In Carol Dweck’s 2007 classic Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she expounds on the differences between a growth mindset where people believe hard work and dedication contribute to continuous learning and reaches beyond the thinking that intelligence is a fixed trait. At its essence, having a growth mindset is about a way of thinking, believing, doing, and acting. In a similar vein of thinking, talent professionals can create experiences promoting a lab mindset.
What Is a Lab Mindset and Why Is It Important for Building Capability Within Your Workforce?
Just as you might suspect, a lab mindset is modeled after a science lab, a specific place with unique tools to test various hypotheses and experience what happens when various chemicals or substances work together. The physical space is designed for experimentation; thus, in this type of environment it is normal to be messy, to not succeed with the first iteration, and to have the freedom and the encouragement to explore various options with frequent trials.
In the learning space, the overarching aim of a lab atmosphere is to create an engaging and interactive environment for participants to connect, collaborate, and to share learning practices around a professional conundrum or a business challenge. This starts with piquing their curiosity and then, just like a science lab, using a disciplined framework with a structure built around tools, techniques, and methods to promote collaboration, experimentation, and sharing. And, like a science lab, this is not just doing the experiments per se; it is about reflecting on what happened, who did what, the lessons learned, and ideas for continuing to develop and use the learning in the follow-on experiments.