We are running a Learning 2.0 experiment to see if we can learn faster, retain more, and realize greater gains from what we have learned.
We have no criteria for how we decide what learning opportunities we should invest in. Further, when sharing what we have learned from book reviews, training courses, conferences, and even customer success days, the reviews can take too long, and they don’t have a clear purpose or goal to them. This is not to say that our attempts at learning have been a failure, on the contrary, they have been the source of incredible improvements and it is from this elevated understanding that I realize we can increase the velocity and impact of how we as an organization can learn. In other words we are now at the point where we can experiment with taking our collective learning to the next level.
But, before I jump to how, I want to first make one clarification. I am talking about our collective education as it pertains to our shared interest in the continuing improvement of our company. This is not about how we as individuals should be continually educating ourselves on a wide variety of topics. I do think that is a pursuit that all of us should be taking and it is worthy of debate and improvement, but that isn’t the topic that I am focussed on here.
With this clarification in mind. We learn and share what we have learned with all of our coworkers to improve how we work together to deliver products and services to our customers. For our learning to be a success we have to realize an improvement is defined as; a problem to be solved, or a job to be done, that we deem important enough to act on, and by acting upon it we achieve a measure of success as defined by the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that we use to measure our results by.
This is not to say that attempting to learn is a failure if we can’t realize some action that results in KPI improvements from that learning. On the contrary, pursuing new knowledge that we hypothesize will benefit us, is what we should be doing, what we shouldn’t be doing is wasting time summarizing and sharing the results of that education if we find that there is nothing that we can act upon from it. In other words the hypothesize didn’t pan out.
My learning 2.0 experiment can be summarized using our typical structure for analyzing problems as follows:
Problem To Be Solved
Our investments of time and money into learning are ad hoc with no clear criteria for how we make those decisions, and our general sharing of everything we have learned in an often protracted way has created learning bottlenecks and learning fatigue with the process. Further we have no formal method by which to realize the benefits of what we have learned.
How We Measure Success
Within three months of adopting our learning 2.0 process we are reviewing and acting upon at least one learning opportunity at every weekly share and learn.
Job To Be Done
As the person who wants to learn about something that requires my time, possibly company funding, and the time of my coworkers to consider what I have learned, I present the hypothesis for the problem that I believe this education can solve and the key performance indicator results that it could achieve, for review and approval of at least one coworker. Once agreed to this learning investment becomes a card on the applicable team board, with points, that moves to validation once closed.
As the person sharing what I have learned I focus my summary on my key insights, and for each insight the problem that we have that the insight can solve, and by solving it my hypothesis for the measure of success it can achieve. And I include any related jobs to be done to recognize the benefit. For greater certainty we limit our education sharing to insights, and for each insight the problem to be solved, it’s measure of success, and if applicable job to be done. If we have no insights from the learning that we should act upon we close our learning card and move to our next learning opportunity.
As the person making the case for an action to be taken to realize the benefits of an insight that I have made I present my rationale to my coworkers to hopefully have them back my suggestion and queue the work to be done, failing that, my improvement goes nowhere for now.
Interesting add on job to be done that we can do once we become good at this; We publish everything we have learned publicly so that our community can benefit from our education and by so doing they become stronger, more involved, and the size and reach of our community grows.