Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

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The Essentials

Critical tools for success.

Learn professional skills for success with these focused programs.

Innovation Essentials Courses

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Note: If you are planning to use these courses as electives in the Business Administration Diploma , please contact us for academic values. 


ESS 797 Art of Active Listening (0.5 days)

Arguably the most important communication skill is also the most underrated.  That is, the art of active listening.  It is far more important to actively listen than it is to talk. In this half day course you will identify the importance of active listening and the high cost of not listening in terms of lost productivity and morale.  You will learn effective listening strategies and the importance of Listener-Centered Communication -- putting yourself in the talker's shoes and understanding things from the other person's perspective.

Instructors: Lori Stephenson

ESS 808 Problem-Solving Primer (1 day)

Problems, obstacles, challenges, opportunities – regardless of the term, unforeseen issues regularly happen in everyone’s day-to-day work. With more complexity, the solutions are often hard to find. These “problems” may originate from a customer request or complaint, a scheduling conflict, a product imperfection, a process flaw, an inefficient system, or a simple error. Counter-intuitively, creative problem-solving requires structure: the right environment for generating great insights, the right skills in the room, a system for working through the problem situation from end-to-end and a variety of tools and techniques to use as the journey unfolds.  How to avoid group think and identify “provisional truth” to keep from jumping to the wrong conclusions are also essential for finding good solutions. Get equipped with an assortment of practical and creative strategies that you can immediately apply when problems and opportunities for improvement arise. This course includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course.  Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

ESS 814 Dynamic Decision-Making^ (1 day)

Creative and innovative solutions to problems are often thought difficult to achieve. We often think that we are not creative. Yet creativity is often just the result of having a sound process to generate an appropriate solution. Implemented solutions are often less than optimum simply because we have over relied on either our personal preferences or the preferences of our team. Learn the cognitive dynamics decision process; a structured approach to problem solving that generates valuable solutions. Discover which elements of the process come most naturally and which you have the tendency to neglect, which can result in missing important pieces of the puzzle. Develop individual action plans to incorporate the cognitive dynamics decision process into your problem-solving toolkit, with an emphasis on areas that you have previously overlooked.

ESS 818 Innovation Foundations (0.5 Days)

Innovation Foundations is a dynamic, participatory, and informative half-day course. In it, you will explore the basics you need to get on the road to innovation. Topics include the following: what innovation is (and isn't!), innovation requirements, and how to avoid common pitfalls. This course is a solid introduction to innovation hows, whys, dos, and don'ts.

ESS 819 Intrapreneurship: The Innovator Within (1 Days)

This one-day course introduces participants to concepts associated with identifying opportunities and solving problems using imagination, creativity, innovation and intrapreneurship within the confines of existing organizations. Tools, techniques and frameworks are provided to equip attendees with the competencies necessary implement/advance new product/service/process changes in their respective organizations.

ESS 820 Fostering Workplace Innovation (1 day)

How do organization leaders actually ignite creativity and get employees passionate about their work? Using the componential theory of creativity, this one-day workshop will allow participants to reflect upon their experience with creativity and innovation. Considering the four components deemed necessary for creative response (domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant processes, intrinsic task motivation and the social environment), participants will determine strategies and practical actions that they can take back to their workplace to ‘make the case’ for cultivating creativity and innovation.

ESS 862 Creative & Critical Thinking (2 days)

Increase your innovative thinking skills and improve your performance in unstructured situations in this dynamic course.  This model is an organized approach to problem solving which emphasizes finding opportunities for improvement in products, processes, teamwork and the implementation of solutions to everyday problems.  Develop a better understanding of the nature of problems and how to apply tools and concepts to your work-related problems and opportunities.

Instructors: Min Basadur

ESS 899 Conflict Resolution in the Workplace (1 day)

This one-day course will assist you in understanding your individual style of conflict resolution and both the positive and negative impacts of your style in managing conflict effectively. Discuss why conflict happens in the work setting, and discover practical tips for managing conflict. You will also learn about constructive routes to communication and agreement, consider your own ways for dealing with conflict and practice various ways of communicating more effectively.

Instructors: Linda Spence

* Students must enrol at least two weeks before the start date to allow time for an online assessment to be completed prior to the course 

^Next course held on McMaster's main campus