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A Gardener's Delight

After reading Jay's article, I was initially surprised to hear the reality of today's organisational uptake of social and informal learning, even though it is considered a relatively new vein of learning and collaboration. But then I had a flash back to a conversation with Barry Sampson, from Onlignment, a couple of months ago. He encouraged me to consider that in-fact the core group of adopters and supporters could actually be far smaller than appears in social networks such as twitter, a prediction that is qualified in his article.

Barry and I discussed that within our small group of excited evangelists the fever for social learning innovation is running high, but that did not necessarily mean that everyone else was getting it yet. In a way this gives me great inspiration to know that the market is still luke warm, perhaps not even on-the-radar yet.

Recently I just completed the first "leap frogging" for a client. There were no pilot schemes, no long winded lengthy processes, we just dove in and gone on with it.

The initial blueprint for their new ecosystem was designed based on free Web 2.0 software, which may or may not change as time goes by, but as a means to start, it's was agreed to be ideal and relatively risk free. Their process of gardening has started, instantly in-fact, but now comes the work of maintaining the garden; they need to hoe the ground, spread the seeds, water and protect the vegetation, and most importantly, nurture all the diverse life forms within the ecosystem. To succeed, the process must never stop and actually it needs to continually improve. The head gardener has the responsibility to lead the charge, and is tasked with not only motivating those around him to partake in the growth and success of the garden, but also to get their hands dirty with the others.

Over the coming months I'll be posting updates on how this first garden is developing including the highs and lows, adoption issues and any tweaks, including the teething problems that will turn up, greenfly for example!

I totally agree with Jay's point at the end of the article, "In the end, these human elements of innovation are likely to make the most important difference between success and failure." And I would add that it is important to begin the process of adoption with senior support; it is only by their adoption and enthusiasm that any lasting change will stand a chance of becoming an effective process adopted by everyone. This principal is the foundation of my consultancy, one for all and all for one. If I don't get a resounding 'yes we can' from the those who influence others, then I'm likely to walk away, citing that they are not ready to manage their own garden. 
Go straight to the finish line by Jay Cross 
However, in our debrief yesterday, both Jane and Charles reported that many attendees are only just starting to shift to delivering some eLearning. Social and informal learning are not on their radar.

Opportunities are being left on the table. Today, there is little evidence of collaborative and user-centered approaches in corporate and government settings, though there are suggestions of influence to come in the future. It is the same for mobile devices, ranked last in reported current practice, and jumping closer to the top of the list as practitioners look forward. The virtual classroom and blended learning were also less prevalent in reported practice than anticipated. 
There are many reasons why disruptive innovations fail... 
They fail because proper attention was not paid to the organizational and cultural changes
In the end, these human elements of innovation are likely to make the most important difference between success and failure.
Photo credit: Cath in Dorset / Foter / CC BY-ND

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