What's on my mind this morning after a friend and colleague asked me about how to do training and development in our now 21st century world. The new tools actually are elegantly simple: 1) affordable next-generation web conferencing, 2) low-cost, almost no cost web television technology, 4) various e-learning software tools, and 5) multiple social media platforms that help me connect with folks.
What's not simple however is the mindset of stakeholders that needs to be changed before decision-makers are willing to venture out and even try some of this new stuff. What we are talking about here is not rational thought that can easily make the business case...but people's unspoken fears. You don't have to be a rocket science to do the math to estimate the time and cost savings here of meeting online. The next-generation web conferencing we use even has a "green meter" that automatically calculates the reduction in CO2 emission every time folks e-meet.
Rather, the challenge...and the opportunity for us here squarely has to do with addressing human feelings and unspoken fears that something valuable will be taken away. The problem we discovered was "binary" feeling patterns - e.g. if you seduce me into liking this virtual world connections experience...then you may dehumanize me by taking away my precious physical world human connection experience.. Amazing... Last night while watching Oprah's Farewell Season launch, I was thinking about how many millions of television views "connect" with Oprah ...hours at a time...multiple days a week ...by watching beams of electrons streaming across their TV sets. If anything, their sense of humanity, because of Oprah, amplified and extended by technology has been enhanced, not degraded.
Then BINGO! The solution came to me.. What not just add a virtual world toolset to a physical world meeting experience...adding value and take nothing way?...by "virtualizing" physical world meetings allowing others to instantly "get there", and "get back"... just by logging in and out. Imagine the power of that if some of the remote participants who could do that were absolutely the worlds best business advisors, consultants, authors, motivational speakers, organization development, public health, or emergency preparedness consultants? What if even celebrities like Oprah, Dr. Phil, or even Lady Gaga could login and annoint the proceedings in real-time... like Oprah herself has been recently modeling?
What people need to understand and comprehend is that even "on-ground" training and organizational development can be phenomenally better and happen sooner within mission-critical windows of opportunity, once we help them cultivate a hybrid world mindset.. as 21st century instructional designers. What's cool is that we now know how to do that.... even in quality assurable steps....from virtualizing physical world meetings ...all the way to using the same innovative approach to even do world class multi-day virtual conferences and trade shows with this stuff.
If making a rational business case for this doesn't get it for you....then how about just getting quiet with yourself for a moment...and feel how good you and multiple stakeholders are going to feel as an outcome of improving the quality of life of people... not only across Seattle, or across King County, or across Puget Sound...but across the state, across the U.S. and across the planet itself. Wow do I feel great about where I am going with this stuff... even now. Call me if you'd like some of this feel good as well. I have a lot of it to go around... and I now know where it all comes from.