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It’s Goopy in the Octopus Head

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 19, 2008

I got to be in Sam’s octopus head yesterday to “sound board” his most recent post, Anatomy of the Enterprise Octopus. It was gloriously goopy. That messy creation stuff always gets me excited, always energizes me, especially when the topic is awesome. And, I was able to share some interesting thoughts with him. Because he is my boss, I won’t have to figure out how to measure the worth of that interaction to report to him later. Whew. I’ll expect my raise soon, Sam.

Anyway.

One thought I’d like to flesh out a bit more is the co-Learning part of COLORS. This is because it is the low-hanging fruit in the overall culture change that must happen for a COLORS environment to thrive. That culture change is already happening in the eLearning space.

First, I always say that, if you want people to use social software, to become more collaborative and transparent in what they do, you need to co-opt existing business processes and work behaviors. You want to “capture the knowledge” of your retiring workforce? Tweak your existing mentoring program to effect that result. You want people to move conversations out of email and into the corporate “piazza” or townhall? Use tools that enable people to create and comment and follow the conversations in that piazza by using… email.

So, many enterprises have picked up on this. I have one customer who is thinking about how to co-opt their call center’s existing eLearning program to encourage more social participation. In a call center, associates are typically encouraged to participate in education modules during downtime. This company also wants them to create a sense of community, to have fun, and be fun. (This blew me away, because I’ve never heard of a company wanting to make their call center environment “fun.” Awesome.)

I have another customer who is working with my pal @jenokimoto to inject social learning into their existing structured eLearning program.

OK. Let’s get really uncomplicated here, and talk about how one person can get started with this. It’s not rocket surgery after all.

How to start a simple Social Learning revolution

Ingredients

Example

Angela creates a quick video that explains the nature of her organization’s relationship with Customer X. She describes the Customer’s technical, non-technical, and cultural environments; she shares a story that highlights a failure, another that describes a success with the customer. Maybe the stories involve trying to sell them something, solving a problem, or simple relationship-building. Who would this kind of information be valuable to? To anyone in the company who needs to work with that Customer in any capacity.

All she’d have to do is brush her hair, click a button in the “piazza” social software environment, and start talking. Then, when she’s done, click a button to save it in the “piazza”. It’s that easy.

You know, certain types of knowledge and experience are better suited to particular mediums. I would probably never type anything like the example above. I’d most likely do it during a phone conversation, actually. But that’s the old way.

Hmm… what if people just started recording themselves during those phone conversations? If the tools are stoopid-simple to use, why not? I’m going to try that – video myself during my next customer interaction, then share that with my sales colleagues so that they get an idea about what I’m saying to customers about Jive Clearspace and user adoption good practices. Gotta go brush my hair now.

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4 Responses to “It’s Goopy in the Octopus Head”

  1. Frank Carlson said

    I’ve thought a lot about this, actually from a learning organization perspective.

    What if end users were empowered to create best-practice training videos using Camtasia and submit them to a Subject Matter Expert for approval, adoption and distribution? A type of viral training of sorts. This contrasts the current top-down approach where the SME and some “training expert” create the training and roll it out to the masses.

    I’ve gone so far as price out what it would take to get Camtasia installed across the organization…then other projects, and the “reality police” killed the idea.

    I’m not sure if it’s waffle thinkin’ or spaghetti thinkin’, but to me, it’s socially empowered thinkin’ :-)

  2. Gia Lyons said

    Interesting! Or, just give everyone a Mac, and you’ve solved the equipment problem.

    Instead of review/approval by SMEs, I’d prefer to just put it all out there in the “wild” and have the community correct/rate the content. Review/approval methods and social participation don’t go together very well, in my experience.

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