Archive for category Working Out Loud

#WOLWeek Day 5 – Share A Need: WOL is a Force Multiplier

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.


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Working Out Loud is a ‘force multiplier.’  When you Work Out Loud it builds your network – both in terms of breadth (the number of people you are connected to) and depth (familiarity or intimacy with specific people in your network).  Others in your network then start to act on your behalf.  When you share your interests and needs, others send you relevant resources and connect you with people with the same or related interests.  On Day 5 of WOL Week I didn’t have to share a need – because someone in my network did this on my behalf.

Based on my Day 1 WOLWeek post where I shared my purpose, Bruno Winck shared my need with the #PKMChat community via Twitter, with a specific request (communicated via the use of ‘ping’) to Stephanie Barnes (@MPuzzlePiece).  Stephanie replied with an invitation to contact her.

It’s wonderful the way that Working Out Loud amplifies your presence and accelerates your work.  If you have a story to share about how someone in your network has helped spread the word about something you needed help with please share it in reply to this post.  Stories are a good way of communicating the value of Working Out Loud.




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#WOLWeek Day 4 – Share Your Progress: Resources on Impact of Knowledge and Expertise in Australian Organisations

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.


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My Purpose

On #WOLWeek Day 1 I blogged about my current WOL Circle goal:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

My Progress

For six weeks I played internet detective and asked people in my Australian network for advice on case studies and research relevant to my goal.  I did start out with some case studies from conferences, but was looking for more comprehensive research and analysis.  While there is a lot of online content on Knowledge Management (KM) I haven’t yet identified many detailed case studies or research that directly addresses my goal.  The most promising resources are:

Australian Studies in Knowledge Management (free online access) – This book is a compilation of articles by Australasian academics and practitioners founded on their research and experience. It brings together a range of approaches seen in Knowledge Management (KM) research and practice in a logical sequence incorporating the most important elements of knowledge management.   It explores knowledge management frameworks and identifies some common elements that are explored in subsequent parts of the book.  Of particular relevance to my goal is the chapter ‘The Strategic Question: Why Manage Knowledge.’  This book was recommended by Rob Wilkins, who works in Information Management in the NSW Department of Education. Rob suggested that although this book was published in 2003 much of the content remains relevant.

Knowledge Management Survey (available to purchase for 95GBP = approx. AUD$160) –   This report on a global survey conducted by Knoco in 2014 includes data and analysis of a range of KM aspects in organisations including:

  • The focus areas, business drivers and strategies for KM across business sectors.
  • The benefits delivered through KM, in dollar terms, and intangibles.
  • Business metrics impacted by KM.

I hesitated to spend the money on this report, but did eventually as I’d not found any free / cheap data elsewhere. I’m waiting to receive my copy and hope that it will provide a geographic breakdown of data or commentary on common trends versus differences by region.  Even if it doesn’t, the global data should be of considerable value towards my goal.  Thanks to Ian Fry for recommending this resource and for our ongoing dialogue on KM from a practitioner’s perspective.

KM Body of Knowledge (BOK) Site Mockup – This is an interesting resource which was recently created as an example of what an online BOK might look like.  It was automatically generated using a data compiler (visit the site for more information on how it was created).  It provides links to a range of KM resources including book lists, communities of practice, capability frameworks, and tools.  I’ve given it an honorary mention as it is a launch pad for further discovery, and also as I think I could use this compilation method to efficiently create and maintain similar resource gateways for other knowledge areas. I discovered this resource by following a discussion on the Australian Society for Knowledge Management forum where the community is ideating about a KMBOK.

My Next Steps

  1. Focussed effort reading these resources and identifying the information that will help me construct my explanation of the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.
  2. Start compiling a list of relevant Australian case studies.
  3. Start drafting my explanation in response to my goal.



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'Speed' Mentoring – My Responses

AITD Mentor Qs.pngI’ve participated in the mentoring program run by the Australian Institute of Training and Development for the past two years – first as a mentee, then a mentor.  Last night was the end of program celebration event in Sydney, which Neil Von Heupt facilitated.  Neil ran a ‘speed’ mentoring activity.  Each mentee had a two minute conversation with each mentor to discuss their response to the three questions on the flipchart below.


The mentors were not forewarned of this activity, so our responses were very ‘top of mind.’  With the possible exception of the first question, my responses would be unsurprising to anyone who had worked with me in the past two years.

Most important aspect of my work

My gut reply to this when asked was ‘conversations.’  It’s not what I expected, and if I’d had more time to think about my response I may have crafted a different response.  However, I think it’s true and is at the heart of much of my professional practice and development.  I find it vital to talk with others to help me reflect, solve problems, ideate, explore, strategise and plan.  As an Learning and Development leader, having a performance consulting conversations with people who ask for a ‘program’ or ‘course’ helps in identifying underlying causes of performance gaps and appropriate solutions (which may not require training).  Conversation is also at the heart of social learning.

I’d like to acknowledge the influence of Harold Jarche in shaping my awareness of the power of conversation in learning  – fittingly, through two very memorable conversations we have had at Edutech conference in 2015 and on a Skype call earlier this year.


In conversation with Simon Terry at Edutech 2015 – photo taken by Harold Jarche

Favourite tool for L&D

As a personal and professional development tool, it’s definitely Twitter for me.  It’s turned my learning on it’s head since I started actively using it three years ago by enabling me to access people to engage with in a mutually beneficial interchange of sharing resources, ideas and experiences.  It’s one place where I have useful conversations.  Need more convincing?  Read what others have to say about Twitter as a development tool.


Hot career tip

Make time for reflection using whatever method suits you.  It’s vital to make sense of your experience, figure out what’s working and what you’d like to improve, and to inform your future actions.  I do a daily reflection in Evernote using a list of prompter questions on this linked list.  I write a dot point answer to those that seem relevant.  At the end of the week I then use the weekly reflection questions in my list to draw out key themes.  When I have the capacity I also blog about my work.

Which leads me to my second hot career tip – Work Out Loud.  In essence this is what I do on my blog.  Make your work and working processes visible to others – both when it’s a work in progress and when it’s complete.  Search on social media platforms or an internet search tool (#WOL #showyourwork and #WOLWeek) for a wide range of examples of how you can make your work visible.  Follow Jane Bozarth who provides practical guidance and examples to help you get started simply and quickly.

To maximise the career benefits of making your work visible, adopt the expanded Working Out Loud practice using the Working Out Loud Circle Guides.  Adopting Working Out Loud has radically altered my professional development, enabled me to build a contribution-based network, and created many opportunities.

Your Turn

How would you respond to these three questions?  Post a reply below or share your response on Twitter with #LNDcareertips

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#WOLWeek Day 3 – Make A Contribution

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.


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My Purpose

On #WOLWeek Day 1 I blogged about my current WOL Circle goal:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

Todays Contribution

Today’s #WOLWeek challenge is to “take the time to make a contribution to another person who is connected to your purpose.”  The day is drawing to a close.  While I have made contributions to others today, I have not made one specifically to someone connected to my purpose.  So today’s post is a reflection on my contributions during the eight weeks of my current WOL Circle as I worked towards this goal.

My Contributions During Current WOL Circle

My purpose is fairly specific in it’s Australian focus, and I did not start with well-developed relationships with relevant people. Most people have an online presence of some kind so I started searching for people I had met at Knowledge Management Australia conference to see if I could find an online social media account, a blog, or other online content they’d published.

When I found people on LinkedIn I sent them a personalised invitation reminding them of our prior contact, and identifying our area of common interest.  If I found them on Twitter I followed them and sent a short tweet with a similar message.  Following someone on social media and making a short introduction gives the simple, unobtrusive gift of acknowledgement.  Where I was able to find content they had published online I looked at it and, if I found it valuable, I liked it, commented on it, or shared it online with a brief statement about the content.  The intent of these small contributions is to move the relationship forward just a little, to make them aware of me, and extend a light invitation to engage without imposing an obligation.

One person did start a dialogue with me via email, and I was able to make further contributions by commenting on their work and asking questions about it.  I asked if they were aware of Australian case studies or research relevant to my goal.  They recommended a global study that contained some Australian data, and suggested I join the AusKm forum and post my question there.  I’m going to leave this thread of the story there for now as it leads into #WOLWeek Day 5: Share A Need.

On reflection, during my current WOL Circle I’ve not moved beyond simple contributions.  This has impeded my progress toward my goal.  I’ve been very busy recently with significant changes, including resigning from a job to commence working independently, moving house, and time off work during school holidays.  I’ve struggled to maintain a habit of keeping an eye on what relevant people are sharing online, reading longer content that they have published or referred to me, and identifying contributions I could be making.  Nonetheless, I have made progress – which I shall summarise in tomorrow’s WOLWeek post.


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#WOLWeek Day 2 -Make a Connection

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.


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My Purpose

On #WOLWeek Day 1 I blogged about my current WOL Circle goal:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

I shared links this to my Day 1 post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.  I also sent targeted tweets to people in my network that I knew have an interest in knowledge management.  One of these people, Ben McMann, recommended two Australians that I could connect with:

Ben McMann Tweet.png

Today’s New Connections

Today I looked at the Twitter accounts of the people he recommended, skimmed through their recent tweets, and visited their blog sites.  This gave me a sense of their interests and what we have in common.  I asked myself whether I could see myself engaging in a conversation with them where I have the potential to learn something and/or to make a contribution to them.  Based on this initial screening I followed them.

While following someone on social media is a good first step, and an easy thing to do, it’s a superficial form of connection.  So I took one additional small step – I sent them each an introductory tweet.

WOLWeek Day 2 b.png


Each tweet included a brief message about something specific I had noticed on their Twitter profile or blog.  These messages are an invitation to engage with me – to build our relationship a little through conversation.  (For more on the idea of depth of connections and gradually building intimacy with people in your network you can look at the ‘Intimacy Levels’ exercise in the Week 2 Working Out Loud Circle Guide.)

Will these two new people I have connected with help me to achieve the goal I shared yesterday?  Will I be able to make a valuable contribution of some sort to them?  I don’t know yet.  I never do when I first add someone to my network.  It’s the first step in a process of discovery which may go nowhere, or may result in new opportunities I had never imagined – either with these people, or others that they lead me to.  That’s the mystery and joy of engaging in a network.

Connections for my Current WOL Circle

Yesterday I mentioned that I am currently in Week 8 of a 12-week Working Out Loud Circle.  In Week 1 after you share your goal you start building a relationship list, which is simply a list of people or organisations related to your goal.  You aim to identify ten people or organisations – either those you already know, or new ones.

I started my list with people and organisations I already knew, many from the Knowledge Management Australia conference which I attended in September 2016.  These were either people I had not known very long or were aware of but had not connected with.  Even where I did know them, my level of intimacy with them was low.  My challenge then was to introduce myself to these people in a meaningful way.  This required that I exercise empathy – to do a little research about them, and think about what their interests may be, and how it could be of value to them to be connected with me.  Over several weeks I reached out lightly to the people on my list.  In some instances they did not reply.  In others they did, but the interaction stalled.  In three cases the ongoing dialogue around my goal has been rich and led me either directly or through others in their network to resources that are directly relevant to my goal.

I hope that I have been able to contribute to these people along the way – which will be the topic of my Day 3 #WOLWeek post tomorrow: Make A Contribution.

Further resources:


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#WOLWeek Day 1 – Share a Purpose

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.


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Day 1 – Share a Purpose

I am currently in a Working Out Loud Circle.  A Circle is run over 12 weeks.  In week 1 each person in a Circle sets an individual goal that they will work towards.  The goal orients your WOL activities over the 12-week period.  It doesn’t need to be perfect, and there is scope to modify or change over time.  It also doesn’t need to be a SMART goal.  The main criteria are that it is something you care about, and you can make progress towards in 12 weeks.

My goal is:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

Over the past three years I have worked inside an Australian organisation on improving knowledge sharing.  The opportunity to do this arose as a series of business performance challenges and risks were raised with me in my capacity as a Learning and Development Manager.

For example, a business continuity risk was identified in key operational systems due to the departure of key subject matter experts from the organisation, movement of people internally through job roles, and imminent retirement of some long-tenured employees.  This had an impact on current performance and was one factor contributing to under-utilisation of system functionality, hence missed opportunities to use the systems to help run the business as effectively and efficiently as possible.


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Why I Care About This

Another example was in the maitnenance and engineering function.  The role of engineers had changed over the previous 10-20 years, reducing the natural opportunity for engineers to develop deep understanding of equipment and line design in manufacutring as they worked.  Consequently, this knowledge was concentrated in a small number of long-tenured engineers.  There was a need to spread this knowledge more broadly to sustain and improve trouble-shooting and capability to develop and impelemnt equipment and line modifications in conjunction with third parties.  There was also a need to improve maintenance management and practices across Australian sites in order to improve production line efficiency.  Knowledge sharing was identified as one strategy to achieve these goals.

So, my experience with a single organisation provides me with the ability to explain the impact of knowledge in this organisation.  I am now working independently and would like to do more work to help Australian organisations improve performance through better knowledge sharing.  To help create opportunities to do this I would like to be able to clearly explain how knowledge impacts organisations using specific Australian examples / case studies and research / data.

How I’m Sharing my Purpose

I’m in week 8 of my Circle.  While I have asked some individuals and one Australian knowledge management community (Australian Society for Knowledge Management forum) for help to find relevant Australian case studies and data, I have not actually shared my overall goal outside of my WOL Circle.  So, today I’m sharing it on my blog which I will post on Twitter and LinkedIn.  I have a Knowledge Management list on my Twitter account, and will share this post with selected individuals on this list.

Further resources:



My Plan for Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) 7-13 Nov 2016

Working out loud is an approach to building relationships that can help you in some way. It’s a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people. When you work out loud, you feel good and empowered at the same time.

 – John Stepper, The 5 Elements of Working Out Loud (revisited)

International Working Out Loud Week 7-13 November 2016 offers an opportunity to explore and/or strengthen your Working Out Loud (WOL) practices.  I was looking for a way to use WOL Week to both promote this powerful approach and give my own practices a boost.  I needed to look no further than the official website where I found 7 Days worth of actions to get you started Working Out Loud. 


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I’m currently participating in a Working Out Loud Circle.  This is my fourth.  I find the accountability created by being in a circle valuable in helping me work purposefully towards a goal, especially where I need new knowledge and to build my network to achieve the goal.  One aspiration I’ve never met is to make a regular blog posts for the 12-week period of a Circle.  That’s about to change!

My Plan

During WOL Week I will do the following every day:

1)  Take the action suggested for that day; and

2)  Publish a short blog post about what I have done during my current WOL Circle in regard to that action, and the impact of taking that action.

What will you do in WOL Week?

I’d love to know your plans – please post a comment or tweet me.

Further resources:


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Trying out Snapchat for professional development

It’s Day 13 of the Learning Rebels 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge.  The Challenge is about looking for inspiration and ideas every day and sharing it with others in any way you choose.  My Challenge post today is about my early experiences trying out Snapchat, a photo and video messaging app, as a professional development tool.

Sources of inspiration

snapchat tutorI started using Snapchat this week.  I was inspired to do this by Helen Blunden who has been exploring it in her usual curious and enthusiastic manner.  I’d seen Helen tweeting about how she was using it to Work Out Loud and connect with others.  My second source of inspiration was my 11 year old daughter, who I turned to for help.  (She has since been a source of both ongoing assistance, encouragement and ridicule as I grapple with this app.)

Snapchat profiles

After downloading the app to my iPhone I set up my account and created my profile.  Profiles are very basic as shown below.  The dots are a Snapchat branded QR code (aka ‘Snapcode‘) which other users of Snapchat can scan to automatically follow a person (called ‘adding a friend’ on Snapchat).  Every account also has a url that others can use to follow e.g.  The number ’74’ after my Snapchat user name is the number of points I have earned, although I remain fairly clueless as to how this works even after reading an explanation of how points are calculated.  (I don’t think it’s important to me anyway.)

Snapchat profile.jpg

Functionality – getting my head around the basics

Reader beware – I’m about to tell you what I have been doing on Snapchat.  I am at the ‘consciously incompetent’ stage in this learning curve so I apologise in advance if any of what I post here is misleading.  I’ll update this post if I discover any errors at a later date.  

This post from Pocket-Lint introduces Snapchat functionality and endeavours to answer the question ‘what’s the point of Snapchat?’

The basic idea is you create stories using a mix of photos and short (maximum 10 second) videos which you shoot in the Snapchat app – these are called ‘snaps’.  You can overlay a small amount of text, emojis and graphics from a library, draw or add Snapchat filters.   You can broadcast your content either to ‘the world’ (i.e. everyone on Snapchat) or just Snapchatters who follow you.  It’s visible to you and others for 24 hours then ‘poof’ no-one can see it anymore.  You can also send ‘snaps’ directly to friends who will see them for just 10 seconds after opening.

People can comment on an image or video but their comments are just sent to you as a direct ‘chat’, not visible to others.  There is no like or favourite functionality.  You can see who has viewed your snaps.  You can’t add hyperlinks (you can type in a url, but it will be text, not a hyperlink).  There’s no ‘feed’ where you can scroll through all of the ‘posts’ of everyone you follow.  It doesn’t support multiple people having a collective conversation about your content.

It’s deliberately intended to be ephemeral, to be about ‘now’, to share stores from your life with people who are interested.  It demands more constant attention than other social media platforms if you want to stay abreast of what people in your network are doing and sharing.

You have a single story, which will continuously update as you add snaps.  You cannot have multiple stories running at one time unless you have multiple accounts – in which case I think you would need to sign out and in of accounts to switch between them.  You can delete individual images or videos from your story.  You can see who has viewed or taken a screen shot of every snap in your story.

From your own content you can download either an individual image or video to your camera roll, or your whole story (i.e. all content from last 24 hours).  Downloads save as  video on your camera roll.  Although I haven’t tried this yet I expect that I could import this to iMovie to edit.  Display is portrait only.

You can also save your own individual images, videos or a story on Snapchat using the ‘Memories’ functionality.  I haven’t played around with this yet, but it sounds promising.  The in-app help says that you can reuse the content saved in Memories – including adding content to your current story or sending directly to friends, editing stories, and creating new stories. It also allows you to upload images and screenshots from your camera roll and use them in your stories.  Again, display is portrait only so anything shot in landscape will appear on it’s side.

Uncomfortable and Strange

Snapchat what to doI’m used to a lot of open interaction on social media and blogs as I work out loud and learn from people in my network.  I’m used to being able to view content long after it was originally published, to bookmark content for re-use.  This Snapchat space feels a bit strange.  It’s deliberately designed to be impermanent – that’s the element which feels the most unusual to me.   Yet that appears to be the key to it’s popularity. Further, as an aid to working out loud, the impermanence could reduce the inhibition to share.

Even once I master the functionality of the app (which is fairly simple but takes a little to get used to navigation – something my daughter is finding particularly hilarious) I think it will continue to feel a bit uncomfortable for a while as I figure out what I could use it for.  That’s okay – this feeling is part of the process of trying something new.

What I’ve tried & what I’m learning

Below are a couple of examples using Snapchat stories that I uploaded from my camera roll to YouTube.

A daily journal – keeping a record of what I do in a day:

Working out loud about a project (before I knew I could edit out individual images – so there is some irrelevant content in this one):

I’ve tried mixing content from my work and personal life into my stories.  I’m being quite selective with what I share from my personal life.  There is a lot that I cannot share in images and videos from my working life because it contains organisation specific content that it may not be appropriate to share publicly.  There have also been some important things that happened this week that I could not include in the journal style video (first example above) due to individual confidentiality.  So, using Snapchat as a daily journal would result in an incomplete record due to the constraint of all content is public.  This is an issue common to many other social media tools.

The short duration of the videos is forcing me to be succinct.  I have 10 seconds to get a point or key message across Given I am experimenting with vlogging as part of the 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge this is helping me to become more concise in my vlogs.

I have only viewed stories of three other people.  From my daughter I am learning about making things look a bit funkier and modern.  She is not very upbeat about my potential, telling me my stories are ‘boring’.  Helen Blunden and DrCameronJones both work out loud on Snapchat and tell their stories in an interesting way.  I am using them as role models e.g. stringing together a series of short videos to explain an idea more fully, and drawing or jotting thoughts on paper and using them as an aid to explain key posts in a video.

Given how quick it is to capture my working process in Snapchat (as per the second example above) I found it an easy way to work out loud as I worked.  Being able to download content for re-use in new stories and inclusion in more permanent working out loud video posts is an essential feature for me.  It means that I can separate out content about different projects or activities after downloading and remix in more coherent ways.  The short video format feels very fresh to me.

I have not yet tried to use Snapchat as a networking tool – to find new people and connect with them.  Helen has told me she is finding it very useful for connecting with others, particularly those outside of her own field.  I’m curious about this.

Part of my challenge may be that I’m trying to use Snapchat for things I already do using other platforms, that I’m treating it like other platforms.  The impermanence is the distinguishing characteristic of this platform – I feel like I can be more casual here, and share without too much effort or polishing.

What I’ll do next

I’m going to:

  1. Keep narrating my Community of Practice toolkit development on Snapchat with the intent of remixing and reusing the content.  It will be an experiment in Working Out Loud using Snapchat.
  2. Figure out how to use the ‘Memories’ functionality to reuse and edit content.
  3. Follow more people and watch how they use Snapchat.  Observe closely and learn (i.e. I’ll be ‘lurking).  Look for the use cases.
  4. Try using it to connect with people – to leave comments on their content and chat with them (one on one of course).

To help with 3 and 4 on this list I’ve followed everyone that Helen has identified as people who show their work on Snapchat.

It still feels strange, and remain willing to walk away from Snapchat – but I’m not done exploring yet.











Hosting a Post-Conference Blab – What I Learned

blab logoBlab is a live video streaming tool with chat box / Instant Messaging.  I hosted my first blab on 15 March 2016 – here’s link to the recording.  I was inspired to do this by an article in February’s ‘Training and Development,’ magazine, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD).  I read the article en-route to Enterprise Collaboration TechFest in Melbourne (29 Feb – 1 Mar).  The author, Helen Blunden, provided suggestions for How to Work Out Loud at a Conference.  Although hosting a blab wasn’t one of her suggestions I’d been looking for a good reason to do this, and could see that it would provide an opportunity to continue the conversation started at TechFest.  I scheduled the blab almost on a whim when I arrived at the conference, and then had to figure out how to make it work.

I hosted a 30 minute to get confident with the tool.  A few friends who had hosted blabs before joined this session.  This was a good move. The tool is easy to use and an Internet search will yield plenty of ‘how-to’ advice.  The hands-on practice allowed me to focus on content rather than mechanics at the real event.

What I learned and some tips

Using the Blab tool

Blab is an easy tool to use.  Search for ‘how-to‘ guides online and run a practice session before your first real event.

I am a Mac user.  I wasn’t able to run blab in my Safari browser (perhaps it can be done, but I couldn’t figure it out).  I used Chrome instead and it worked well.

You can add a custom image to your scheduled blab to help promote it.  I didn’t know this at first and hated seeing my profile photo every time I Tweeted about the blab.  Once I added a custom image I was more confident to promote the blab.  I also felt that the image reflected the topic and could attract people to the blab.

Remember to record your blab.  One of the attendees reminded me 20 minutes after the start of the session.  The next morning I went to a breakfast event where someone told me they had been listening to the recording that morning.  (That blew me away!)  I have since reviewed the recording both to recap content and to reflect on what I would do differently next time.



Hosting a Blab as a post-conference activity

Before you schedule your blab ask the Conference organisers if they would be willing to promote it, and check conference hashtag.

Schedule your blab before the Conference starts so that you can promote it during the Conference.

Include the conference hashtag in the blab title.

Consider multiple time zones when you schedule your blab.

Allow 3-7 days between the conference and your blab so conference attendees can travel home and word of your blab has time to spread .

Promote the blab via social media and word of mouth during and after the conference.  Use the conference hashtag and hashtags relevant to themes and topics discussed at the conference.

Use a mix of general social media posts to promote your blab and targeted posts where you @mention people to invite them.  Target conference speakers and organisers, people active in the conference backchannel, and thought leaders in relevant fields.  Even if they don’t attend they may promote the blab.

Invite speakers to join the blab.  Sharon O’Dea joined mine and it made a lot of difference to have her take part in the conversation.

Within a couple of days on the Conference publish a blog post summarising Conference themes and your takeaways.  Curate links to content published by others about the Conference.  Promote the blab on your post.

Write generic reusable questions to use in your post-conference blab. (Tip – you could answer these in your post-conference blog) Examples of questions:

  • ‘What do you think the key themes of the conference were?’
  • ‘What is the most valuable idea or tip you picked up at the conference?’
  • ‘What’s one thing you will do (or do differently) as a result of attending this conference?’

Write conference-specific questions to generate discussion in your blab.  Refer to your notes about panels, questions from the audience, or questions you had written during the conference for ideas.



Your Ideas?

What other tips or ideas do you have for hosting a post-conference blog?  Please post your thoughts in the comments box.


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AITD Excellence Awards 2015 – Thank You to my Scenius

On Friday 27 November 2015 I attended the annual Australian Institute of Training and Development Excellence Awards. These awards recognise achievement in training, learning and organisational development.

My team in Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Amatil was a finalist in the new award category of ‘Best Use of Social/Collaborative Learning. I was also a finalist in the ‘Dr Alastair Rylatt Award for Learning and Development Professional of the Year.’ I had prepared acceptance speeches as I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the people and organisations who had contributed to both of these achievements. I also wanted to share an idea about professional development for Learning and Development (L&D) practitioners. Unfortunately I did not get to use either of these speeches. So I’ve decided to use my blog to express my appreciation and share this idea.

Best Use of Social/Collaborative Learning

Coca-Cola Amatil in partnership with Activate Learning Solutions were Highly Commended in the inaugural award in this category for our work on the Supply Chain Systems Certificaton Program. (I shall blog soon about this program.)

AITD Award

I lead the Supply Chain Technical Academy at Coca-Cola Amatil.  The Academy has had the privilege of working with others across Supply Chain to develop and implement a more open, collaborative approach to learning which seeks to integrate learning with work.

Thank you to the Supply Chain leaders who have been willing to adopt a modern approach to learning in our business, especially to Jeff Maguire, Head of People & Productivity, and David Grant, the Supply Chain Director.  Thank you for supporting innovation in learning.

Thank you also to the AITD for introducing this award category.  It symbolises the progressive work you’ve undertaken in the past 12-18 months to remain relevant as a professional association and reflect the changing nature of L&D.  I appreciate the validation that CCA Supply Chain is on the right track with our social and collaborative learning initiatives.

It takes a lot of collaboration to create and sustain such initiatives.  Thank you to Justine Jardine and Karlo Briski from our Technical Academy team – both have been creative, bold and resilient in developing and facilitating the program.   Thank you also to the Community of Practice members, who were represented at the awards by Matt Hay, David Barker and Sreeni Barmalli. They have been active program participants and, as part of their daily operational roles, have taken a lead in Communities of Practice and supporting others to engage in the certification program.

I’d also like to acknowledge the fabulous support of Helen Blunden from Activate Learning Solutions.  Her guidance was critical in launching our communities of practice, and developing the networking and social learning skills of participants with the Work, Connect and Learn program.  She is a worthy co-recipient of this award.

The Dr Alastair Rylatt Award for Learning and Development Professional of the Year

This award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to learning and development in the past 18 months. Congratulations to Dr Denise Meyerson, Director of Management Consultancy International, for being the 2015 award recipient.

Austin Kleon has written a wonderful little book called ‘Show Your Work.’  The first chapter is titled ‘You Don’t Have To Be Genius’ and it opens with the words ‘Find A Scenius.’  It’s a term that Kleon has picked up from Brian Eno who defines it as follows: “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”


Image from Austin Kleon

My selection as a finalist is largely due to my use of working out loud to find a Scenius, which is a funkier term for what is commonly called a Personal Learning Network.  If you are not familiar with the term ‘Personal Learning Network’ I suggest you Google it, consider the state of your own network, and how you can build it.  Being part of a network or scenius is a key factor in accelerating your professional development and making a contribution.

To quote from Austin Kleon:

“Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but what you have to contribute – the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start.”

Thank you to the people around the world who are part of my scenius.  It is all of you who have made it possible for me to transform my professional development, to learn from and alongside you, to make a contribution and as a result to create new possibilities.  The specific people I am about to mention are representative of those in my scenius who collectively enable me to develop and contribute, but ths is well short of an exhaustive list.  They include thought leaders from across the world such as Jane Hart in the UK, Charles Jennings and Jane Bozarth in the US, Harold Jarche in Canada and Simon Terry in Melbourne.  There are also other L&D practitioners who work out loud, generously talking about their work practices, challenges and ideas about where L&D is headed – people such as Ryan Tracey in Sydney, Sunder Ramachandran in India, and Shannon Tipton in the US.

Thank you to the people and organisations who are connectors, creating opportunity for L&D professionals to engage in conversation, and share experience and practices – such as Third Place founded by Helen Blunden, the Ozlearn community facilitated by Con Sotidis and, of course, the AITD.

Closer to my day-to-day work are my colleagues at Coca-Cola Amatil, represented at the awards night by Justine Jardine and Karlo Briski. It’s a joy to learn and figure out what works alongside you. I extend this sentiment to my ex-colleague and peer-mentor, Lynette Curtis who travelled from Melbourne to join the celebrations.

Finally, to my manager of the past four years, Jeff Maguire, thank you for your unwavering trust and support, and the autonomy and flexibility you have granted me to create and embed the Academy and Capability Community in Supply Chain. Thank you also to seeing the value in sharing stories of how we work outside of our organisational boundaries and granting me the freedom to work out loud.

If you take away one thing from my selection as a finalist for this award, it’s to build your network – create your Scenius in order to unlock your Genius.

Afternote – additional posts on AITD Awards:

Helen Blunden’s Reflections of the 2015 AITD National Excellence Awards

AITD’s Storify collection of tweets from the 2015 Awards Night


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