Yup – I know it’s been a while since I last posted when my Dad leaves a message on my phone saying it’s been a while … ring you today Pa.
Can’t believe it’s a month since I had my lolling and lethargy week.
I’ve been deeply immersed in building up what I’m calling a Big Idea.
For years and years I’ve been interested and involved in creating learning and performance strategies for non profits. It fascinates me how many of my clients are not so much technophobic as technoblind. They really don’t know about social media and learning technology.
And why should they – you ask?
Well folks – the day of sending all the workers off to training sessions is just getting too expensive and the transfer of learning is way low. Unfortunately it tends to be the key learning activity -apart from informal learning – in most non profits.
So what happens if you want:-
- to explore a new way of working
- get some key information on say – motivational interviewing or harm reduction or being a good supervisor
- to talk with other people about getting better at what your doing
- develop your own learning portofolio
- research an idea for a project
- do some learning on a night shift when clients are asleep and maybe chat to another worker in a project across town
- and you want the information now – not in a month when the course is on
Currently many non profits just don’t have the tools (or technology) to do this other than bringing people together face to face during the day.
Now, I’m a great fan of face to face gatherings when they are done well – nice place to meet; clear agenda; excellent facilitation; creative discussion …
Not only are many face to face meetings badly run – they also take time to organise and often staff cover is needed on the projects I work with in Dublin.
So what’s the answer?
I don’t have the perfect answer – and I have a feeling that if I ever find one I’ll be taking my final breath!
What I want to develop is a series of people to people linked to learning technology and social media learning space.
I call them KIS – Knowledge Information Spaces.
The technology would be designed so that people can interact with each other in a range of ways – in both real time and at a time that suits them. It would essentially be a really interactive learning intranet within the non profit organisation.
That’s the idea that has been in my mind for a few years. When I’ve put it into learning and performance strategies my non profit clients kind of slide their eyes past it! They can always find other elements of the strategy that are easier to grasp.
I realised about a month ago that no one client was going to offer to pay me to develop this idea. I was going to have to create the model and engage a range of different kinds of partners if I want it to happen.
SKIL2 has been born (honestly – more like gestating) in the last 4 weeks.
SKIL2 is 2 acronyms – spaces for knowledge + information + learning; service knowledge + innovation leadership. It does what it says on the tin – creates a range of learning spaces so that an organisation can become more innovative in its service delivery. After all, the key aim in providing learning opportunities is to increase the workforce skills and confidence – so – they can deliver excellent services.
OK – so I have a name for the project.
How will I make it happen I hear you ask?
One of the things I like about my readers is your ability to ask the piercing questions – to get to the core of the matter.
SKIL2 will be realised through the development of 4 key areas:
P2 – profitable partnerships – I will invite a national non profit organisation; some private sector and third level agencies to be partners in the SKIL2 endeavour for a year. We will work together to develop both the face to face and the learning intranet. They will sponsor people, skills, commitment, spaces, technology and money to the project.
CII – creative inward investment – this will involve a focus on 3 ways to resource the project – build up the people in the organisation to develop the project; buy in expertise, equipment & spaces; and get it free.
PC – project coordination – revolves around values, processes and structure. I’ll be developing a range of teams (SKIL2 Champions; beta testers; P2 Team; SKIL2 Team) and processes to make sure the project not only works – but works to really good practice.
KIS – knowledge information spaces – are really the visible products from the whole process. There will be innovative face to face sessions I’m calling Rattle the Cage – where practice is challenged and new ways of working are explored – where current good practice is identified. These sessions will be videod and broadcast live on the SKIL2 intranet. Workers will be able to post questions live.
The SKIL2 intranet will have a range of learning technologies and social media that give a worker multiple ways to learn and explore their work practice. For example, there will be a space for them to develop their own learning portfolio and store information, research and conversations. There will be themed monthly practice issues that will involve live chats with the CEO and senior managers; posted key articles; online discussions. There will be podcasts and a knowledge space that stores key articles and web references on work topics. Discussion boards and a wiki will be available.
It won’t be a static space. People can interact with each other and they can add to the learning and knowledge pool.
They will be experts in their own experience. They can help support other workers as well as ask for support. They can be part of engaging discussions and debates on service practice.
Just a taste of what will be designed.
Bitten of more than I can chew?
Who knows folks. But innovation doesn’t happen in a comfort zone.
I expect my own learning curve to go ballistic – and that’s a real buzz.
In the last 3 weeks I have invited a national charity to be the non profit partner and they have accepted with delight. They will be contributing money as well as the support of their organisation. I will be donating about 30 days (minimum) free of my time over the next year.
I have also just applied for a Social Entrepreneur Ireland award for 5000 euro. They also provide mentoring and networking.
I’m researching which profit organisations to approach and have been given a contact to talk with in a third level institution.
I’ve also been researching free learning technology platforms and heaps of stuff on social media.
So – that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks. Working on a Big Idea.
Passion acts as a real driver for movement towards a dream or idea. And without a dream or idea – passion can’t ignite.
I feel passionate about this idea.
I really care that most non profit workplaces don’t have a range of learning spaces for their workers. I want to play some part in seeing what can be created.
And yup – I know there are a million zillion questions and challenges and hurdles – bring it on.
I won’t be doing it alone. The organisations I’m inviting to be partners in this little quest will be bringing their experience, skills and enthusiasm to the table.
I’ve created a SKIL2 social network site that is very much in the development stage. I’ve kept it invitation only until I can work out how the site works. Then I’ll open it up. If you want an invitation just leave a comment and I’ll send you one.
Will I make lots of money from SKIL2?
Who knows? Money (much to the chagrin of people that love me) has never been a primary motivator for me. I like it but I can live on baked beans as well as champagne. What motivates me is feeling that this idea could really make a difference and help a lot of people. And – I get to work with all sorts of cool and creative people.
I hope your last month has had some fun moments.
I better go now.
Take good care.