Curating and transferring knowledge & collaborative social learning #CIPDLDshow

A jam-packed session chaired by Julian Stodd (@julianstodd) focused on tacit knowledge in our organisations, how we share it and how we collaborate to create it and create change.  Both presentations were from the medical sector, one, Astra Zeneca operating in a highly regulated manufacturing environment and the second, the NHS IQ team (@NHSIQ)

First up was Roy Davis from Astra Zeneca. Roy described a complex transfer of the manufacturing process of an accentuated influenza vaccine from AZ offices in California to Liverpool. His case study illustrated at a really granular level the difficulties of transferring tacit knowledge, of making visible ‘hidden factories’ which our teams use day in day out to complete their work but may never have shared with anyone. Tacit knowledge and expertise is built over years of doing something, but if that person leaves or the job has to shift to another site/team the lack of explicit, shared knowledge becomes business critical.

Key challenges included the lack of tangible knowledge or training for the team from LiVerpool, the sensitivities of established scientists letting go of a process they had developed and owned for a long time and importantly making that process and knowledge visible. Roy showed lots of the research models and process analysis that was needed to make this knowledge visible but what struck me was how integral the emotional contract was to the success of this project. Getting buy in from the scientists with the knowledge and making sure all of the project team understood the emotional sensitivities of taking over that process was key. And it all had to be focused on the importance (that word purpose came up again 😉) of everyone understanding why doing the project well was critical to the ability of the organisation to achieve its goals of providing safe, live vaccines to  those in need of them. Lots of mind sets needed changing her alongside the careful and precise documentation and exposing if core processes. And I liked the stress on the fact that none of this was accidental and it all hinged on recognition and appreciation being paid to those who were undertaking the work and handing over the knowledge.

The next speakers were Carol Read (@CarolLRead) and Kate Pound (@KateSlater2) both Transformation Fellows of the NHS Horizons Group @NHSIQ. I agree with Julian that some of the most radical OD and change work is being done in the NHS at the moment, some of it by this team. It was a really good presentation.

They described their work creating the School for Health and Care Radicals MOOC, a five week programme, and their new open access The Edge (@theEdgeNHS) collaborative curation platform for encouraging connections, sharing of knowledge and most importantly, change.  I loved their description of their goals as a team including activating the radicals, giving staff permission to change and innovate, and to attempt to jump the gap by skipping five years forward, not going through each stage of innovation but jumping to where you want to be now. Central to the whole project was creating a bottom up drive for change & innovation, empowering staff across the NHS to make a difference and improve patient care. There were five key planks to their strategy (and you can read more about the wider strategy here in this White Paper http://media.nhsiq.nhs.uk/whitepaper/html5/index.html?page=1):

  • activate disrupters, heretics radicals and mavericks
  • lead transformation from the edge
  • change your story
  • curate rather than create  knowledge
  • build bridges to connect the disconnected.

Really passionate and great stuff being done using lots of new approaches, including encouraging people to tell their digital stories.

Attending the MOOC along side NHS staff at all levels and in different clinical and non clinical functions  has given people permission to make change and created a culture of permission for innovation. The #NHSChangeDay has been a great demonstration and beacon for this. Change becomes everyone’s job, not something done to you but something you shape. And what was completely critical to this was creating a community of participants, talking to each other, social and emotional ties and beliefs that unite teams however big in a common purpose. Yes please lots more of this. What a lovely way to end my time at this year’s show, inspired and full of ideas, just how it should be. Fabulous.

From lurker to learner – ignite your passions #CIPDldshow

Using social media for my own personal and professional development is almost second nature to me now but five years ago I didn’t know my hashtags from my hash browns!

This morning I’m giving an Ignite talk at the CIPD L&D show on how I journeyed from being a shy introverted lurker on social media to harnessing its value for my own development.  Let’s not dwell on the anxiety that the Ignite format induces (20 slides, 5 mins, 15 seconds per slide) or is that just me?! or the fact that I was at my own leaving do last night and many in the audience will have been at the Day 1 #tweet up till late the night before, let’s try to focus… with me yet?

Here’s a few of my thoughts on using social media for your development:

  • Not enough people in L&D yet use social media to its fullest potential for their own and others learning.
  • It’s invaluable for providing peer insight and challenge, especially if you’re the sole L&D professional in your organisation.
  • The learning you can gain from being active on social media is immense, and it can be as purposeful and boundaried as you want it to be, you don’t need to spend every waking second tweeting to get value from your engagements.
  • It helps you gain fresh perspectives – building a personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter or Google +, Facebook provides a springboard into new relationships, collaborations and conversations.
  • Conversations are at the heart of a healthy PLN – just as in your relationships offline, conversations on social media need to be two-way, you give, you receive – reciprocity is key.

melville quote

  • Each little gesture, comment on other people’s tweets or posts, likes or favourites will give you courage and encourage others to connect with you.
  • You’ll need to experiment a little to find the platform that suits you, some people like the fast paced brevity of Twitter, others prefer more visual formats like Pinterest or Tumblr, try them, settle in, get comfortable and watch what’s going on.
  • Lurking is fine as you find your feet, getting social for the first time can be scary so there’s nothing wrong with watching, listening in and learning. But if that’s all you do you are missing out on serendipitous connections, new ideas and a stream of resources and horizon widening perspectives.
  • It’s not hard to get started – find people you’ve heard of, respect or who talk about things you’re interested in and follow them, then follow people they follow – as a famous Meerkat would say ‘simples’.
  • Try not fear the stream, the sheer volume of posts on any social media network can be overwhelming but think of it like a passign river not a deluge. You can dip your toe in and out – you can’t and won’t experience everything or engage with everyone & that’s OK – and don’t worry too much about how you’ll come across, every time you dip your toe in you’ll make a tiny ripple, it’s not a wave, it won’t overcome you.
  • Try Twitterchats to get you into the flow of conversations and meeting new folk – they usually last no longer than an hour and are focused on a series of linked questions/issues or a single topic. There are a host of brilliant L&D chats you can join like #ldinsight (Friday mornings 8-9am GMT) or #chat2lrn (First Thursday of the month 4-5pm GMT) to name but two, #pkmchat is a US based chat on personal knowledge management which is also great and highlights the way social media can internationalise your learning network. Read more here about how to participate in a Twitter chat, they really got me started and gave me confidence to start having my own voice and find my place on social media. Here’s some more advice on Tweetchatting: http://blogs.constantcontact.com/how-to-join-the-conversation/

I’m recognising that this may not fit into the 5 minutes I have for my Ignite talk – AAGH!!

Anyway… my final thought is that your PLN needs to grow with you, it will change shape over time, if you want your network to keep nourishing your curiosity you’ll need to tend to it, if you don’t do this then your network will stagnate and you’ll stop hearing new and interesting thing. Be careful you don’t end up in echo chamber of people saying like-minded things. It’s human nature to seek the familiar and agreeable but we all need a bit of challenge in our lives, seek out people with different or alternative perspectives, look for people who are outside of your sector or profession, see what you can share with each other.

There’s a whole heap of excellent advice on building PLNs & getting social online, here are a few:

http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/creating-a-pln/

https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/how-to-create-a-robust-and-meaningful-personal-learning-network-pln/

image

And above all appreciation is important, your network is not an impersonal ‘thing’ it’s a diverse group of human beings, each with their own challenges, anxieties and insights, remember to thank them for sharing – for helping you to grow. So my PLN – I salute you, you share your insights, time and resources with me and challenge me to do better, think wider, and keep learning on a daily basis.

thank you for helping me grow

The power of purpose – building resilience #cipldshow

Olympia looked majestic in the brilliant sunshine this morning and there was a definite buzz around the place and not just from the coffee. This year’s CIPD L&D show is offering a range of different sessions from free tasters in the main exhibition, short Ignite talks to full workshops. Only able to stay for half a day I picked two sessions on leadership, a topic close to my heart. image The importance of being full of purpose and, for leadership teams importantly, that being a shared, collective purpose  was a unifying theme at both sessions. A key message I took away from the opening session from Tim Munden & Nick Pope was the importance of leadership teams learning together, building collective capacity, this really struck a chord with me.

The sum has be more than the total of its parts and that takes work and persistence, dialogue and sometimes dissonance. You have to learn how to work together around the table and out in your organisation. Why then are so many leadership development programmes focused on the individual? Good question.

The second session from Alan Nobbs of the NHS Leadership Academy and Peter Morgan from Caffe Nero demonstrated this again, in both settings the leadership development includes a hefty dose of new, existing or potential leaders learning together, sharing experiences and building insights.

Nick Pope’s comment that you’ll know you’ve achieved collective capacity  when you see your Director of HR talking about business performance or the Director of Operations discussing people strategy at staff meetings really rang through, we have to lead out from our functions, that’s what convinces people we are a team and what shapes a common purpose.

I can’t sign off without giving a shout out for the way resilience is a core feature of the strategy at Unilever, they described an impressive range of activities which they implement to support and strengthen individual, team and organisational wellbeing  (emotional, physical and mental) and it was having an impact, we can all get behind that.

I’ll nuance this a bit if time permits but hopefully it gives a flavour of some of the themes from my Day 1.

Blogging for golden nuggets of wisdom

I’m so delighted to be part of the team asked to cover the CIPD L&D show this year, delighted and a bit daunted. I’ve been tweeting and blogging for a while but never in an ‘official’ capacity, I think I get a press pass which is very exciting! As I type this I’m charging up devices and batteries and pondering what else will help me make a good job of this… 

Having an open mind and a ready ear will go a long way I think as will just trying to soak up and reflect the atmosphere. I’m going to try to curate some of the many and varied golden nuggets of wisdom about L&D that I know from looking at the programme will emerge and ground that in my own experiences of L&D.

Social media has made events like this so much more than they used to be, tweeting, conference back channels and live blogging help to open the doors of Olympia (or wherever) to everyone who can’t attend and invite a wider dialogue about the issues being discussed in the seminar rooms, lecture theatres and coffee queues. So join me, and my fellow bloggers by following the hashtag #cipdldshow and we’ll do our best to bring your voices in, ask your questions and share what we’re hearing. It’s going to be fun.

Getting creative – a review of Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences

creative research methodsCreative research methods have a long tradition in the arts and humanities, but are much less familiar in the social sciences. So I’m delighted to see this new book from Dr Helen Kara offer a welcome insight into the growing field of creative research methods for social science research. The book is a positive romp through a whole range of creative methods and approaches. Inevitably this means that the book is wide in scope rather than deep in detail on any one approach but for me this was a plus. The book feels encyclopedic in the care and attention that has been given to documenting references, case studies and examples, providing a vast range of references to works for you to explore at your leisure in more detail as you want. It’s a timely and much needed prompt to all social scientists about the importance of thinking outside of the box and not being afraid to jump out of our methodological comfort zones once in a while.

I was particularly taken by an early example of the use of crochet to model the geometry of  hyperbolic planes by Latvian mathmatician Daina Taimina. And I was pleased to see concepts like ‘bricolage’ and ‘remix‘ in research being discussed. Creative combinations of methods and reworking established approaches into new and exciting designs are all part of the creative landscape we are encouraged to explore.

The book is really thought-provoking, as I read through its pages I found myself considering a wider range of methods than I might normally and if it has the same effect on others we could be in for interesting times. From innovative uses of ‘conventional’ social science methods like surveys or focus groups, through to creative mapping (see for example this video on using emotion mapping in clinical practice with families), performative research, technology enabled research (good to see the #NSMNSS network getting a shout out too 🙂 ) and the use of graphic novels, it urges us to think differently about what social science research looks like. I also like that the book is clear that not all creative approaches to research will be innovative and that you can (and should?) be creative with tried and tested conventional methods like interviews, focus groups and surveys. This is important, especially for applied researchers where research clients and funders may be less open to the more overtly creative approaches of performance and art-based social research.

Rather than having chapters on specific creative approaches the book is organised around different stages in the research process, providing guidance and examples of how and why creativity can be built into research design, data collection, analysis and writing. It also does not shy away from the thorny issues of ethics and rigour. The book challenges social scientists to reflect on their methods, to try new approaches and apply some creative thinking. But it doesn’t do so mindlessly, it also reminds us to think about the ethics, quality and rigour of what we are doing as we experiment.

I’ll be writing more about creativity later this month seeing as I’m attending a day long workshop on creative leadership this week swiftly followed a day at the Social Research Association’s first conference on creative research methods. But for now, it’s a big thumbs up from me for this book, a great read, one I expect to be dipping into time and time again!