It’s Monday morning and a lively team is discussing their assignment which is due later that evening. Members chat about the lecture that prepared them, the buzzing forum threads on the subject, and the peer reviews which they conducted that week.

While such a scene is typical at top universities scattered across the country, it has not been in office environments. For most employees, professional development traditionally leaves much to be desired, if it is provided at all. However, the rapidly changing education technology landscape provides much opportunity for disruption, which we are already witnessing organically in our classes.

“On one level, we learned about how to help ourselves – by creating environments that are conducive to teamwork and productivity, for example. On another level we learned about deep-seated functions that drive human behavior and how to get to the root of everyday problems our clients may have. And in the end, we all have to display the ability to communicate ideas and solutions successfully online through various forms of content and multimedia.” – Will Sherlin, Digital Marketing Manager

Recently, more than ten employees of 3Pillar Global, including the company’s CEO, took part in Leticia Britos’ “Design Thinking Action Lab” course from Stanford’s Epicenter. One of the company’s managers served as an impetus for the idea, after enrolling in the course as a natural extension to a design conference he attended at Harvard.

Once he spread the word, enrollment quickly gained steam and a positive nod from senior executives, who were not disappointed with their experience: “All in all, it’s something we would recommend to anyone.” Indeed, the NovoEd platform aligns very well with authentic professional development as a result of its collaborative and experiential focus. Each week, 3Pillar’s employee teams bounced around ideas and provided pro-active feedback before submitting assignments which closely aligned with their work objectives.

“The Stanford Design Thinking Action Lab has made it possible for anyone in our company to immerse themselves in design thinking, and it’s already making a difference in how we think about designing products at 3Pillar.”
– Kit Unger, Director of User Experience Design

While the fluidity of implementing impromptu professional development speaks volumes to 3Pillar’s innovative nature and focus on employee growth, the story is also an encouraging case for those of you interested in bringing something similar to your workplace. With the amazing suite of entrepreneurship classes we have starting later this month, the timing couldn’t be better!