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I attended Enterprise Collaboration Techfest in Melbourne, Australia 29 Feb – 1 March 2016. I’m hosting a follow-up blab to discuss questions, ideas and themes – on Tuesday 15 March 8.00pm AEST (Sydney time) . In advance of this blab I wanted to share my personal notes from the sessions I attended. Keep in mind that I’ve polished these notes a little in order to share them and help seed discussion on the blab, but they’re mostly for my personal use.
Below I’ve listed each session I attended, my key takeaways and any potential personal actions. Click on the session title to access my session notes in Evernote. I’ll update some of these notes in the coming week e.g adding images of key slides.
Today’s Digital Collaboration Tools – Connecting Everything to High Value Business Outcomes, Dion Hinchcliffe – Chief Strategy Officer, Adjuvi
- Difference between coordination, cooperation and collaboration – the need to explain what collaboration is.
- Seek to put community in the centre of everything I do
- Open up the Doors to Collaboration. Don’t prescribe who can participate. Don’t make assumptions on who should be involved.
- Get a copy of Social Business by Design – Dions book. Management strategy guide and handbook on social business.
- Learn about blockchain
- Learn about the Internet of things
- Check out Slack – the ‘one collaboration tool to rule them all’.
Fashioning New Ways of Engaging with Customers and Technology at Burberry, Robyn Randell – VP IT Asia Pacific, Burberry
My key takeaways:
- User adoption – small things make a big difference e.g. Show users 1:1 how to use things
- Give people the functionality they need to do to their job and they will not want to find more tools
- Do things WITH people, not to people
My potential follow on actions:
- Capability Community – consider introducing a ‘Capability Roundup’ in fortnightly catchups – stories of either Learning/Development wins or failures/opportunities from learners across business unit
Leadership in the New Era of Enterprise Collaboration – From Dictator to Collaboration, Paul Miller – CEO and Founder, Digital Workplace Group
My key takeaways:
- Power centres are moving from physical to digital workplace. If you’re invisible in digital channels you will become invisible in the organisation.
- Endeavour to create functional, beautiful digital workplaces.
- For most of us if our physical workplace were designed like our virtual workplaces we would refuse to work there.
My potential follow on actions
This session was a call to action to create digital workspaces with as much care and thought as we create physical workspaces.
- Look critically at our community hubs and other digital spaces – how could we make them more beautiful and easy to use, more like a consumer experience?
My key takeaways:
- Understand the reason that a collaborative culture is important to your organisation. Collaboration is not an end in itself.
- To build a culture of collaboration select people who value collaboration and encourage them to decide how to work together
- Recognise collaboration as a leadership skill.
- Who should own collaboration?
- Should we worry about ‘shadow’ IT?
- How do you keep collaboration on the management agenda?
The Four Pillars of a Collaboration Enterprise, Silvio Damiano – CEO, Founder, About My Brain Institute
Session looked at how individual leaders could improve collaboration through their personal trust-building behaviours.
The 4 pillars at an individual level to drive collaboration are:
- Inspiration – Become the source of inspiration, not source of desperation – leave people with more energy in every encounter
- Communication – Improve the way you communicate
- Generosity – Grow your generous side
- Courage – Have courage to address the issues that need to be addressed
My potential actions
- Read biographies to study how generosity looks like in the life of others.
- Use reflection tool on quality of relationships to think about quality of some of my key relationships and how I could improve them in order to improve collaboration (tool is in image at end of my session notes)
Human Centered Digital Workplace – Creating Digital Worlds Where We Want to Work, Paul Miller – CEO and Founder, Digital Workplace Group
My key takeaways:
Our Digitial world needs to be seen as a new dimension of human experience and have characteristics of beauty. Digital workplace needs to be well architected and maintained. It should be welcoming and functional.
My potential actions:
- Improve governance of digital workplace in my organisations – Create good governance so content is accurate, reliable, timely.
- Read Good Governance Practice Guide – Digital Workplace Group eBook
Using Community to take Enterprise Collaboration to the Next Level, Dion Hinchcliffe – Chief Strategy Office, ADJUVI
My key takeaways:
- Community management is an essential skill set in organisations.
- Community management is maturing as a practice.
- Community Managers speed adoption
My potential actions:
- Update ‘business case’ for Community Management in my own organisation using content, research and case studies shared in this session
- Develop community playbook and roadmaps for all communities.
- Look at community success metrics which are emerging
Communications Strategy or Collaboration Strategy? Hint: Employees Demand Both, Ethan McCarty – Global Head of Employee Communications, Bloombergs
My key takeaways
Content and people were two key themes that stood out to me in this session.
- Meaningful content is important
- People->Process->Platform (in that order)
- “Killer app” is our employees – especially in connecting with external world. Encourage them to share content in days that are appropriate for them
My potential actions
- Develop content strategy for my Capability Community.
- Include content strategy in Community Playbook.
- Figure out how to access and use SharePoint data
- Investigate Design Thinking, Lean Start-Up and Agile – how can I use these in my work?
- How can I encourage Capability Community members to share content across our organisation in order to build learning culture?
Delivering a Truly Collaborative Workforce, Sean Hallahan – Managing Director, TATA Global Beverages Australia
My key takeaways:
Note – although the Tata team is small (40 employees) the leadership approaches discussed could be adopted at team level within a larger organisation.
- Focus on the “human” (team) first then allow them to choose their technology.
- Leader as host rather than leader as hero – important mindset shift
- Intangible things people want from leaders
My potential actions:
- Read Margaret Wheatley Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero to Host
- View Simon Sinek Ted Talk on ‘Why’ again
- Consider whether my leadership delivers on the ‘intangible things people want from leaders’
Enterprise Collaboration TechFest Final Panel – Delivering Digital Workplace Strategies for Competitive Advantage
My key takeaways:
- Strategies to gain executive sponsorship (see session notes for list)
- Utility is the #1 driver of adoption
My potential actions:
- Develop 30 second elevator pitch on collaboration in my organisation
- Prepare 2-3 page presentation pitching collaboration for my organisation
- Community Playbook – look at notes on ROI from panel for ideas on outcomes and metrics
- When engaging with a new team on collaboration find out what their business problem is and the metrics around it
Other Conference Resources
International Work Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek), 15-21 June 2015, took me a little by surprise. Realising it was happening only 3 days out I scrambled for ideas of how to use the opportunity to promote the benefits and practices of working out loud in my organisation. For context, I have been talking to people in my business unit Capability Community about WOL over the past year, and since February 2015 have included it in the Work, Connect and Learn program which we run to introduce people to skills and behaviours for building a network and participating in a Community of Practice. Of course, people have been sharing their work with others in a range of forms as a natural element of how they work for a long time before the terms ‘work out loud’ or ‘show your work’ were invented. What we see now is a movement which encourages doing this in a purposeful, open and generous way to amplify the benefits to the individual and those who see their work and engage in conversations with them.
Every Monday at 9am people who work in my business unit on the same floor of my building gather and briefly talk about one or two things they are working on that week. I enthusiastically introduced WOL Week and let everyone know that what they were doing right then was a form of WOL.
Next I got onto our Enterprise Social Network, SharePoint, and introduced WOL Week in a post on the home page where everyone in the organisation could see it. I included a link to a punchy introduction to Working Out Loud that I’d prepared using the new Microsoft Sway tool. (This is the public version – the version I shared inside the organisation included links to examples of WOL on SharePoint as well as the internet.) At the end of the post I asked the questions “What is one thing you are working on or learning at the moment? How are you doing this?” No-one replied, 1 person liked the post.
I made a fresh post sharing a link to Jane Bozarth’s explanation of how (and why) to show your work which I find clear and practical. I did include the WOL Week image (always try to add an image to my posts so they are more noticeable). However, the text was a little longer and the link to the article was only revealed after clicking on ‘show more’, along with the question “What was something you did yesterday? What problem did you solve or what did you learn?”
I role modelled replying to my own post, sharing a model for having engaging conversations. 8 people liked the model. No one else shared or asked further questions.
Day 3 – what else could I do? I decided to run an experiment – SharePoint versus Flipchart. I kept it simple. I wrote “What Have You Learned Recently” on a flipchart and stuck it on a wall in a corridor leading to our well-frequented cafe, along with an A4 poster about WOL Week. I also took a photo of the question and posted it on SharePoint. I made one reply in each location to get the sharing started.
Bearing in mind that the number of people who passed the flipchart was in the hundreds, while the number of people with access to SharePoint is in the thousands (a ratio of 1:8 at least) – what do you think the outcome was after 3 working days, not counting my replies?
FLIPCHART – 6
SHAREPOINT – 1
More people replied on the flipchart than on SharePoint.
What did happen on SharePoint was follow on conversation. I had posted that I had learned “In-box domination” – how to get my in-box to zero at the end of every day. Two people commented or asked questions about this. There may have been conversation generated by the flipchart, but I wasn’t there to hear it. This is a key difference between the two modes – conversations are accessible by more people on SharePoint, and you get the opportunity to interact with people that you may not have physical contact with.
Another observation is that the simplest of my three International WOL Week SharePoint posts got the most responses. So, I shall keep posts brief, continue using graphics, and ask direct questions to encourage interaction.
I posted a photo of the flipchart on SharePoint, compared the number of replies and asked why people more had replied to the flipchart. The one response to this question was interesting:
The implication then is that there was not a lot of traffic on SharePoint. It’s a pity I can’t get data on how many people visit their SharePoint newsfeed daily – probably fewer than visit the cafe on my floor. Apart from traffic, I’m sure there are other reasons why people didn’t post a reply, although not specifically which reasons were in play here. What I do know is that this number is higher than it was 6 months ago as more people are interacting with me on SharePoint. I have faith that over time it will continue to grow so long as people like myself continue to champion enterprise social within the organisation.
I’m limiting myself to 30 minutes to write this post. Whatever state it is in when my timer goes off is the state it gets ‘shipped’ (i.e. posted) in (as Seth Godin says ‘real artists ship’ – and I ship less in the form of blog posts than I would like). Limited myself to a shorter time period to write a post is a little ironic as this post is about the value of creating larger blocks of time for learning and Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) activities rather than cramming it into small chunks of time completed between other activities. It’s just that I’ve had an insight that I wanted to capture in the moment, with a sense of immediacy and none of the usual hyperlinking, polishing and refining that goes into my posts.
Two week’s ago I started another of Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning courses – this one on Modernising Training content. I’d previously read / viewed the Week 1 content during my daily commute on the bus and train, and started doing the same with the Week 2 content. There is an activity to complete each week which involves creating a piece of content. I’ve been so busy with work and parenting that I’d not started the Week 1 activity.
Today, a Sunday, I found myself alone for several hours and decided to go back over the content for Week 1 – on the topic of ‘micro content.’ I have just spent two hours of sitting at my desk looking at various examples of microcontent, bookmarking and commenting on articles and examples in Diigo, learning to use Diigo’s Outliner function, and taking notes in Evernote. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this block of time to concentrate and do some decent sense-making as opposed to the short grabs of time I tend to use while commuting or between evening washing up and my child’s bedtime to get online and read / view content. It’s important to highlight that the course is not presented as a ‘micro-learning’ program, although all of Jane’s programs lend themselves to being able to consume content on the go on mobile platforms. Nonetheless, I thought it ironic that my experience was that a longer focussed block of time on the topic of ‘micro content’ was far more enjoyable and effective than the mobile, short attention span blocks I’ve been allocating to this activity.
I’m now reflecting on my PKM and networking routine, which I’ve been trying to follow this year. During my commute I’m mostly seeking through Twitter and Feedly, and doing a little sharing where I find and read a resource that I think worth an immediate share. However, due to the morning and evening routines involved with walking my dog and solo parenting for about 90% of the time I can’t actually fit in the number of one hour blocks of time required for decent sense-making and high quality sharing as I have put into my planned routine. The only way I could do this is by getting less than my target 7-7.5 hours of sleep per night, which I find essential to think clearly and work productively.
I’m going to halve the number of blocks of time I try to allocate during a typical week for concentrated sense-making and network management activities. I think this will be more realistic than the current unachievable objectives I’ve set for myself. Giving my brain a few more breaks (e.g. more nights off, and more commutes where I simply listen to music and start out of the window) could well result in better quality thinking and higher productivity. Not to mention greater presence in the moment, especially when I’m with family.
I came across the idea of using value creation stories to assess the value of online interactions in an article by Jane Bozarth. She used a conceptual framework from Etienne Wenger, Beverly Traynor and Maarten De Laat to write the story of how her online interactions create value. Their framework thinks about value in terms of five different cycles, which Jane summarises clearly in a diagram in her article.
As Jane urges, I have read the full text of this framework, and have used their guiding questions to write a value creation story about my participation in the 702010 Forum. This is my practice run in preparation for gathering value creation stories to evaluate communities that I am helping develop in my organisation. I’ve written this post by responding directly to the guiding questions relating to each cycle of value creation. However, I would document value creation stories within my organisation by writing or recording (audio or video) a more natural narrative.
The 702010 Forum is a community of practice for learning and performance professionals applying the 702010 framework. Membership is subscription based, with some resources and webinars publicly available. A toolkit contains resources to support application of 702010, and members can participate in a range of events and an online discussion forum.
1. What meaningful activities did you participate in? (Cycle 1 – Immediate Value)
I have participated in a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities including:
– attending webinars or viewing recordings, especially case studies by members
– delivering two case studies on webinars
– attending face-to-face events
– initiating and replying to discussions in the forum – and extending this in one case to email and phone discussions on a solution shared in the forum (more below)
– participating in a pilot of the Forum’s 702010 Practitioner Certification
– sharing and applying resources from the Toolkit with others in my organisation to assess status and develop improvements
2. What specific insights did you gain? What access to useful information or material? (Cycle 2 – Potential Value)
Within a few months of joining the Forum I realised that while my organisation had adopted the 702010 framework a number of years ago, we had narrowly interpreted it. We were deploying blended learning where we used activities based on learning from experience (70) and others (20) within formal structured programs. However, we were not purposefully enabling people to learn as they worked or building ongoing social learning capability. From a webinar on the changing role of the learning function I saw that the skills of our capability team needed to be broadened. I gained an understanding and language to talk to key stakeholders about the opportunity to impact organisational performance more effectively if we added performance consulting, performance support, and social learning to our toolkit.
3. How did this influence your practice? What did it enable that would not have happened otherwise? (Cycle 3 – Applied Value)
These activities and insights enabled me to have different discussions about 702010, our learning strategy, and internal Capability skills, particularly with senior managers and our Capability team. The most significant shift it enabled was an update to our Capability strategy in April 2014 to include ‘Continuous Workplace Learning’ as an element. This broadened the remit of our Capability team and created the space for us to get strategic with social learning.
We revamped our Governance Board by applying the “Toolkit for Establishing a Learning Governance Board.” Consequently we get better value out of our quarterly meetings by focussing on alignment with our business strategy.
A specific initiative accelerated by a case study in a Forum webinar was setting up a knowledge sharing site on SharePoint. When a senior manager gave me 1 day to prepare a prototype of a community hub on SharePoint I recalled a webinar where Tonkin & Taylor demonstrated their Knowledge Shots solution. I incorporated this into our prototype, and went on to build a variant of this for my organisation. You can see what this looks like in the guided tour of a community hub now set up on SharePoint. (Big thank you to Tammy Waite and Mark Thomas from Tonkin & Taylor, Forum members, for the support they provided by email and phone.)
4a. What difference did it make to your performance? How did this contribute to your personal/professional development? (Cycle 4 – Realized Value)
As per the examples given above, application of ideas, tools and solutions from the 702010 Forum has enabled me to perform and contribute to my organisation in ways I may not otherwise have been able to.
The 702010 Forum was one of the first Learning & Development communities that I’ve participated in. During 2014 I got active on Twitter and started this blog. This helped me to create a Personal Learning Network (PLN) which encompasses many other communities (e.g. Third Place, OzLearn, PKMChat). Collectively my participation in a number of communities and interaction with my PLN has transformed and accelerated my professional development.
One way that the Forum has supported my development has been by increasing my confidence to work out loud publicly in order to learn and improve. In December 2013 I delivered a case study in a Forum webinar. I found the reflection and learning from delivering this webinar valuable, and saw that others could benefit from me working out loud. This was a catalyst – it gave me the motivation and confidence to continue working out loud by blogging and speaking at conferences.
4b. How did this contribute to the goal of the organisation? Qualitatively? Quantitatively? (Cycle 4 – Realized Value)
Realised value for my organisation is unfolding. It’s also difficult (and unnecessary) to unravel the influence of the 702010 Forum on my organisation’s performance versus that of other communities and networks I participate in. Our Capability strategy is better aligned to our overall business strategy as a result of applying ideas and tools from the 702010 Forum. We are using a broader range of Capability approaches and activities to achieve our goals. I think it will be another 6-9 months before we are clear on the outcome of these activities.
5. Has this changed your or some other stakeholder’s understanding of what matters? (Cycle 5 – Reframing Value)
An emphatic YES to this question. It’s shifted the perspective of two very important stakeholder groups, senior managers and the Capability community, about the importance of the 70 and 20 elements of the framework and the range of approaches we can use to build Capability. We’ve reframed our Capability strategy, launched communities of practice and embraced performance consulting.
Participate, Participate, Participate
I shall close by encouraging everyone reading this to reflect on the communities and networks they are part of and consider their current level of participation. The more you participate, interact with others, apply ideas from these groups and share back what happened, the more value you create for yourself, your organisation and other community members. So, what are you waiting for? Get in there and participate.
I’d love to hear about the value that others have found in participating in communities and networks – you can leave your thoughts below or pingback to your own blog posts.
Twelve months ago I didn’t know how to spell PLN, let alone what the term Personal Learning Network meant. At the end of an amazing year of professional development, I’d like to thank everyone in my PLN for connecting with me, sharing expertise and resources, and encouraging me to keep learning, improving and trying out new things. At the risk of omitting someone, there are some people I’d like to specifically thank (don’t read anything into the order in which they are listed below). Each of these people or groups has helped me to try new things and learn, and has been constantly generous.
Jane Hart – You have been my guide to becoming a Social Learning Practitioner. Your SLPP Program has given me a path to follow as I have taken my first steps in online social learning. This has completely changed how I approach my professional development, and helped me to build new skills to apply in my work. I will always look back fondly on our October brunch with a group of Sydney-based learning practitioners.
Harold Jarche – I enjoyed your Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) workshop at the AITD 2014 National Conference and the online PKM in 40 days program. Your Seek-Sense-Share framework has helped me to build regular practices that give me confidence that I can manage my knowledge amidst the deluge of online content. From you I also learned to trust in serendipity to connect me with the people and ideas that make a difference as I need them.
John Stepper – Thank you for the opportunity to review Working Out Loud and your encouragement to set up a WOL Circle. Above all, thank you for role modelling the openness and generosity which you prescribe as essential to build an impactful network.
Charles Jennings – You introduced me to the 702010 framework several years ago, and I have continued to learn from the resources you publish. These resources have also helped me to broaden my organisation’s understanding of 702010 and willingness to try new things to improve workplace learning.
702010 Forum – Thank you Heather Rutherford, Andrew Gerkens, and the Forum team for your ongoing work building the 702010 Forum. Your resources have accelerated improvement of learning in my business. To those forum members who have participated in community activities and webinars, keep it up as it is through those interactions that we learn more. I’m looking forward to the certification program being launched early in 2015.
Jane Bozarth – Show Your Work is a delicious book – so much so that I bought it twice (had to replace it as someone Stole Your Work from my desk!). You were one of the first people to open my eyes to the value of social media for learning when I saw you speak at an AITD Conference several years ago. Thank you for every time you have responded to a mention in my tweets. I look forward to helping out with #lrnbook next year.
Helen Blunden – You inspire me. You role model many things for me – independent learning, collaboration, community-building. Your energy, passion and positive outlook are infectious. I am excited about the work we are doing together on CCA’s Work, Connect and Learn program and look forward to continuing our partnership. Thank you also for founding Third Place – the Meet Ups have been invaluable for me to deepen relationships with Australian learning professionals.
My Ozlearn buddies – Thank you Con Sotidis for founding OzLearn. The monthly Twitter chats have attracted some top global learning leaders. There is a big overlap with the Third Place network and many people I have most contact with online participate in both groups – Ryan Tracey who is always quietly supportive; Tanya Lau who ensures everyone feels welcome, and is authentic and curious; Matt Guyan who works out loud with generosity; and Vanessa North who challenges, extends and amuses me.
Elizabeth Robinson and the AITD team – I appreciated the opportunity to speak and write for the Australian Institute of Training & Development this year. Than you for the good work you are doing to enhance the AITD’s services and events.
Anne Bartlett-Bragg – When I think of innovation I think of you. Thank you for your generosity when I was seeking input on a SharePoint design question earlier in the year. It was the first time I went to my Twitter network with a specific request for help and you responded.
Mark Britz – Gosh I enjoy our little conversations on Twitter. I feel like a kindred spirit, trying to make a difference to performance via social on opposite sides of the globe. I always enjoy reading your blog posts – they are thought-provoking and well-written. You encourage me to keep it real, although your Halloween avatar was a little freaky.
Rachel Burnham – My PKM in 40 days buddy. You are another prodigious sharer, and encourage me to keep reading, learning and tending to my veggie patch. I loved your Seek-Sense-Share drawing.
Rachel Burnham’s diagram of Harold Jarche’ Seek-Sense-Share PKM Model
Sacha Chua – I dip in and out of your blog, always curious about your semi-retirement experiment. Your example of living consciously and creatively inspire me. I love your Sketchnotes and aim to develop the skill to create my own sketch notes in 2015, although I shall give EMACS a miss.
Jeff Maguire – Thank you for your unwavering trust and support as I brought new ideas and approaches to our organisation this year. I appreciate the autonomy, the space to experiment and learn by trying things out, and your confidence in me.
For a number of months I have been using a strategy of role modelling, encouragement and positive reinforcement to support others in my work team to narrate their work. I have written previously about the Working Out Loud 3 Habits experiment that I tried. This strategy has had mixed results. Three of the ten group members are posting on our ESN at least once a week. On one hand, a 30% online community participation rate is relatively good. However, we are aiming to build online communities and encourage people across the business unit to share their expertise via narrating their work. As the Capability Community are key learning change agents, it’s important to increase their online narration as part of shifting their mindset and skills to enable them to lead and support others.
Recently I’ve been working with support of an external consultant, Helen Blunden of Activate Learning, on analysis and planning of a Community of Practice (COP) for our maintenance and engineering teams. During discussions with team members we have asked them about their view of narrating their work. Their responses have been similar to feedback from the Capability Community.
People don’t necessarily see the point of narrating their work. They’re unsure of the benefit to themselves or others. They can’t see how to fit it into their work flow when they are busy and it just feels like another task to do. They don’t know how to do it – either how to use the online tools or how to talk about their work. There are also psychological barriers – concerns about what others will think of them and read into their motives.
After discovering John Stepper’s Working Out Loud blog I have been thinking that a guided mastery approach could help to address these common barriers. Last week in her Learning@Work keynote address on learning in a social workplace, Jane Hart provided the term I have been looking for to describe the approach that we shall adopt – Guided Social learning. This semi-structured approach ‘scaffolds’ an online social learning process for participants providing them with some content/guidance and activities to get them started connecting with others and narrating their work. The intent is to enable them to transition to continuous, autonomous online social learning either as a team or individuals.
We shall be designing and developing our Guided Social Learning program which we will launch internally in early 2015. Although the program will include curated resources from the internet, it will be customised to our organisation – our tools, people and context. I’m looking forward to working on this as I complete the Guided Social Learning Experience Design Program offered by the Modern Workplace Learning Centre this month.