Working Smarter Cracker Barrel

Next week, at our Working Smarter event hosted by Tulser in Maastricht, NL, we will have a series of short sessions on selected topics. Each Principal of the Internet Time Alliance has three topics of 20 minutes to be discussed in small groups. My topics are listed below and include links to relevant posts as well as a short description of the core ideas behind each topic.

Complexity, perpetual Beta & the need for emergent practices

Networks & Complexity:

It is generally accepted that we live and work in an increasingly ‘wired’ world. There are emerging patterns and dynamics related to interconnected people and interlinked information flows, which are bypassing established traditional structures and services.

The cynefin framework shows that emergent practices are needed in order to manage in complex environments and novel practices are necessary for chaotic ones. Most of what we consider standard work today is being outsourced and automated. We are facing more complexity and chaos in our work because of our interconnectedness.

Network Learning (aka PKM)

Network Learning: Working Smarter

One way (not the only way) to look at network learning is as a continuous process of seeking, sensing and sharing.

Seeking is finding things out and keeping up to date. Building a network of colleagues is helpful in this regard—it not only allows us to “pull” information, but also have it “pushed” to us by trusted sources.

Sensing is how we personalize information and use it. Sense-making includes reflection and putting into practice what we have learned. Often it requires experimentation, as we learn best by doing.

Sharing includes exchanging resources, ideas and experiences with our networks and collaborating with our colleagues.

The 21st Century Training Department

Information is no longer scarce and our connections are now many. The role of the training department must shift from content delivery to enabling people to connect more easily and communicate more effectively. Connecting & Communicating are central roles for organizational leaders whose workplaces are becoming more complex, either in terms of evolving practices, changing markets or advances in technology. Enabling the integration of collaborative learning with work is a more flexible model than designing courses that are outdated as soon as they’re published.

Here are some guidelines for what informal learning development could look like:

  1. Spend less time on design and more on ongoing evaluation to allow emergent practices to be developed.
  2. Build learning resources so that they can be easily changed or modified by anyone (allow for a hacker mentality)
  3. Allow everything to be connected, so that the work environment is the learning environment (but look for safe places to fail)
  4. There is no clearly defined start or finish so enable connections from multiple access points.

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