Category Archives: Collaboration

Peeragogy

howardIn his keynote presentation at Online Educa Berlin last week, Howard Rheingold emphasized co-learning.

Since the teacher learns more than the student, let’s all be both teachers and students. Esteemed co-learners, your job is to create new co-learning communities. If a group doesn’t exist for facilitate your informal learning, make one.

Peeragogy is a set of techniques for collaborative learning and work. It’s a both a discipline and a living book. Howard kicked off the Peeragogy project, many authors contributed to the work, and now a team is dedicated to making it ever better. Housed on a wiki, Peeragogy keeps on improving. Peeragogy walks its talk.

peeragogy

Version 2.0 of the book is out now. Free pdf & brand new softcover for $20.

Version 3.0 is in progress and you can help! Join “Peeragogy in Action” on g+.

I made a contribution on Peeragogy in the corporation for an early version of the book two years ago that presaged some of the current buzz about learning ecosystems.

The Workscape, a platform for learning

Formal learning takes place in classrooms; informal learning happens in workscapes. A workscape is a learning ecology. As the environment of learning, a workscape includes the workplace. In fact, a workscape has no boundaries. No two workscapes are alike. Your workscape may include being coached on giving effective presentations, calling the help desk for an explanation, and researching an industry on the Net. My workscape could include participating in a community of field technicians, looking things up on a search engine, and living in France for three months.

Developing a platform to support informal learning is analogous to landscaping a garden. A major component of informal learning is natural learning, the notion of treating people as organisms in nature. The people are free-range learners. Our role is to protect their environment, provide nutrients for growth, and let nature take its course.

A landscape designer’s goal is to conceptualize a harmonious, unified, pleasing garden that makes the most of the site at hand. A workscape designer’s goal is to create a learning environment that increases the organization’s longevity and health and the individual’s happiness and well-being.

Gardeners don’t control plants; managers don’t control people. Gardeners and managers have influence but not absolute authority. They can’t makea plant fit into the landscape or a person fit into a team.

In an ideal Workscape, workers can easily find the people and information they need, learning is fluid and new ideas flow freely, corporate citizens live and work by the organization’s values, people know the best way to get things done, workers spend more time creating value than handling exceptions, and everyone finds their work challenging and fulfilling.

The technical infrastructure of the Workscape

When an organization is improving its Workscape, looking at consumer applications is a good way to think about what’s required. Ask net-savvy younger workers how they would like to learn new skills, and they bring up the features they enjoy in other services:

  • Personalize my experience and make recommendations, like Amazon.
  • Make it easy for me to connect with friends, like Facebook.
  • Keep me in touch with colleagues and associates in other companies, as on LinkedIn.
  • Persistent reputations, as at eBay, so you can trust who you’re collaborating with.
  • Multiple access options, like a bank that offers access by ATM, the Web, phone, or human tellers.
  • Don’t overload me. Let me learn from YouTube, an FAQ, or linking to an expert.
  • Show me what’s hot, like Reddit, Digg, MetaFilter, or Fark do.
  • Give me single sign-on, like using my Facebook profile to access multiple applications.
  • Let me choose and subscribe to streams of information I’m interested in, like BoingBoing, LifeHacker or Huffpost.
  • Provide a single, simple, all-in-one interface, like that provided by Google for search.
  • Help me learn from a community of kindred spirits, like SlashDot, Reddit, and MetaFilter.
  • Give me a way to voice my opinions and show my personality, as on my blog.
  • Show me what others are interested in, as with social bookmarks like Diigo and Delicious.
  • Make it easy to share photos and video, as on Flickr and YouTube.
  • Leverage “the wisdom of crowds,” as when I pose a question to my followers on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Enable users to rate content, like “Favoriting” an item on Facebook or +!ing is on Google or YouTube.

Some of those consumer applications are simple to replicate in-house. Others are not. You can’t afford to replicate Facebook or Google behind your firewall. That said, there are lots of applications you can implement at reasonable cost. Be skeptical if your collaborative infrastructure that doesn’t include these minimal functions:

Profiles – for locating and contacting people with the right skills and background. Profile should contain photo, position, location, email address, expertise (tagged so it’s searchable). IBM’s Blue Pages profiles include how to reach you (noting whether you’re online now), reporting chain (boss, boss’s boss, etc.), link to your blog and bookmarks, people in your network, links to documents you frequently share, members of your network.

Activity stream – for monitoring the organization pulse in real time, sharing what you’re doing, being referred to useful information, asking for help, accelerating the flow of news and information, and keeping up with change

Wikis – for writing collaboratively, eliminating multiple versions of documents, keeping information out in the open, eliminating unnecessary email, and sharing responsibility for updates and error correction

Virtual meetings – to make it easy to meet online. Minimum feature set: shared screen, shared white board, text chat, video of participants. Bonus features: persistent meeting room (your office online), avatars.

Blogs – for narrating your work, maintaining your digital reputation, recording accomplishments, documenting expert knowledge, showing people what you’re up to so they can help out

Bookmarks – to facilitate searching for links to information, discover what sources other people are following, locate experts

Mobile access – Half of America’s workforce sometimes works away from the office. Smart phones are surpassing PCs for connecting to networks for access and participation. Phones post most Tweets than computers. Google designs its apps for mobile before porting them to PCs.

Social network – for online conversation, connecting with people, and all of the above functions.

Conclusion

Learning used to focus on what was in an individual’s head. The individual took the test, got the degree, or earned the certificate. The new learning focuses on what it takes to do the job right. The workplace is an open-book exam. What worker doesn’t have a cell phone and an Internet connection? Using personal information pipelines to get help from colleagues and the Internet to access the world’s information is encouraged. Besides, it’s probably the team that must perform, not a single individual.  Thirty years ago, three-quarters of what a worker need to do the job was stored in her head; now it’s less than 10%.

 

 

#ITASHARE   #JAYCROSS    #OEB14

Time and MindTime (2)

My previous post addressed time in general. Now I am am going to write about time and you: how you deal with time, how it helps you make progress and where it holds you back, and how it help or hurts your relationship with other people.

I’ll be drawing on nearly two decades of investigation by John Furey and his company, MindTime, that is summarized on the web and in this book:

itsabouttime

Your time perspective influences your every thought. How important is the past, which you can be certain of but may not be replicated going forward? How important is the now, which is the only point in time where you are going to actually take action? And how important are the uncertain opportunities of the future? The different weights we assign to past, present and future define who we are.

3types

 

This morning I answered a few questions online to determine my TimeStyle Profile, a “GPS for the Mind™, that measures the degree to which I utilize future, past, and present thinking perspectives. I tend to be a future thinker:

gps

 

 

MindTime can tell a lot about my thinking from my Profile. If you know me, you’ll probably agree that this description fits:

THINKING TEMPO

Quick and energetic.

THINKING GENERATES

Innovative ideas in high quantities, ingenuity, intuition, spontaneity and impulsiveness, an embrace of opportunities, exploration, and a drive toward change.
Dominant Future thinking manifests as – Vision, innovation, ingenuity, idea generation, spontaneity and impulsivity, an embrace of opportunities, exploration, and a drive toward change.

Method:

You are a visionary and are always on the lookout for new opportunities. Your fast-paced thinking tempo allows you to generate ideas easily, although your thoughts may be all over the place. You are known for innovation and ingenuity and you love to brainstorm. Your dynamic thinking tempo also makes you someone who is driven to explore: you are spontaneous and impulsive, a person who makes decisions quickly and who likes to keep your options open. You are generally outgoing and persuasive, cheerful and high spirited, energetic and active. You tend to start more than you can finish and are good at multi-tasking; however, you tend to wait until the last minute to meet a deadline. You are a natural and dynamic leader who manages others through inspiration.

Possible Challenges:

  • Completing what you’ve started is difficult, since you tend to start so much.
  • Living with the status quo is sometimes uncomfortable, as you are stimulated by change and inspired to participate in it.
  • Taking time to reflect on what you’ve heard and gathering your thoughts before speaking and taking action.
  • Sticking with a plan, since doing so means ignoring opportunities along the way.

Your Values
As someone who relies primarily on your Future thinking perspective, you tend to value change, innovation, opportunity, flexibility, spontaneity, and ideas. All of these are values that by their very nature embrace that which is to come and the possibilities that will unfold in the future. These values are idealistic and do not have the more concrete specific qualities of Past and Present. They are values that lift us individually, communally, and socially towards what we perceive to be a more hopeful and better tomorrow. They are the values that energize us to change the status quo.

Your View of the World

As someone who relies primarily on the Future perspective, your view of the world is an optimistic one. That’s because Future thinking is visionary thinking. It is about change, exploration, creativity, and the ability to see how the future can be (its potential), not how it should be (grounded in truth), or ought to be (its framework and structure). Future thinking means that you look at the world with eyes that are constantly seeking new opportunities, possibilities, and ideas.

Useful feedback

My Profile contains more information and advice than I am reporting here. In the past, I have taken the Myers-Briggs half a dozen times, the Birkman Instrument (twice), the Campbell Interest Survey (three times), the Strong, the Rorschach, Zimbardo’s instrument, and others. None of them gave me as useful information as the MindTime Profile.

One big problem with other personality tests and assessment frameworks is that they tell you about you as if you were in isolation. In organizations, it’s how you get along with other people that matters. Here’s how I compare to the 1,345 other people who have recently completed a profile:

group map

 

Next Steps

John Furey is going to present MindTime concepts to thirty of us at NextNow’s August 29th evening meeting in Berkeley. We plan to assess our time Profiles — and then identify our Profiles on our name badges. We’ll look at a composite for the group and talk about how that impacts our roles.

If you are interested in joining us, please email me to be put on the waiting list.

 

 

50 suggestions for implementing 70-20-10 (3)

50 suggestions for implementing 70-20-10

Part 3 (Here’s Part 1 and Part 2)

The 20 percent: learning through others

 

Learning is social. People learn with and through others.

Conversations are the stem cells of learning. Effective managers encourage their team members to buddy up on projects, to shadow others and to participate in professional social networks. People learn more in an environment that encourages conversation, so make sure you’re fostering an environment where people Continue reading 50 suggestions for implementing 70-20-10 (3)