analogies, developed in each participating country.
- The project Methodology pack, including:
a. learning methodology outline
b. teaching materials for the customised learning sessions
c. assessment methodology and tools for monitoring and evaluating the learning sessions
- Project promotion, dissemination and exploitation plan, based on which the project was disseminated in an extensive way in National and E.U. level.
- Video/DVD shooting of learning sessions of "Analogies Lessons for managers", which was used for dissemination and exploitation purposes by all partners.