Trust the Process (aka Reflections from an Unconference)

 

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Thanks to Simon Heath . Loving your work as always. x

I’m an advocate of the Unconference format. This is my third go at instigating one within the @LnDConnect community and I reckon I’m just about understanding a little of the magic that happens now.

Events like this cannot happen successfully without people creating, thinking & participating… and if you want folk to create, to reflect, to participate it is important to actively seek and carve out space and time to enable this… then get out of the way and let it breathe.

Events like this don’t happen without a facilitation team who are in service to others and to each other; a team who push experiment; who are relentlessly and genuinely curious about what is happening in their chosen field; who seek to learn themselves. In this instance the Team were (in alphabetical order) Ady Howes, Fiona McBride, Kev Wyke, Martin Couzins, Mike Collins & Sarah Storm... and me.

Here are some of my reflections ( others’ are captured at the bottom of the blog)

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The Importance of Thinking Beyond Your Bubble

 

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A few days after Paris Terrorist attacks, I’m in the pub with some friends and colleagues and I’m in conversation with someone about the attacks. Her response was very much aligned to mine, a sense of: more love/ less aggression = good response to the situation. Control, vengeance, fear = long-term scary response to the situation. We were blown away by the bravery the courage and the solidarity we saw.

But it’s where the conversation went next that stuck with me and I’m still mulling on. It was when she said everyone on Facebook agreed. Her timeline on Facebook, her Twitter feed, her news alerts all pointed to the incredible, liberal, make-love-not-war sense that she already had. And I realised, mostly mine did too.

But of course that’s bollocks. Not everyone agreed. Not everyone responded as we would like. Other Facebook feeds were doubtless awash with a counter-narrative that would have made me terrified/ want to weep.

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Feedback as a Gift?

image This post is in response to the invitation from Helen Amery to take part in a “Carnival” where different bloggers and thinkers write and post their take on a topic – in this case, feedback. You can find more posts through the #feedbackCarnival hashtag. She posed the following for consideration: Feedback would happen all the time if…..

The first time I remember anyone telling me “feedback is a gift”, I was mercilessly cynical. A gift? Always? Are. You. Serious?

I still have moments when someone helpfully decides to gift me with their insight and it feels less like a gift, more like a raid on my person… but on the whole, I try to hold to the notion that all information is information and that, mostly, to be informed is better than ignorance….mostly….

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Notes from Learning Technologies ’15

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I was part of the Social Media Team for Learning Technologies in London a couple of weeks ago – many thanks to Kate Graham & the Team for the invitation.

In the spirit of Social & sharing, please pursue the links below as they take your interest.

The Speaking events

Stop in on Twitter & have a look at the #LT15UK hashtag ( not the #LTUK15 one that I was using incorrectly at times… sorry). There is a rich vein of photos, articles, blogs and information there.

First stop: Transforming learning” where Andrew Jacob & Garry Hearn gave complementary, but different stories of how they tackled the Learning Offer in their organisations.

I grappled with Tony Buzan’s Creativity on Demand session. Finding myself torn between wanting to Be Creative without boundaries and the invitation to stick to a carefully thought through process.
It led to some interesting chats on twitter, not least with the inimitable Simon Heath:
”  Creativity would have been giving all in the room a water pistol filled with paint & leaving them to get on with it”
followed by:

” Normal conference = a room full of bollocks Creative conference = a room full of Pollocks”

The session on Learning Evaluation,  where Phillip Price’s tales of setting up a brand new, fully functional Virtual Learning Academy in 4 months to address the attendance & “reach” issue he faced within the Car Franchise business he operates in, were complemented by Rafe Ball’s experiences of ROI” was interesting.

I think I got most from the end questions in the session. These led to lot of information about the Learning Academy – and the trials & advantages of introducing digital learning content through film, apps and skilled trainers (as you might expect with in a Peugeot/ Citroen sales environment, they leased the equipment over a three year period to reduce asset risk. It’s a fascinating case study – I’m not sure my Tweets fully captured it)

Perhaps one of my favourite sessions was Euan Semple’s wonderfully conversational Power of Joined up Communication session – where he covered how we can use social media, our own connections and building relationships to get to the heart of improving learning and organisational life.

If nothing else, it’s worth looking at for some of the quotes on slides & the answer to some of the questions the audience had:

How do you find the time to be on Social Media? being one of them

Beyond the Speaking Events

I’m one wee person at a big Conference – and much as I would have loved to split myself into pieces, there was lots going on that is worthwhile digging further for… especially if you are in L&D
Useful places to begin ( after checking out the hashtag)  are Kate Graham’s reflections on the Conference

https://kategraham23.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/another-year-over-at-learning-technologies-lt15uk/

and take a look at David D’Souza’s  #LTUK15 and SuperQuick Thoughts http://t.co/VZQVfwl7cT

Learning Tech has its own YouTube Channel – the volume of content on there could keep your brain busy for days… so browse and enjoy.

Giveback UK

Last, but by no means  least, it is worth every second to pay some attention to GivebackUK  a non profit organisation whose aim is to support learning in the third sector– by creating ‘Clear Lessons’, an inspirational, free video learning library, for anyone within the UK third sector.
@RosieHaighton1‘ Storify of the Launch session is here:  “GivebackUK Launch”
Go see them. If you can offer your time, your expertise or help them get funding, do so.

I’m proud to be supporting them & the launch was goosebumpingly inspiring.

Conclusions and Mullings:
I never lose a sense of privilege at being asked to attend & tweet/ blog at events. It is not a core part of fuchsiablue as a business, rather it is a joyful add-on which allows a gathering of ideas and connections – with an eye always to think about “How is this useful to my clients?” “What can be done with this thinking? How can it be shared or debated to really shift ideas and put them into action?”

Part of the joy is sharing the content and learning more widely – how far can this go? Who might read it/ see it/ think about it – beyond the event? This is why I’m such an advocate of social and digital sharing – the reach has such potential.

There is a lot in this post – which I recon is a good thing, because it shows how alive and lively all things Learning are, especially in the UK.
I believe we can make the most of that, if we are wise.

Social Media Stories

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I’m talking to the good people at East Ayrshire Council this week about the power of Social Media & how it can be used, organisationally, for good things.

I’m already talking to them about our local Planning Team who used Twitter and Facebook to generate a much much bigger attendance at public planning meetings. They ask folk to follow a hashtag on the evening of the meeting, encourage live tweeting and live-stream videos of the discussion, in the hope that they capture, understand and maybe even deal with objections to plans before things move too far along the line.

I’m talking about Sainsbury’s re-naming Tiger Bread as Giraffe Bread in 2012, based on feedback from 3 1/2 year old Lily

I’m talking about HR Em’s use of “Kitchen Facebook” & the now slightly infamous #CatFriday to encourage people over the social media wall.

I’m talking about David D’Souza’ s curation of  HR thinkers and contributors through the  Book of Blogs. ( Second Edition available here ) Continue reading

The Need to Break Bread – Marketing by Relationships

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Jeremiah Gardner has come from San Diego to take part in Happy Start up SummerCamp. He’s paid his own ticket and has been part of the panel who listened to and advised on the Saturday Morning StartUp Pitches. I’m about to go to his workshop on Minimal Value Proposition – how do you take a thing and market a thing without getting embroiled in too much “bullsh*t Branding*? On Sunday morning he will talk at the Sunday Assembly & hold the room as he takes the theme of Restoration & recounts tales of where he came from and the choices he has made.

Jeremiah advocates understanding the relationship you have with your customer – not your logo, not your product, but the folk who pay you and those who work for you. Build that relationship in the best possible way – offer your stories and the reason why you do the thing you do, with as much clarity and generosity as you can muster – the rest comes from there.

We fall into conversation when I have snuck out of the before-lunch session. Hungry and brain-filled, I need a few minutes to gather my thoughts. He is an easy presence – warm and humourous – which belies his preference to debunk and disrupt some of the marketing myths he sees…I’m grateful that he doesn’t seem to take exception to my slightly spaced-out state.

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Getting Over The Social Media Wall

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(aka: Why I think if you work in L&D/OD you should be active on Social Media.)

So I’ve been thinking.

I’ve been in few conversations of late with folk who work in organisations and whose job seems to be about delivering/ improving people development or engagement or organisational culture. At the same time, I’m in conversations with those who are consultants, external experts, trainers, facilitators, coaches – folk who offer to design and deliver interventions for clients or into a client system.

And I keep bumping into some sort of Social Media Wall. Continue reading