Jay Cross
Jay Cross

New blog
Links & more

Subscribe with Bloglines
Enter your email address to subscribe to Internet Time Blog.

ASTD Silicon Valley
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Last night I met with a charming group of people at the monthly meeting of the Silicon Valley Chapter of ASTD. We discussed A Few Thoughts About Informal Learning. My pal Kathleen Hurson introduced me as the sort of person The Tipping Point calls a maven. In fact, she said super-maven. Finally I've found a title to put on my business card. Well, perhaps not.

each of us is at the center of the universe.
so is everyone else.

e. e. cummings

Yesterday morning I'd spoken with a hot-shot learning systems architect for the first time. She asked, "Aren't you the guy who writes that website that's really out there?" The day before that, friends had pointed me to a blog posting entitled Annoying Hype that began:
    In general, I like Jay Cross’ writings. While I have never personally met the guy, I find that his articles usually have something interesting and sensible to say. Which is why I’m so disappointed with his overly exhuberant fluff piece in e-Learn:

      "For some, the work of the future will resemble an elaborate, personalized video game front-end that’s connected to the physical operations of their company."
The author goes on to explain that I am blissfully ignorant, misleading people with Panglossian optimism, and that Web Services has nothing to do with the future of IT and learning.
    So while I applaud Jay’s enthusiasm for new technologies, I wish he would take a chill pill and not wind people up about sexy ideas that are vastly easier to demo than they are to implement in the real world. I understand that he’s trying to get the whole “workflow learning" meme spreading as agressively as possible, and I support that. It’s a valuable way of framing performance support that may finally get non-trivial traction in the Enterprise. But really…
I'll readily admit to being a provocateur. Provocation is the way out of the box. And my belief in the positive psychology memes of David Cooperider and Marty Seligman compells me to describe what the world may become rather than to kvetch about what's holding it back. In the spectrum of psychological comfort zones described by the classic technology-adoption curve, I'm obviously in the red zone: an enthusiast, early adopter, and wild-eyed visionary.

By definition, most people are on the opposite site of the gray vertical line some call "the chasm."

It's not that some are right and some are wrong. Both points of view are valid. In diversity there is strength. Different organizations need different mixes of attitudes. Here's a koan for your contemplation:

More than once, people have described me as "out of the box," generally in a tone that communicates WAY out of the box. Too far. Of course, I see this differently. The box in my head is simply bigger than theirs. To me, my thoughts are natural, obvious, and real.

People ask me how I find so much time to blog. I answer most of what I write on the blog is no more than sharing the reflections I used to keep to myself. Opening up my thinking to others invites feedback and suggestions which inform my direction.

The Johari Window is a 2x2 showing what I do and don't know about myself in one direction, and what others do and don't know about me in the other. It's a neat way to visualize privacy and ignorance. I'm consciously trying to expand my "Arena," i.e. what I and others know about Jay.

I suspect that most of our Arenas (what we share with others) are further left on the adoption curve than our Facades (what we keep to ourselves).

Last night several people asked what they could do today about my portrait of the future. They are living with overly rigid command-and-control organizations. Courses and classrooms are the tradition; informal learning and collaboration are suspect. Management knows that learning is somehow important but measures performance by counting butts in seats. I think this is a similar issue. Some of us envision the future; others maintain the present. To prosper, know thyself and know thy customers.

Here's my presentation from ASTD International this year, Collaboration Supercharges Performance. The PowerPoint is nearly the same as yesterday evening's, although different words popped out of my mouth in Washington.

I'll reiterate the flow of things since you may want to pick and choose what to listen to.
We began by looking at a universal model of everything.

This led into a discussion of blogs, RSS, plogs, and customer education blogs.

Remember that major changes in direction are indicated as SHIFT GEARS.

Next up: the scary part. We are drowning in information, the world grows ever more complex, time is speeding up, and everything is topsy-turvy. Rigid organizations won't make it through this. Flexibility is prerequisite to survival.
Networks are the next step in computing, business organizations, and more. As internodal communication costs drop, networks replace hierarchies.
The age of collaborative learning is at hand.
Mentoring used to be tied to events. Collaboration can be omnipresent. We considered examples.

We wrapped up with the evolving framework for Emergent Learning Forum.

Oh, yes, links. I promised the group last night links to several topics.


Emergent Learning Forum (next meeting is July 22, 4-7 pm at SRI in Menlo Park)
Internet Time Group on Blogs
Workflow Institute (conference in San Francisco October 11-13)
Ensemble Collaboration

Social Network Analysis (Rob Cross)

Robin Good is the best source of info on collaboration.
Robin Good & friends
Ross Dawson wrote the book on networking in organizations.


Post a Comment

<< Home

About Us | Contact Us | Home |

Powered by Blogger

Copyright 2005, Internet Time Group, Berkeley, California