Archive for January, 2007

ASTD conference notes and resources

The ASTD TechKnowledge 2007 is in session this week. Unfortunately due to previously scheduled engagements I will not be able to go.  But for now, I’m posting a link to some of the conference handouts.

Check out the excellent presentation on “Personal and Collaborative Learning Using Blogs and Social Bookmarking” by Tony Karrer.

http://tk07.astd.org/Handouts%20for%20Web/W101.pdf

Ah, I wish I was there…

My Notes: Web 2.0 – Innovation and the new rules

Image from http://www.OReilly.net

I was doing a scan over the O’Reilly Radar site when I found yet another good visualization of some of the important concepts around envisioning the web as a platform. The ideas from this image map which stood out most to me were:

  • Trust your users
  • Perpetual beta
  • Rich User Experience
  • Software that gets better the more people use it
  • An Attitude, not a technology

I’m a little slow, but I’m slowly getting the idea that in this new world the experience of the end user is key. Companies that truly understand this and employ enlightened design practices will be the dogs that rise to the top of the hierarchy. More, companies which employ these practices internally and develop a more collaborative model for creating products will continue to bring to market wonderful products that blow the competition out of the water.

I look at some of the tan-colored ovals in the image above, and I realize that these are concepts that may not take hold in ‘traditional’ corporations. More, these concepts don’t read well in the ideal corporation formed from a Welchian model. There is a pretty good article from last year from Money Magazine that lists Jack Welch’s rules of the game for companies, and provides a contrasting set of new rules. I believe that the movement around 2.0 the 2.0 tech or business model embodies the newer set of rules.

New rule # 2 echoes the need for agility described in New rule #1. How can you truly “create something new” (new products, new services) and get them out into the market (sometimes in new ways or via non-traditional vehicles), if you are not agile enough to change how your company generates products or does business? Should you continue to rest your bets (with a whole lot of faith) that being the “big dog” or dominating the market will allow you to maintain your market share? Also, how can you truly be agile if you continue to look internally for solutions, rather than make connections with what is going on in the outside world? How can you develop visionary products with people who’s view of success is merely to rise through the ranks or with leaders who do not have vision and or remain incapable of communicating it to their employees?

I started to create a mind map of a fictional company that might have some of the traits described in the “New Rules.” I’m fully aware that this is of course an “Ideal State.” However, you can’t really aspire to Be the One unless you’ve at least sketched out a summary of what that means.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of talk in the corporate ether about being ‘innovative.’ Having units with innovative teams is a good start to achieving this ideal state. In the child node of the mind-map branch “Have innovative teams” I referenced Phil McKinney’s list of innovative team players. I also divided the Parent into two roles/qualities (the people person/bridge and the process oriented person/task master). Also, I would like to note that the “Leader’s” primary job, with the help of the parent figure who acts as a bridge, is to hold this heterogeneous team together. The personalities on such a team are so diverse that conflicts are bound to arise. The book The Ten Faces of Innovation also provides a great profile of the players in an innovative group. I am planning to buy this book, and am very excited to read it.

Another way to improve your organization’s ability to be more innovative, or develop innovative products is to Foster collaboration or collaborative behavior within your org. Having a Knowledge Management system that taps into your collaboration enabled “Network IT” can boost your organization’s collaborative activities. Collaboration is a big part of what the Web 2.0 movement is all about.

Click the image to view the expanded mind-map.

Resources or Nuggets:

Money article on Old vs. New Rules of Business: http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/10/magazines/fortune/rule5.fortune/index.htm

Innovative Teams – Audio MP3 (Phil McKinney’s Podcast in which he describes the typical players in innovative teams): http://libsyn.com/media/philmckinney/KI_20061001.mp3

O’Reilly Radar article on “Web 2.0: Real Time Platforms” – http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/08/real_time_platforms.html

10 Faces of Innnovation (Website for the Book) – http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/ The 10 faces of innovation listed and briefly described: http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/tenfaces/index.htm#anthro

The world’s most innovative companies: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_17/b3981401.htm

Music to soothe the ravaged cubehead

I cannot live without headsets.

Living in cube-farm city and being exposed to other’s conversations and sometimes arguments, I find it necessary to retreat into my own space when I have work I need to concentrate on.

Youtube sometimes offers a diversion, music-wise. Today I found a recording/video of Jascha Heifetz and Eric Friedman of the Bach Double Concerto, Second Movement.   I suddenly felt as if I’d rediscovered an old friend or at least some piece of knowledge or article of faith that once served as grounding point for me. Years ago, I actually wrote the entrance essay to my undergrad about this piece of music and how it influenced me. 

Today after listening to it, I felt that  it still helps me create a safe place of solitude for my inner voice.  We forget these things when we live and struggle in structures where we feel that we have little or no control over what we do.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXRlnO3K3hk

Transparency of design and development of Reusable Learning Objects (RLO)

Analysis/Intervention Tip: If you’re developing training that has project or content areas chunked out in discrete (independent) chunks. You can easily develop your elearning content around those chunks as Reusable Learning Objects or RLO’s.

If you think of the process of planning, designing, developing and implementing an Enterprise IT tool as a 60 sec/1000 yd relay race, training (at least training for IT products in a large company) usually gets the baton at the 800yd marker 5 seconds before time is up. Often in projects (in this environment), training is given the finished design/tool at the 11th hour and expected to deliver a complete package right before the tool is deployed. I’m trying to apply a modular development strategy to this project (given the short time frame). 

Currently the team I’m leading is developing training for a re-design in one of our enterprise business tools and its process. I call this project Operation Q, Q for “Quilt.”  I think of this project as a constant piecing of pieces as if I was working with others to make a quilt.  Even a quilt needs a good solid design plan, and for me it’s the development of the business process around the project.

As I have a good map of the high level areas of design/business process, I’m working with design and testing team to develop a staggered schedule for developing, reviewing, and testing the training modules. I tried to make sure with this project that we could get some degree of transparency from the design and testing teams to begin achieving our tasks and design sooner than later.  It took some explaining and negotiating, but it paid off. In the past,  I’ve worked on projects in the past where I actually had to build the map (of the business process) for them, and then have them validate it. 

Fortunately we have a design leader who is willing to work with us and who believes in the importance of capturing information that is helpful to the end users during the design process. We have a standard document for capturing information on both business process and the tasks associated with the process. Our design lead was able to incorporate the more important fields from our document into his teams design process.

Some Instructional Designers may think that this is wrong, I should be able to have access to the designers in order to do an adequate task analysis. Unfortunately, they’re on a crunched time schedule, and influencing the project to push their launch date out for training’s sake is easier said than done. The only difficulty we have right now, is getting a good view of the entire design and how the project requirements (namely, the employee performance requirements)  map to the design.   I feel that without this mapping, it’s difficult for me to develop a comprehensive list of learning objectives. I’m discovering that I can get some of this information by following along with the design process or listening in in the design team meetings.

Reflective exercise – library tagging

Here’s an interesting exercise to do a spot check to see what topics have been fueling your interest, and it’s an interesting way to connect or find others who were interested in the same books and topics. 

  1. List at least 10 books you have referenced or read in the past year
  2. Add these books to a personal library list on the LibraryThing
  3. Add tags to each of the books (these tags should include why the book was relevant to you or the topics the book covered which you found helpful). From the “Your Library” view you can add the tags to each book by clicking the pencil icon in the shared area
     

    Pencil icon allows you to edit or add tags

  4. Click on the “Tags” tab and run a tag cloud to see a visual representation of all of your topics.  This should give you a snapshot of all of the items you looked at last year. The subjects that you referenced the most will appear in the largest/bolder font.

Tonight I set up my Library. You can view my library list here:  http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=Najinka

I actually clicked on the people icon in the “Shared” info column, and could find others who read the book or had it in their library. I could also see if they posted a review of the book as well.  Great stuff.   If you do try to use this, beware. It is a beta version so there are times when the site undergoes maintenance from time to time.

I think tag clouds are an interesting visual representation, but I struggle to see how they can be used as structured navigation to topics.  Perhaps there’s value,  if you have a closed community contributing to a tag cloud or tagging repository you can track which items or topics are more relevant to that group. After running a search on Google, I happened upon Joe Lamantia’s blog again (it’s been a while – see the link below), and it looks like he has been exploring the phenomenon of Tag Clouds in more detail.  He claims that the clouds are a valuable way for people to expand their learning through what others are documenting and listing in their clouds. This certainly does work for a learner like myself (part active experimenter/part reflective)  who enjoys exploring and seeking out connections.   For me the internet can be just one bread-crumb trail after another, which is dangerous because it takes some focus for me to come back and return to the original subject which was researching to begin with. But if learning via the net is great for my learning style; what about people who don’t enjoy learning this way? People who crave a little more structure to their educational menu?

Nuggets:

 

Update on Ikiru

Looks like they’re planning to remake the movie, or at least the story is being pitched. Hollywood being what it is, I actually doubt this will happen.

See imdb: http://imdb.com/title/tt0425599/ 

Though I can see how re-writing this film for a more contemporary audience might be a wonderful thing.  I’m just afraid the story-line and message would get polluted by Hollywood as it usually does. Though it doesn’t seem like it would be a large budget feature, maybe an independent film company can do it.

What are you?

Oooo, oh, oh…

Check out this great post on “One Breath at a Time” on defining oneself… to find out what programming language, OS or website you are.

Looks like I’m PHP too.

SCORE… I’m Linux…. must have been due to the I hate Star Wars input.  Actually, I personally believe George Lucas should have stopped at the first three.

I am Wikipedia… but perhaps this is part of my problem that I don’t charge for my services. But when I was  a child I did relate to Indiana Jones insisting… “That belongs in a Museum!”  My favorite question from this quiz was.

Favorite Holiday?
Christmas
Halloween
Take a Monkey to Work Day
Any day I get off from work
I don’t celebrate holidays

You are wikipedia.org You are a know-it-all.  You are trustworthy, most of the time.  You are  versatile and useful.  You like volunteering.  You are free.
Which Website are You?


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