Blueline Blueprints

Learning Visuals Explained

Rich in visual metaphors and data, Blueline’s Blueprint™ learning visuals are a catalyst for in-depth discussion and analysis. Imagine a room full of teams of four or five learners each. At the center of every team is a table-sized Blueline Blueprint learning visual – a dramatic graphic that quickly engages the table team’s multiple learning styles by inviting learners to explore relevant visual metaphors, dig into data and trade personal experiences to challenge each other’s assumptions. And perhaps most important, they engage in rich dialogue that generates deep awareness of your strategic messages.

Learning Visual

You asked for it. How Telestrations come to life.

Thank you for all of your kind words in response to our holiday message this year. Our “Twelve Days of Christmas” holiday message is a simple version of one of our newer service offerings: a video telestration that combines a hand-drawn visual with music and voice-over messaging. Every telestration is designed to tell a story, whether it’s your ortelestrations-infographicSMganization’s transformation story, or something fun and simple like celebrating the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Since so many have asked about it, I thought that I would outline our process and introduce you to the talented artist behind it. From concept to final video even simple telestrations like “Twelve Days” take weeks to produce and hinge on the talents of a Script Writer, Art Director and a Master Artist. Click here to learn more about how telestrations come to life. 

Get Alignment Upfront

Training doesn’t happen in a vacuum, the success of a training program depends on more than just a good design. Stakeholder commitment and buy-in is critical. Many a well-designed program rests on the dust heap of organizational training because it turned out a critical stakeholder wasn’t onboard. Ensuring stakeholder buy-in is even more vital when a training program is part of an organizational change effort.

Over the last several years we have refined a process that we refer to as Blueline’s Voice of the Business Process.  We utilize this approach in our data gathering on new projects rather than just onsite meetings with subject matter experts. It has allowed us to not only gain deeper insights into learner needs and content, but also create greater commitment and buy-in across a broad range of stakeholders.

At the core of our Voice of the Business Process, are one-on-one phone interviews with a broad representative sample of all key stakeholder groups. These interviews represent a small time investment of typically 45-60 minutes for the stakeholder. It also allows us to get input from a greater number of people than with a typical on-site data gathering session.

We then analyze these interviews for key themes, needs and insights, and prepare a findings/recommendations report. We’ve found that we typically uncover new needs or areas of concern that dramatically impact the training or communication design.

Recently, we were called in to develop training to “help users embrace” a recently implemented software system. The current assessment was that people didn’t understand the system’s capabilities or how it could make their life easier. This new system affected several different functions and departments and changed how they shared information. We recommended that we start the engagement with our Voice of the Business Process.

Through the process of conducting over 50 interviews, it became clear that “understanding how to use the software” was not the greatest need. People didn’t have a clear understanding of the business process that they were engaged in. Everyone we spoke to was dedicated, hard working, and committed to the organization’s success, but they were each limited by a narrow view of their work.

This along with some other themes uncovered during the Voice of the Business Process led the project leaders and us to conclude that a very different approach than what they had originally imagined was needed. The ultimate solution leveraged a Blueline Blueprint™ to provide a big picture understanding of the business needs and the roles various functions played in the process, along with just-in-time video tutorials on the software functions to provide the needs skills.

While one department sponsored and initially championed the training initiative, the use of the Voice of the Business Process enabled stakeholders across many functions to take ownership for the ultimate solution. In fact, the largest initial rollout of the training was by one of those other departments at their annual off-site meeting. Want to learn how Blueline’s Voice of the Business Process can help us to drive results at your company? Give us a call.

Stories that Engage

Last week, I made the pilgrimage to Jonesborough, Tennessee. This postcard-perfect town boasts unbelievable views of the Smoky Mountains, but is famous around the world for another reason: it is the home of the International Storytelling 1010-core-imgCenter.

Every October, more than 10,000 storytellers and story lovers from all over the world descend on Jonesborough for one common purpose: to hear and to share stories.

It’s the biggest storytelling event in the world, and its subject matter is as diverse as its audience.  Family stories. Historical stories. Ghost stories. Funny stories. It seems that all you need is a stage, a microphone, and an audience… and the opportunities to engage through stories are endless.

What does this have to do with organizational learning? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Today, more and more organizational practitioners are asking questions about the use of stories to engage their people and their marketplaces. That was the subject of my presentation, which was titled “The Stories We Create: Narrative and Engagement in Organizations.”

Many organizational leaders have personally experienced the unique power that stories have to engage and create a shared experience and new behaviors… often without the defensiveness and resistance that accompany most linear and expository organizational communications. (For a thorough exploration of the topic, check out the rich body of work by former WorldBank Executive, Stephen Denning.)

Now imagine that you could capture the most powerful narratives in your organization in a form that is fully replicable, scalable, and engineered to create engagement and behavioral change.

That’s the idea of a Blueline Blueprint

1010-profit-imgHere’s the idea. You begin with an organizational need: say, to mobilize activity around a key change initiative; or to make the organization’s mission and values come alive for a new employee. (Those are just examples. What is the pressing need that requires action in your organization?)

Next, the learning and change experts at Blueline Simulations work with you to create a table-sized visual that is rich in metaphors, stories, and quantitative information.

The power happens when your people pull up a few seats around the Blueline Blueprint. They explore the stories, analyze the data, and link the information to their own experience. They begin to link their own stories to the need of the organization. Action and behavior change emerge fluidly and organically.

These are the same activities that have built communities around millions of campfires over the centuries… only here they are applied strategically to create engagement around your strategic need.

The best way to experience a Blueline Blueprint … is, well, to experience it. Give us a call at Blueline Simulations. Tell us the story of your organization… where it is today, and where you would like for it to be.

Then let’s work together to create a new narrative; one that is about meaningful work, engaged people, and marketplace success.