All I wanted to do was use Frequent Flier miles to buy tickets from San Francisco to Mallorca to Athens and home from Istanbul. Business class.
I spent 45 minutes on the phone with United Mileage Plus and ended up with oddball flights I would never have purchased for myself, e.g. depart SFO at 7:24 in the morning, twiddle thumbs for 3 hours in Houston, spend five hours in Munich awaiting for flight to Palma. Later, fly Palma to Athens via Copenhagen, along with a six hour wait at the Copenhagen airport. Depart Istanbul at 6:20 in the morning, spend more than three hours at Munich Airport and then another three hours at O’Hare. A monkey could pick more convenient flights.
I requested all Lufthansa flights but ended up on United (which I hate) and SAS (which routes through Copenhagen no matter what) except for two short legs.
Route after route had no seats available even though I was booking three months in advance. Business class. We will have to fly coach within Europe. Premium Economy was the best we could do for the return flight; seat upgrades and taxes cost an additional $786.
The clerk at Mileage Plus was saddled with an ineffective system. We spent a bit of time waiting for the screen to refresh. Rather than select from a menu, she had to check everything manually. “Could you go a day earlier? Two days earlier?”
For 360,000 miles and $786, I ended up with tickets that would cost $18,000 out of pocket, so I’ll keep accumulating miles. (Virtually everything we spend goes through a credit card that rewards miles.)
What I fail to understand is how United managed to set up a system that is so aggravating. People in other industries have gone to jail for bait-and-switch tactics that are everyday practice at United. I dread speaking with Mileage Plus because I know they’ll let me down. It’s bad enough when United pisses off regular customers (charging for luggage, serving pricey junk food, and an attitude of no can do.) That they cull out frequent fliers, the profit-making travelers, and hassle them with what are supposed to be rewards in unconscionable. It’s plain stupid.
Week before last, our flight from Germany to SFO arrived a few minutes early, but it took the better part of an hour for our luggage to show up on the baggage carousel.
I suggest the FAA and others change the definition of what makes a flight on time. It should include time to pick up your baggage. Alaska Air gets the suitcases off in minutes; why can’t the other airlines follow suit?
Enterprise Learning takes learning beyond the training department into the overall extended enterprise, the “Workscape.” It’s a breakout that’s happening throughout organizations as they embrace digital technology.
The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.
Nine out of ten companies sampled by Altimeter are engaged in one or more digital transformation practices:
These efforts are being championed by the Chief Marketing Officer, the CEO, and occasionally the CIO. The digital makeover has yet to reach HR. It’s time for that to change.
Erik Brynjolfsson, professor at MIT’s Center for eBusiness has identified seven practices of highly productive firms that have embraced digital transformation. They closely parallel the advice Internet Time Alliance gives to companies adopting an Enterprise Learning approach:
Converting traditional analog processes to digital processes.
Distributing decision rights and empowering line workers, through increased decentralization and delegation
Adopting a policy of free information access and communication
Offering strong performance-linked incentives
Maintaining corporate focus and communicating strategic goals
Recruiting and hiring top-quality employees and committing the necessary resources to the process.
Strong emphasis on the investment of “human capital”
L&D will do well to seek out and partner with those in their organization who champion digital transformation and are running active experiments. If the CEO and CMO are gung-ho, it may be beneficial to ride into the digital era on their coattails.
What do you think? Shouldn’t digital learning transformation, i.e. Enterprise Learning, ally with corporate digerati already implementing new initiatives?
After brunch, I read part of Thoreau: Walk and Be More Present in Brain Pickings. This inspired me to get off my duff and take my first walk in nature this year. The heading of my chosen trail is a five-minute drive from my house.
This is Wildcat Canyon. My path is relatively flat; it runs along the western rim.
Wildcat Canyon is a protected regional park although cattle graze the slopes. I have a Boy Scout medal for walking along the bottom twenty years ago. It’s inspiring western scenery big enough to get lost in and it backs up to residences built right on the property line.
Back in history, the De Anza Party missed finding San Francisco Bay on their first expedition because they were walking in Wildcat Canyon. You can see the Bay from the end of the trail I’m walking. So near and yet so far.
Thank you, Henry David Thoreau for rekindling my walking spirit.
2013 is over for everything but the holidays so I’m posting this list of the top 50 blog posts on Working Smarter this year. Here’s how they were selected.
Working smarter draws upon ideas from design thinking, network optimization, brain science, user experience design, learning theory, organizational development, social business, technology, collaboration, web 2.0 patterns, social psychology, value network analysis, anthropology, complexity theory, and more.
‘The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013 list was compiled from the votes of over 500 learning professionals from 48 countries. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s list. For a fuller analyis, visit Analysis 2013 Twitter retains its no 1 position for [.].
The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.
‘In Here Is New York , E.B. White opens with this sentence: “On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.” That’s because privacy is mostly a settled issue in the physical world, and a grace of civilized life. Clothing, So are walls, doors, windows and shades. MORE >>
‘I’m going to disrupt the Silicon Valley script. You know the one. Every talk or article coming out of Silicon Valley follows the prescribed template: start with a dazzling description of awesome new digital technologies and then proceed to explore all the wonderful benefits and opportunities that these technologies will bring to us. MORE >>
‘Since the publication of its first report in 2009, I’ve closely followed the Shift Index initiative of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge. One of their major findings is that the return on assets (ROA) of US companies have been steadily dropping, and are now 75 percent lower than their 1965 levels. These three indices are highly interrelated. MORE >>
Of course Aaron was a legendary prodigy of a hacker in the sense of someone who can build anything out of anything. But that’s not what the media mean when they call him a hacker. Neither the JSTOR nor RECAP downloads were cases of hacking in the sense of forcing your way into a system by getting around technical barriers. source ]. source ]. MORE >>
‘MOOCs are a phenomenon, a wake-up call for Higher Education and wake-up calls, create a sense of urgency, the first step in the process of change. Here are seven MOOC flips that explain why they may be turning traditional Higher Education on its head. global flood of learners has turned up for courses on every imaginable topic. Let’s flip this. MORE >>
Your organization has decided to tilt in the direction of informal learning. Colleagues tell you that it can be faster, better, and cheaper than traditional approaches. You need to satisfy increasing demands with reduced staff and budget. You’re concerned that your current offerings will not satisfy the new generation of workers. So now what do you do?
1. Masterclass for L&D managers, instructional designers, and senior instructors on the concept and implementation of informal learning. This is generally a one-half or one-day onsite engagement with thirty to forty people.
2. Retreat for CLOs, HR directors, planners, and policy makers on the philosophy of informal learning, the change management process required to support it, and the corporate culture that fosters its success. Two or three managers spend two days at the Internet Time Lab in Berkeley, California, in a heavily personalized experience.
Here’s an overview of the topics from recent Masterclasses.
What is the organization’s primary goal?
How well are you preparing people for the future needs of the organization?
Introduction to informal learning. Push vs. pull. The spectrum. How to recognize it in its many forms.
A dive into 70:20:10 as an example of informal, experiential learning.
A dose of my philosophies of what matters in life and learning.
We talk about how schooling is the wrong model for organizational learning and discourage using schoolish vocabulary.
From this foundation, we explore communities of practice, capturing and disseminating news, knowledge sharing at Intel, experiential learning at Xerox, conversation at HP, volunteerism at SAP, Twitter at Deloitte, product knowledge at BT, and learning from microblogs. We also address implementation and values at a large company rollout, curation as learning, and creating the business case in several different industries.
Depending on the level of the group, we may apply the 10-step implementation program from the 702010Forum.
Recent Masterclasses and Retreats
We recently conducted half-day Masterclasses at the WorldBank (above) and Dutch high-tech company Ordina (below).
Senior managers and strategists attended a two-day management planning retreat at the Internet Time Lab earlier this year.
Members of the Internet Time Alliance may join us virtually or in person during a retreat. In this case, Harold Jarche and I joined forces to help this team launch an expansive nationwide educational arm for a major non-profit.
To maintain quality, I offer no more than four Internet Time Lab Retreats per year.
Ten years ago this May a journalist named Nick Carr stirred up a ruckus with an article in Harvard Business Review claiming that IT Doesn’t Matter. Using the telephone and shipping by rail were great sources of competitive advantage – until every business could afford them. Then they no longer differentiated those who used them. Carr argued that IT is a mature industry, its presence is assumed, and such things as standards will make it even more of a commodity in the future.
Consultants Howard Smith and Peter Fingar shot back a month later with a paperback retort entitled IT Doesn’t Matter – Business Processes Do. I ordered a copy the day I met Peter last week, and I read the booklet yesterday evening. In 120 pages, Smith and Fingar skewer Carr, show why IT will matter more than ever, and explain how business process management creates riches.
The big argument is that “Business process management (BPM) systems can, for the first time in the history of business automation, let companies deal directly with business processes: their discovery, design, deployment, change, and optimization.” As long as there’s innovation, there’s room for making processes better. BPM promises to obliterate the “Business-IT Divide.
To optimize a process, the right hand must know what the left is doing. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), the melding of ERP, SCM, CRM, PLM, and what-not into one all-encompassing application, is a major step forward, but it doesn’t link the organization with those outside the firewall such as partners and suppliers. Web Services integrate the enterprise with the outside world, connecting business to business, just as the Web connected consumers to businesses in the last decade.
Does this mean all business is going to be carried out using common processes that embed best practices? Not on your life. “BPM will be used both to differentiate (best-in-class) and to standardize (best-practice).” Count on Amazon, for example, to use best-practice standards for email and credit-checking, and FedEx will deliver your order. Don’t expect Amazon to let you peak into proprietary systems such as One-Click Ordering, for that’s where their competitive advantage lies.
Nick Carr’s screed in HBR attacked data processing as we’ve known it. Indeed, that’s not where to look for big value in the future. Business organizations are moving up the ladder a notch to MetaIT. Instead of one-time automation to save labor, they are establishing structures to continuously improve the way they do things.
Authors Smith and Fingar tell us it’s time for the IT tail to stop wagging the Business dog. In their vision of the future, business people will define and own business processes. Instead of doing what-if analyses with numbers on spreadsheets, decision-makers will do what-if analyses of how their business operates or might operate.
As I recently wrote here, it’s as if builders could move walls by shifting them on blueprints displayed on their laptops. With a comprehensive business blueprint, an executive can hand off an entire bundle of processes, say payroll, with minimal fuss (and with knowledge of precisely what savings will result.) A manager can experiment with different ways of getting a job done and chose the one with the most profit potential. A worker can fix a glitch in the system that has been irritating customers for once and for all. In the BPM world, business runs the show.
The authors propose a daunting laundry list of other functions the new paradigm can help accomplish, among them “accountability, activity-based costing, business process outsourcing, competitive intelligence, concurrent engineering, crisis management, inter-organizational systems, just-in-time (JIT), key performance indicators, lifetime customer value, pay-for-performance, resource-based strategy, security audit, scenario planning, and supply chain optimization.” (Whew.)
My interest in all this is how it improves learning and human performance. Process-oriented environments will impact traditional training just as word processing and social change eliminated most of the nation’s secretaries. Process innovation empowers us to create jobs that provide more throughput and greater worker satisfaction, although not through traditional training departments. Imagine the potential of:
Transparent human development
Training value analysis
Learning performance management
Concurrent knowledge capture
Customer learning alignment
Personal flow monitoring
Psychological stress alerts
Individual performance indicators
Team competency management
Lifetime worker contribution
Individualized learning paths
Tailored management development
On the fly simulations
For training directors and CLOs, the future holds good news or bad news. It depends on where you’re coming from. Training administrators who fail to understand the new dynamics of business as likely to find themselves stripped bare, evaluated by metrics they do not understand, and looking for another line of work. Those who adopt the process mindset take on significant new responsibilities, for everyone knows that the people in the organization are more important than the technology.
After fifty years of waiting for instructions in its corporate cocoon, training is ready to unfold its wings and be recognized as a full-fledged business process.
I wrote this post nearly ten years ago. The wheels of innovation turn slowly.
Internet Time Lab needed a logo for its iPhone app to measure emotion. At my partner’s suggestion, I turned to 99designs.com, “the fastest growing design marketplace in the world.” Their site says they’ve conducted 174,000 design contests and paid out $1.4 million to designers last month. I’d never heard of them.