Category Archives: Uncategorized

I rather like this curation thing.. (part1)

Towards the end of last year I became more interested in curation. I’ve tagged and collected bookmarks on delicious and now diigo for several years, but never bothered to create lists, groups or even added many comments to bookmarks, largely because it was just for me; a personal library. But I now have a growing internal audience of trainers to think about who are increasingly interested in what I’m doing and talking about. I needed to become more organised.

I started to think about how I could improve the user experience for them to make sure they persevered. This led me to research other ways of sharing to make it more appealing to access and consume the content that I was finding. I tried Pearltrees and experimented with running RSS feeds to sites like Symbaloo, Pageflakes and Netvibes, but while these are all good tools was the one that met my needs the best. is a content curation tool. It lets you organise content that you discover into topics on boards in a simple, yet visually appealing way. You can tag them like in Diigo but it encourages you to add more comment to the posts you select to give more context. It’s also very social you can search other people’s content and re-scoop it back to your boards for your audience. It’s when you start using it as a search tool that you realise the power of human filters over algorithms. Yes the humans are fallible, they won’t always tag everything consistently, but they unearth better content and link it to more relevant content. Some people see this as spoon feeding, they think it’s lazy, personally I think it’s a natural and welcome evolution. Most people just want to find relevant content, most people don’t know how to construct complex search terms on Google, most people don’t realise how the search results are chosen for them. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t encourage people to learn all these skills, we should, but most people won’t, most people simply don’t have the time or the inclination.

Curation can provide a filter, or a series of filters, a mixture of human and machine that ultimately leads you to find more useful stuff.  It’s a gateway drug to using the internet to learn. Hopefully it will lead more people to want to become curators themselves, to give back and contribute. Some, probably a minority will, others will just consume and learn from the work of the minority. Now that’s not unique to curation is it?


What’s your Golden Rule?

I’m pulling together a plan for a new suite of compliance modules which have to be published a lot quicker than I’d like. So as part of this plan I need to educate a range of  SME’s and get them onboard with my philosophy quickly.

Here’s my draft..

“You agree to partner with us in a modern approach to compliance training. You agree with the following principles:

·        Learning is not an event it’s a process

·        Multiple choice tests only demonstrate short term memory recall

·        Compliance training should be more than a box ticking exercise

·        Compliance training can deliver improvements and savings to the business which can and should be measured

·        Compliance training does not have to be arduous for the participants

Golden Rules:

1.     To change people’s behaviour you must first convince them of the need to change.

2.     Training must be tailored to different groups even though this takes longer to develop. The needs of the Sales team are not the same as the needs of the Facilities team.

3.     There is no point in assessing people’s ability to recall facts they read three, or four slides ago.

4.     Job aids that people can find and use intuitively are more effective than expecting people to memorise policies and documents.

5.     Realistic scenarios can help people to practice the behaviours we want them to adopt in a safe environment and show them the consequences of their decisions and actions.

6.     We can move compliance beyond box ticking to improve capability and competence.”

What else would you include? Have you created anything similar in your organisation. It would be particularly interesting to hear how vendors address this issue, or do you just give them what they want?

Learning to use Social Media at work

Do we need to train employees to use social collaborative tools effectively?  

NO! Of course not almost everybody uses Facebook, or Twitter…don’t they?

Well firstly, no they don’t.

Yes, many of them have an account, but just because they have an account doesn’t mean they use it. Secondly, using the tools for social/recreational purposes is not the same as using them for work. Even those of us that use them semi-professionally, as Personal Learning Networks, will need to adapt our online style for a behind the firewall, enterprise only platform.

But does this require training?  Er.. yes and no..

Social/collaboration tools are really just communication vehicles and in more traditional companies you won’t get very far if you tell the managers “hey look at this it’s Facebook for (insert company name here)“. The key to successful adoption is to use them to solve problems. Each problem you successfully solve is like a seed germinating. As you plant more seeds across the business they should start to link to each other organically, but you can’t leave this to chance; Community Management is vital to success, as Clark Quinn of the ITA says you have to seed, feed and weed your community.

I recently introduced Chatter to some of our Customer Services managers and while I did position it as a way to solve a problem, I probably said too much about the wider possibilities when I should have just shut up and let them figure out the rest for themselves.

The reaction was predictable; they were concerned about the usual stuff, goofing off, posting inappropriate comments and posting work related advice that might be incorrect. These objections are straightforward to handle, but they do seem to require much repeating before they are accepted (see Jane Hart’s site for a list of great answers). After my presentation the meeting agenda moved back to the day to day concerns of their department. They talked about how they communicated changes to procedures. The changes came from one department then one person in each Customer Service team was responsible for explaining them in “layman’s terms” to their teams. So this one task was being duplicated at least 4 times in one location alone. It was at this point I made a rather obvious suggestion relating to my earlier presentation..

Now I won’t pretend that this is going to change all of their views on social media, but if we can solve specific problems across the business using Chatter then we are embedding it as a tool and it becomes a  part of their work flow. This is a fundamentally different concept when compared to “Hello! Let’s all join the Company Community (companies are not communities)

This way we can help teams learn how to use the tool appropriately in smaller groups and because it has a work based context right from the start it should be perceived less as “Facebook for enterprise” and if you work somewhere like I do that’s important.