Business Transformation

Going Mobile: Learning’s New Holy Grail?

In a short time, our world has changed. We now have the ability to create interactive elearning content and publish it on mobile devices, including iPhones, using HTML5.  Within a few months I am absolutely confident that Blueline’s designers will be able to distribute our award-winning computer based elearning and esimulations via every mobile device imaginable.

But just because we can, does that mean we should? (That’s a great question that one of the characters posed in the movie Jurassic Park. You may remember what happened to them.)

Before I go any further, let’s define our terms. Learning delivered on your phone qualifies as mobile learning. Learning on your desktop computer is not mobile learning.

What about learning on your laptop or iPad? In terms of defining “mobile,” those are gray areas. Sure, I can take them all with me all the time, but I don’t.  I take my laptop on business trips.  I use my iPad when I am around the house. But not always.

However, I never – literally NEVER – am more than a few feet away from my iPhone. Any content that comes to me on my iPhone is, in the purest sense, mobile.

Mobile Data… or Mobile Learning

And here’s where I make my point: It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that all learning should now be developed for mobile.  That everything we create from now on should be developed in HTML5 or one of the myriad of publishing tools that promises to deliver everything that we create to our iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and Android devices.

But it’s just not true.  There, I said it.

But sift through the hype, and you’ll discover some important opportunities. Mobile Learning IS transformational.  It has already reshaped what and how we learn.  Gone are the days of memorizing vast amounts of information for instant recall.  I now have instant access to vast libraries of information, far more than I could have ever hoped to memorize in my lifetime.  The skills needed to effectively consume and apply that information are the real Holy Grail.

Mobile Learning makes it possible for us to access just about any knowledge we desire wherever we are, just when we need it.   In this way, it represents a tremendous breakthrough for reference and performance support. Which is where “true” mobile learning shines.

So what does that mean for designers and developers of training?  Your job just got harder on multiple levels. First, you have to tell the business leaders banging on your door that mobile learning doesn’t effectively eliminate ALL time away from the job dedicated to learning and development.  And second, you need to think through a multi-dimensional blended learning strategy that balances classroom, virtual classroom, online and mobile strategies to maximize impact on the business.

Well actually, that last part is really good news.  Because never before did you have so many awesome tools at your disposal to deliver value to your business partners.

And, if you have questions or want to brainstorm potential strategies for putting these exciting new platforms to work in your organization, Blueline is here to help!

Facilitating Business Transformation at a Fortune 50 Healthcare Company

After major changes at all levels had created fear and confusion throughout the business, our client’s leadership sought to find a way to align stakeholders through a common purpose and vision for the future.

They turned to Blueline to take them through the process of defining their future and prioritizing the actions that would be needed to achieve it.  But doing that well was only half of the daunting challenge that faced them.  After all that the organization had been through, finding a way to capture and tell the story of their journey in a fun and engaging way that inspired employees and clients to embrace the vision and take the actions prioritized by leadership, was just as important.

Our team set about to help them to transform their organization through a simple, yet incredibly effective, combination of planning and communications initiatives.

Capturing the essence of leadership’s efforts through a blueline drawing

In advance of a strategic planning meeting, a Blueline Partner collaborated with one of our Master Artists to begin to draft a table-sized blueline drawing that told the story of where they had been. We left significant amounts of white space on the visual so that there was room to capture their vision.

Sample Blueline Drawing…

bluelinebikes

Subsequently, Blueline facilitated a one-day strategic planning session to guide our client’s efforts to define their vision for the future and to prioritize the steps that they needed to take to get there. The same Master Artist that drafted the initial blueline drawing also attended the one-day meeting. Throughout the meeting, he captured the process and the leadership team’s decisions. The final output was an engaging, table-size visual that members of the leadership team could use to engage others by retelling the story of “where they had been, where they are going, and how they planned to get there.”

Engaging stakeholders through the use of a telestration

We repurposed the drawing and memorialized the leadership team’s efforts through a 4 minute narrated video capture of the Master Artist creating the drawing, so that it could be used to define and promote the organization’s brand.  This required that we capture the story in the form of a script that mirrored the drawing.  The final deliverable was a professionally narrated video of the Artist rendering the drawing for the audience.  (Through the power of technology, the rendering takes place in about 1/60th the time it actually takes to recreate the drawing.)

Sample Blueline Telestration….

The client used the telestration and blueline drawing to kick-off their Future Vision initiative during their annual meeting.  The meeting opened with the telestration – which laid a foundation for a presentation by the leadership team.  Subsequently, three by five foot posters of the blueline drawing were hung throughout the meeting space so that participants could “re-experience” the journey with their leadership.

The outcomes are best summarized by the head of the organization who opined: “the successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization – through these efforts we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”

Is your organization facing a challenging transformation?  Contact the change management experts at Blueline today!

Newsflash: The Process Doesn’t Revolve around You

You would be surprised – or maybe you wouldn’t – by how many people in your organization don’t understand how the organization accomplishes its work.

To be honest, it used to surprise us. We would run learning programs on a topic, like say, financial acumen, and it would never fail: People in the accounting department would say things like, “huh, I guess I should know these details about the balance sheet but I don’t.” And that’s coming from the guys in Accounting.

It’s an organizational myopia that we now recognize as commonplace. In fact, we empathize. We all have a tendency to view the world from the point of view of our own work, our own desk.

Like Galileo, leadership often involves delivering the unwelcome message that you, the individual, are not the epicenter of your organization’s process.

Fortunately, we at Blueline Simulations fare much better than Galileo for being the bearer of this message. In fact, we’ve found that giving people a view of the big picture is quite liberating, and a key step in generating organizational transformation.

And we have found that the best way to give that big picture is with an actual picture.

Using metaphors and a balance of both quantitative and qualitative data, we render the complex processes and work flows of your organization with a compelling degree of engagement.

Click Image to View Larger Version

Equipped with an enterprise view via a Blueline Blueprint Learning Visual, our learners report that:

  • I have a better appreciation for where I fit in the process.
  • Now I understand why the work those guys do in department X is so important.
  • I appreciate the difficult decisions that the leaders have to make to manage the many moving parts of this process.
  • I see ways to make my work more efficient, more focused, more optimized to the organization’s desired output.

Find out how a Blueline learning map can equip your people with an enriched understanding of your organization’s key processes and workflows. Contact us today for a demonstration.

LOOK! WE’RE IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL! (KIND OF)

Even when our work doesn’t feature prominently in a story in The Wall Street Journal, we are endlessly proud of what we achieve with our client partners. But every now and then, the splash is just a little bit bigger. So when our learning intervention dovetails with a bigger cultural issue – that is, when it becomes news– we take it in stride. It’s just part of what we do. The only difference is that it gives us a nice opportunity to share the story of our work with you.That’s the case here. Blueline Simulations isn’t explicitly named in this article; nor would it be appropriate for me to tell you which of the companies featured was our client.It started when our client partner asked us to conduct a “voice of the customer” intervention to help create change within their organization. Our process included interviews with internal stakeholders to reveal prevailing mental models; a proposal for internal change (based on the stakeholder’s perspectives — not ours!); and a collaborative, iterative process that resulted in new processes and new beliefs within the organization.If you know anything about pharma, you know that’s a tall order. And if you know anything about sales… that’s hallowed ground! The fact that the change took root – and today is featured in the Wall Street Journal – is testament to the integrity of the process, and the courage of our client.Take a look. It’s a great story. And it’s a story I’d love to help create in your organization as well.

A process for collaborative change: Blueline Simulations’ “Voice of the Customer.”

1. Listen first. A series of stakeholder interviews reveals prevailing biases and mental models.

2. Build a straw man. We propose a design that, significantly, is informed explicitly by the client’s own words.

3. Tell the story. We record a webinar and interim report to disseminate the design to key organizational influencers.

4. Test and refine the design. Stakeholder response leads us to produce a new iteration. This is in preparation of the next step.

5. Present the big idea. The final report is a testament to the work of the organization’s stakeholders… and becomes a powerful artifact for change.

“Can We Hold Class Outside?” Taking Your People to the Field for Full Immersion Learning

In our previous blog entry, we looked at Blueline Simulations’ full immersion approach to learning. These are highly coordinated learning events that take your people out of the organization, away from the computer screen, and away from the classroom – and then place them in an unfamiliar environment where they can begin making connections to big ideas that they can take back to their work.

We shared with you one example, in which we took a global biotech sales firm to Disney, Starbucks and Apple to explore engaging customer experiences.

Okay, here’s another example. Recently, we built an Innovation Tour of San Francisco for a global manufacturing firm. These executives were immersed in the alien world of Silicon Valley where they encountered innovation practices at places like Google, Frog Design, Oracle, The Institute for the Future… and even the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Yes, it was jarring and disorienting. And, in the words of that organization’s CEO, “was one of the most meaningful, valuable learning experiences of my career.” (At this very moment, they are rewriting their five-year strategic plan based on the connections they generated on the Innovation Tour.)

We’ve learned some key principles for making these experiences work.

  • Define the target. No big surprise here; Learning experiences must always be designed in the context of well-defined learning objectives. Don’t start with “let’s go to the Magic Kingdom!” Instead, define the pressing business challenge… and then identify the organizations that have something valuable to bring to that conversation.
  • Get lateral. Theorist Edward de Bono describes lateral leaps as a key capability for breakthrough thinking. Lateral thoughts happen when we connect one idea to another that was seemingly unrelated. When we build immersive experiences, we do identify organizations that are very similar to our clients. Equally important, we identify others that are dissimilar, and can create a productively disorienting lateral leap. That’s how a group of manufacturers found themselves exploring abstract paintings at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and how pharmaceutical executives found themselves in line at an Apple Genius bar to engage customer service around issues with their iPods.
  • A little showmanship doesn’t hurt. The mind is never as engaged as it is at play. That’s why we are purposeful about building in a “cool” factor to our immersive learning experiences. Wouldn’t you just love to visit Google, or hang out at Disney’s EPCOT for a day in the name of learning? Of course you would. So would your people. And the high engagement delivered by these experiences translates to lasting, “sticky” learning.
  • Connect it back. There are critical conversations that must happen for the immersive experience to produce change in the organization. So, what, exactly, did that afternoon at Starbucks say to you? What did you notice, see, hear, smell, experience… and what are the principles behind those experiences that can deliver value at our (very different) organization? In our experience, these facilitated connections conversations are the genesis of true organizational transformation.

Ready to give your employees a peek at a world of possibility far different from your own? Call the learning experts at Blueline Simulations. We’ll build a transformative, immersive learning experience that delivers on your unique learning objectives – all while ensuring that your people will never view their world in quite the same way again.