I am currently working with a client, Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) to design a social learning guided experience (or a cMOOC by any other name) for their engineers and maintenance staff to be rolled out as a program in February 2015. You can read more about the introduction to this program in my previous blog post A Way to Work, Connect and Learn In Your Job.
Some people have asked me how did you come up with this solution? Why did you choose this particular type of solution?
CCA had identified that improvement of maintenance management and practices were required as a priority to achieve their business objectives. They also realised that there were a number of long-tenured engineers who had deep process and plant equipment knowledge and experience . With engineers and maintenance staff spread across Australia, this team’s roles had been modified over the years.
For example, in the past, engineers did a lot of design work and even built equipment but now, these tasks were sub-contracted to equipment suppliers and their role was now one of supplier review, influence and negotiations of proposed design and installation plans. There were also new emerging skills relating to Maintenance Management that would enable more cost effective maintenance plans to be developed to reduce the cost of equipment ownership.
Across the team (that consisted of people who had recently joined the company through to several decades), the skill and knowledge level varied and it was seen that the business value of this deep knowledge was critical for engineers as it allowed them to review and appropriately challenge the equipment suppliers on proposed designs to ensure more cost effective solutions.
So how do you get their knowledge and experience shared across the wider group?
Create a community.
My first phase was to undertake an analysis of any current local communities or networks that are operating within the team that allow for common practice and shared enterprises; interaction and participation; respect for diverse views and overlapping practices, histories and understanding between members. This phase was to also define the performance gap between the current and preferred/future state through interviews with stakeholders, observations of work practices onsite or the conduct of focus groups that identified the environment tools, resources and platforms that are currently used (or not used effectively) and the People (the culture, expectations and motivations to sharing knowledge).
The analysis phase took about 4 weeks working with the client to create a schedule of interviews and site visits as well as communicate the intent of this project to the stakeholders and those involved.
The analysis phase also involved research gathering on my part using various social networking platforms to seek assistance around questions on use and functionality of different tools and systems. In effect, I used my own networks to seek out responses and to bring back this learning to the client and the project.
A significant component of the analysis was looking at the current use of new systems and tools that had been implemented (or will be implemented over the coming year) with the intention of closing the gap on how these tools may be customised, personalised or used for the context of their own work. These tools included SharePoint 2013 and Lync 2013 and associated mobile and cloud applications in preparation for an iPad roll-out in 2015.
The Information Gathering
With 3 site visits across Victoria and Western Australia and many phone calls, I interviewed 17 people at all levels across the teams using a questionnaire that I had created around question on the above topics. The questions related to their:
- Roles, Communications & Social Structures at work
- Current Collaborations, Intra- and Inter-site co-operation and knowledge sharing
- Their external networks (and how much they bring this to their work)
- Their work activities & How they Learn On The Job
- Their current use of enterprise and open source tools and applications
The onsite observations were critical as it allowed me an opportunity to visit people at their work, while they were working and observe how they used certain tools and systems.
I was also provided external access to Lync and SharePoint and in effect, created my own profile on their systems so that I could use and test out the full functionality of the systems they had available.
What struck me about this organisation was how committed people were to their work and their team members. They loved their work, they had a passion about their team and their product – and they were willing to give anything a go. They were open to learning more and seemed curious about the program – and they were highly connected within their own sites.
I recall standing in the testing lab on the factory floor surrounded by pipettes, measuring flasks and centrifuge (a flashback from my Organic Chemistry days) waiting to chat to someone while he finished a testing process, and our guide who had been at the company for many years, talked passionately and animatedly how he loved coming to work every day because of the people and his team. So the ‘community within the site’ was there – it was now time to connect them to their broader team nationally and internationally.
For someone who doesn’t hear or see this often, it was refreshing. It was only natural that I wanted to help and be part of their journey too.
Content Curation & Client Communications Along the Way
Along the way, I shared my progress and my own learning with my client, Michelle Ockers (and she with me). The way we worked and the systems we used to collaborate with each other were seamless, free flowing, going from one platform or tool to the next. These were via:
- Evernote (I create a folder for all my clients where I curate content specifically for their needs. I find this saves me time as all my research, links, articles, videos are already gathered and ready when the time comes to start developing the program – therefore, shortens development time)
- Lync Virtual Meetings
- Phone calls
- Twitter and DMs
- SharePoint 2013 Discussion Forums
- Social Learning Guided Design Experience Program (yes, we both registered for Jane Hart’s recent course so that we can learn what and how to do it – so in effect, we were students together but applying the learning to our ‘real world’ problem).
If you ask, “didn’t you find this communication overwhelming?”
Personally, no. It just made me realise that our tools enable us to access information anytime, anywhere, in any format. The conversations continue seamlessly flowing from one tool, platform to the next. We were ‘working, connecting and learning’ together throughout the whole project and I physically didn’t have to be at my desk in front of my computer to answer questions or find information.
I collated the responses into a big Excel document (although in future I may look to just using a Mind Map as the latter may have been far easier for me to use and visually see the responses) and then created a Strategy Paper to present to the key stakeholders on my Findings around:
- Business Practices
The Strategy Paper also outlined where the identified the gaps of Knowledge Conversion were in their current environment using the SECI Model by Nonaka and Takeuchi, specifically around: These gaps were:
- Tacit to Tacit (Social)
- Tacit to Explicit (Externalisation)
I created a colour coded Visual Map of where this knowledge was in their systems where green was what they were currently using or doing (you can see how they are focussed on more explicit knowledge actions) versus red writing which are the gaps around more social activities or tacit knowledge sharing.
I also provided a SWOT analysis out of all the results and then provided an outline of potential user cases for knowledge sharing. The user cases identified were around:
- Equipment Reliability & Reduced Downtime
- Specific Site Projects
- Maintenance Management
- Working with Suppliers
- External Training & Site Visits
- Cost Reduction Initiatives
- Systems & Process Related
Various recommendations were provided around the following themes but here are some of them:
- Building Personal Learning Networks Within the Organisation:
- Reinstate the national conference and have the site teams collaborate on projects that will find savings and efficiency to fund future conferences (and to use social tools at this conference to share their learning back to the wider organisations)
- Build the internal network through effective use of SharePoint 2013
- Train and encourage use of social networking behaviours in SP2013
- Building Personal Learning Networks External to the Organisation:
- Use social media such as LinkedIn to connect with external expertise & to each other
- Register the organisation with an industry association to encourage sharing of information at events back to the organisation
- Integrating Learning Into the Work:
- Reframing current meetings to include Lessons Learned and Case Studies and Post Activity Reports
- Support use of mobile and social networking technologies to capture and share knowledge.
The Success Measures
One of the ways to measure ‘before’ and ‘after’ progress is to identify some targets that we can measure against. The KPIs related to cost savings and process efficiency, increase in networks and an increase in engagement with community that can be shown by:
- Greater than 80% of Maintenance and Engineering team have full Lync and SharePoint Profile
- Greater than 80% of team have contributed, participated and completed the WCL Program
- Greater than 80% of the team using mobile apps or SP2013 community to collaborate and network
- Increase in the frequency of use and Engineering participants in the Community
- Increase in the use of SP and Lync for team meetings
- At least one request to have this program rolled out to another part of the business as a result of word-of-mouth promotion and community promotion
- At least one process efficiency or cost reduction identified as part of the WCL Program related to strategic obejctives
- One new innovation identified by the Community for their Company Innov8 Award
In the next blog post, I will write about the Design and Develop Phase of the Work, Connect and Learn Program.
If you would like to know more about how a Work, Connect and Learn Program may be used in your organisation, please contact me for more information. The program is customised to suit your tools, your platforms and your business needs.