Well, half a day has never passed so quickly. I arrived in London and before I knew it, it was gone 9pm and Alex Watson had taken to the stage with her band Bastedo to sing us out of a stimulating first day at Learning Live. And in some style might I add.
I caught up with so many people which was just invaluable. I also attended two sessions, both of which were engaging and thought provoking.
This session proved challenging for many in the room. Jane is a fantastically engaging speaker. She also thoughtfully set up a link to curate all her resources around this session here. But she’s pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo – and that can be hard for people to get their head around. I think there’s general consensus that showing your work/working out loud is deemed to be a positive step. BUT there are some buts for many (not for me personally, this is what I took away from the discussion in the room and some of the tweets. Hone in on the session tweets here).
- It’s hard for organisations to move away from writing everything down. Jane’s point about organisations needing to get better at sharing tacit knowledge is so important. But as illustrated by a simple exercise in which we wrote down the steps involved in making a peanut butter and jam sandwich (our group had 14 steps!) we aren’t actually very good at translating that knowledge into the written word. Organisations are full of guides and manuals that poorly convey knowledge. But writing them seems sort of ingrained in us. Making YouTube style help videos could be a much better solution – but shaking off the shackles of the past and stopping the knee jerk reaction to write everything up will take time I think.
- Self-censorship is required. If you’re showing your work – pretty much nobody is going to want to see EVERYTHING that you’re doing! There is a skill in filtering what to share because…
- Noise is a potential issue. If everyone in an organisation suddenly starts showing their work/working out loud, how do you zoom in on the most relevant or interesting bits for you? Andrew Jacobs said (and I paraphrase) one person’s noise could be another person’s signal. So filtering what you consume as well as what you share becomes an essential skill
- It’s scary. Lots of people are fearful of showing their work. Many of us have a natural instinct to get things polished before sharing them. Showing a raw work in progress can be quite intimidating. I think some people are constrained by their own fears of not wanting others to think they are incompetent. Others will be constrained by their organisational culture. Jane quite rightly said that it needs to be OK to fail. But the acceptance around that will vary hugely from organisation to organisation.
I am personally trying to work out loud a lot more. It’s something we try to do in my organisation and I am finding it hugely beneficial. I have started to let go of that instinct to hone and polish before sharing a piece of writing for example. Because actually the earlier I get feedback and input on it, the better the end result tends to be. I think we’re going to see the trend of showing your work grow but we need more Janes to show us the way.
I recently blogged about making videos and in this workshop, the attendees split into three groups to make free resources. Podcasts, animations and videos. Michelle was ably assisted by Ady Howes and Lisa Minogue-White here and after a rapid fire introduction on some useful free tools, we were given 20 minutes to create something ourselves. Using Adobe Spark, our group created this short little video. Which admittedly isn’t much! But Ady’s four pillars of video are really useful:
You might not use each of these in order. Ady was talking about a shoot he has coming up which is of a live event. So he doesn’t know what the story is yet, it will unfold on the day. But he can set up the capture, he’ll create on the day and do some pre-planning on how he’ll share it afterwards.
The other two groups managed to create a podcast and an animation. Many in the room were chuffed to bits seeing what they could create so quickly and were clamouring for Michelle’s list of free tools. (Tweet her if you’d like a copy.) There are so many free tools out there but finding and assessing their worth is a challenge. This was a useful session thanks to Michelle’s spade work in cherry picking some of the best tools out there. Really worthwhile.
More to follow on day two. Stay tuned.