Tuesday, 14 February 2017

2017 Learning & Development Trends

LinkedIn recently released its 2017 Workplace Learning Report which outlines how Learning & Development (L&D) professionals are tackling their top challenges.

The happiest outcome of this report is the No. 1 trend, which is: Organizations are investing more in talent development. Almost 70% of professionals say that talent is the number one priority in their organisations and over a quarter of them are expecting a budget increase in 2017.

While this is good news for the external learning consulting industry, a new challenge will soon become apparent.

Once upon a time, companies were happy to receive Level 1 Kirkpatrick results (a.k.a. Happy Sheets) that justified their training budgets. However, now that the C-suite is keenly aware that L&D is an investment and not a cost, they will begin demanding more evidence of returns on that investment.

Thus, learning consultants must begin developing how to tie their methodologies to measurable results, and above all, prove it.

Secondly, while everyone seems to want to rush onto the e-learning bandwagon, there is often a mismatch between what technology can do and what we want it to do. Across the board, we find that while technology assists, but in-person classroom learning remains the most preferred option.
The report indicates that face-to-face is still da bomb.
This means that learning consultants must select the right tools to increase efficiency of learning, not just to display that they have the capacity for it.

Thirdly, as the audience gets smarter and has immediate and wide access to information, the classroom environment must also change, which means the trainer can no longer dictate or control the learners to one particular outcome.

In fact, it is when learners collaborate and take ownership, if not stewardship of their learning process, that they retain more knowledge and maintain change for longer. Thus, the best method is to shift away from training into learning facilitation.

Above all, learning consultants must always remember why they joined the industry in the first place, to promote growth and innovation in L&D.

Now that businesses are catching up to trends sparked a decade ago, it is time L&D professionals made the next quantum leap into the future. Why wait? Start now.

 Click here to download the report
 Click here to download the report

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Wickedness: Blazing from the fires of Joy

Wickedness comes from the addiction to Joy.

Joy, like Sadness, Anger and Fear serve survival functions.

When these emotions detract from beneficial thought and social functions is when they become the norm instead of the exception.

People who are addicted to joy will uncontrollably seek out exciting, and often dangerous activities, to get the rush.

Individually, they love to listen to and tell over-the-top jokes, especially those that involve illogical punchlines which require lateral thought connections.

"What kind of bus can stand on a sidewalk? A busker"

Many of the individual activities are harmless to others whole providing pleasure to only the Joyeur.
Unfortunately, when a small percentage get bored of them, they resort to getting their rushes elsewhere, more commonly practical jokes or pranks. This is when the Joy becomes Wickedness instead.

Pranks have very little upside for the prankee, which embarrasses and in some cases, even injures them. Conversely, there is always an upside for the Wicked.

Most Joyeurs won't cross this line. But the Wicked will demolish it.

Children, at early ages, learn it from family and friends, laughing at minor accidents at home or at school.

Also, watching cartoons where the heroes laugh at the villains' boss berating his henchmen for once again causing his failure.

Parents might find this behaviour cute, but unclarified, uncorrected and unguided, it could lead into an addiction that lasts a lifetime and affects many other people in the years to come.

It could even lead to the dreaded output of wickedness: bullying.

Wickedness is not funny.

Nip it in the bud. Fast.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Preparing the Mind for Innovative Thinking

Innovative Thinking as a skill requires a proper platform for it to function properly. This platform needs to be built well to prepare the mind to think well.

A prepared mind notices things an unprepared mind doesn't and is ready to process new ideas objectively and purposefully.

As the old saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

According to Prof Jeanne Liedtka, there are three characteristics of preparedness of the mind:
  1. Learning vs Losing Mindset
  2. Broad Repertoire vs Limited
  3. People empathy vs People apathy
The Learning Mindset is a must to ensure that the mind is ready to make and accept mistakes, learn from them and innovate to prevent them happening again. Whereas the Losing mindset only shies away from challenges and prefers to do things the way it always has.

A Broad Repertoire of skills, knowledge and experiences also allows easy access to helpful information. Working only in one area for a long time does not allow the variety of input that helps the mind stay open to possibilities. A limited repertoire will only breed thinking based on outdated or untested beliefs.

People empathy, while surprising as a thinking characteristic, actually makes sense considering any innovation will impact people. Thus, the gathering of information from others, the design of deliverables and its implementation must include human input and consideration. To be blind to human needs is to forget who actually keeps everything running.

Prof Liedtka calls people with these three characteristics Catalysts, because they can innovate wherever they are with limited resources, and their influence is far-reaching and sparks organic growth at exponential rates.

Want to be a Catalyst? Prepare your mind with them.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Only Certainty Is Uncertainty

The volatile global economy has caused many businesses to invest in predictability. They hire people with strong track records, people who can control every variable of processes and people who can reduce variation and waste.

As they say, variation is the mother of waste. Standard Operating Procedures, policies, policing, management, job aids, training, all of these terms allude to the reduction of waste and the improvement of efficiency.

Very rarely do these terms inspire joy and love of or for the organisation. However, the numbers don't lie. The tighter the ship, the greater the execution.

These are the physics of Execution. Laws like gravity that govern how to get the most out of the least.
Unfortunately, when we talk about Innovation, it's as if we're talking about quantum mechanics. The laws underlying Innovation are totally different from the laws underlying Execution.

"The most fundamental natural law of innovation, is that the only certainty is uncertainty," Prof Jeanne Liedtka, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.

Therefore, to be innovative, you have to be comfortable with unpredictability, and master synergising all the variables into an iterative design instead of controlling them.

Design itself, as a word, doesn't indicate control, but of acknowledging, adapting to and collaborating with various variables.

We have seen, again and again, where garage startups, with no control structure (but guided by design) grow organically faster than and are far more agile than their long-established behemoth cousins.

The difference doesn't lie in age nor size, it lies in allowing high-variance in innovation activities. Innovation is fragile, not like the robust processes that have been stripped of non-value activities. Ironically, the stronger you grip, the easier it breaks.

The question we should be asking then is, are we controlling our innovation or are we designing it?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Design Thinking by Prof Jeanne Liedtka

(c) Jeanne Liedtka

When you face a complex problem that involves a lot of people and perceptions, Analytical and Critical Thinking might not be able to deal with it.

When your team can't even decide on the definition of the problem, then an option you want to choose is Design Thinking.

Design Thinking (DT) is a strategy to solve problems using a guided, yet unstructured approach. While there are many definitions as there are many design thinkers, a useful path is outlined by Prof Jeanne Liedtka of the University of Virginia.

In her model, she unravels DT into four key phases based on questions:

  1. What Is
  2. What If
  3. What Wows
  4. What Works

There are 10 tools used iteratively at all phases:


  • Visualisation - This is present at all parts of the effort. It allow the team to quickly access and assess what they are doing and how far they have come.
  • Journey Mapping - This is used to clarify the path a user takes in a routine to determine where there are pain points or opportunities for improvement.
  • Value Chain Analysis - This is used to determine where value can be added throughout the sequence of a routine towards coming up with a solution.
  • Mind Mapping - The old stalwart that clusters all of those ideas into manageable chunks of information.


  • Brainstorming - This is a more guided version of the traditional tool and seeks to generate solutions by asking What If?
  • Concept Development - This is where the ideas cluster into families. They say an idea can fit a sticky note. A concept needs a poster.


  • 7. Assumption Testing - This is where the dream is measured against the reality, to ensure that the early assumptions that drove the concept are strong enough to survive the next stage.
  • 8. Rapid Prototyping - This is where the abstract is given a physical form that the team can interact with, whether it be a low-fidelity version or one closer to scale.


  • Customer Co-Creation - This is where instead getting the customer to test the final solution, the stakeholders actually come in and join the creation process, becoming both tester and designer.
  • Learning Launch - Now that the team has narrowed the solutions down to several workable ones, a few can be chosen based on the resources available to do a small scale market test.

Choose The Right Style

Design Thinking as a more informal thinking style doesn't require you to be artsy, as creativity is far more than paintings in The Louvre. All you need to start with is curiousity and passion about change.

What are you waiting for? Think with design.