Let's talk about the strategic advantage of Instructional Design
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In this episode, we interview Steffaney Zohrabyan a Digital Sales Enablement Leader and Host of The Digital Adopter Series. Together we discuss the value of digital adoption platforms (DAP), how digital adoption efforts differ from training, and how to make the case for digital adoption tools and processes at your organization.
What does it mean to be an evangelist for training? Get inspired about learning with Zach Napolitano, Product Marketing Director at Splash (SplashThat.com).
Check us out on istrainingtheanswer.com, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
As part of my own personal development I'm donating one dollar for every filler word I speak in an episode. I tried this out with my last public speaking event and ended up closing one DonorsChoose project and supporting another work towards completion.
This episode helped to complete Calculate to Educate, a project by Mrs. Smith.
Ever wonder what causes your colleagues to ask for training to solve a challenge? Why is training the answer in their minds for non-compliance with a process or procedure? Why not focus on enhancing the process, technology, or even the working environment to solve the challenge?
Join myself and Rory Sacks as we talk to professionals inside and outside of learning and development to answer L&D's most frequently asked question. Every month we'll launch a new episode aimed at helping you be more effective, responsive, and compassionate when working with your colleagues to deliver the best learning experience possible.
Check us out on istrainingtheanswer.com, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
You may have noticed a lack of new content lately. That's because I've invested my time in some different avenues over the past few months. It's my hope that these efforts will bring lasting value to the Talent Development community. To that point, I'm very excited to share that I've written an issue of ATD at Work titled "Execute a Hackathon to Solve L&D Challenges".
In this guide I share the lessons I’ve learned from leading and implementing a Talent Development hackathon. This information can mean the difference between an event with poor outcomes and one that allows an organization to break through silos and achieve its goals.
Writing this guide has opened doors for my career. It has lead to speaking events and allowed me to connect with people throughout the Talent Development community. My hope is that through this guide, you will run an event that inspires your organization to create lasting change. That it will open doors for your career and help you achieve your goals.
Here's an excerpt!
Thank you to my amazing family, friends, and the editing team at the Association for Talent Development for helping to make this happen.
I'm working on a post to help learning teams manage their project intake process. Its focus is to help you prioritize your work and ensure that it's aligned with the strategic goals of your organization. Look for it here in the next few weeks.
Additionally, I have joined the advisory board for Seton Hall University's Customer Experience Certificate Program. As an advisory board member I'm dedicating time over the next couple of months to review the program and provide feedback. I'm very excited to complete the certification and apply CX methodologies to my work and share them with you.
Lastly, I'm starting a podcast! Rory Sacks and I have a few episodes recorded and are in the process of editing and finalizing our first few episodes. Stay tuned for the official launch!
As always, feel free to comment, subscribe, or contact me with any questions or thoughts.
Post last updated Aug 2020
In 2018 I had the opportunity to develop and implement a learning hackathon. As a result of this event we came up with some truly inspiring solutions that impacted the bottom line.
Here's how you can leverage the power of a hackathon to inspire cross functional teams to develop some truly great learning solutions.
Start with the goal in mind
Determine what you want to accomplish with your event before running it. What are the challenges your team is facing now or in the near future? What outcomes would help you solve them?
Example Outcome: At the end of the hackathon we'll have solutions presented that will reduce attrition of high potential employees this year.
Craft quality challenge statements
Once you've identified the challenges you want to tackle, you'll need to turn them into challenge statements. (Alvin Chia, Hackathons Unboxed: A Field Guide to ideating, Leading and Winning) Each written in a way that will help the teams craft solutions that fit expected out comes.
Make sure to include any constraints in these statements as well. They act as boundaries that the teams can use to work within or around as they form their solutions. Are there any constraints around the solutions like budget, culture, or time?
Example: How might we reduce attrition of high potential employees this year, without impacting current work streams, at little to no cost?
Make it a challenge
By limiting the time frame, and treating it as a competition, you provide a similar sense of urgency as being handed a tough project with a quick turnaround.
Example: The hackathon will run for one week with the expectation that each participant and team will dedicate at least 24 hours coming up with the solution.
Commit to the event
There’s rarely a “good time” to run an event like this. Whether you do it now on your own terms or later on someone else’s you’ll be investing this time either way. Pick the time that works best for you and stick with it.
Recruit creative cross functional teams
To solve challenges you'll needed teams filled with resourceful people from across your organization and not just your learning team. This provides different perspectives, insights ,and in the end will lead to more holistic and creative solutions. (Alvin Chia, Hackathons Unboxed: A Field Guide to ideating, Leading and Winning)
Create teams with:
Draft a diverse panel of judges
To evaluate the solutions, recruit judges who are directly impacted by the outcome of the presented solutions. These judges can provide relevant feedback and appropriately evaluate the solutions that ware presented. Don’t be afraid to have some diversity of thought here as well.
Craft a solid score card
Be very careful when developing the judging score card. How you score the solutions will heavily impact the solutions that are developed. The elements of the score card serve as a guide for the teams to ensure they’re including the right things in their proposals. For example, if you focus on creativity vs. viability you may end up with solutions that you can’t start implementing this year or next. Your score card should reinforce your goals for the event.
Prepare teams for success
Communication and making resources available to the teams is of the utmost importance. Provide pre-read documentation to get each team up to speed on current processes, make them aware of the judge’s panel, and the score card in advance of the kickoff session. (How to Run a Successful Data Hackathon with data.world) This helps to connect team members early, acclimate them to the current way of doing things, the hackathonesignathon process, expected outcomes, and to whom they’ll be presenting their solutions.
Kick off your event
Get the teams started and then get out of the way. The goal is to get the teams ideating as quickly as possible, not listening to someone talk about what they’ll be doing. (Alvin Chia, Hackathons Unboxed: A Field Guide to ideating, Leading and Winning)
During the event, be attentive and available to answer questions, share those answers with everyone, and provide any support documents such as templates or materials. Provide time for each team to meet with members of the judge’s panel to discuss and get feedback on their solutions. You should check in with each team and provided feedback as well.
Present, score, and provide feedback
On presentation day, each team should get the same amount of time to present their solutions and answer questions from the judges. For example, give each team 10 minutes to setup their presentation, 20 minutes to present, and 15 minutes to answer questions from the judges. During the presentations the judges use the score card to evaluate each solution.
Keep scores secret until all presentations are complete. Ask the teams to step out while the judges discuss and deliberate each presentation. When the judges are ready, ask the teams to return. To save time have one judge provide consolidated feedback for each team prior to announcing the winner.
Once feedback has been given, announce the winner, their prize if any, and celebrate! Each team has worked hard and deserves a little fun to close out the event. The prize doesn't have to be extravagant. Some credit or money towards items from your company store should be enough.
Evaluate the event
Ask for feedback from the teams and judges via a survey or focus groups. This information will help setup your next event for success.
Make the solutions happen
Now that you have your solutions, don’t waste time. Choose the solutions you want to take to the next level and put resources behind them. (Hackathons Aren’t Just for Coders)
Reach out and ask the teams to break their solutions into workable tasks, prioritize, and get to work on what makes sense! There’s no reason you can’t include cross-functional team members in the work. They’re just as invested in making them happen as you are.
Running your own hackathon can seem intimidating. However, using the tips above and resources provided in this article will help you to achieve your goals.
As learning leaders you know the challenges facing your team and company. This process provides you with a means to tap into the creativity of your organization, over a short period of time, to address them.
Want to learn more? The following resources helped me to run a successful session.
Engaging people leader and accomplished Instructional Designer with over 15 years of experience creating effective learning solutions and building innovative learning teams.
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