Thursday, December 06, 2012

What Problem Are You Trying To Solve?

A few weeks back, I had a productive discussion with Aaron Silvers.  I needed an outside eye to provide feedback on my initial attempts at a learning architecture.

While we were talking, I asked Aaron about developing a community of practice.

"You need to ask yourself two questions:
  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • How does working together solve it?
This is the binder that will hold the community together."

Later that day, I wandered into the Data Whisperer's cube to talk about various projects.

After sharing the information from my conversation with Aaron, including his advice about developing communities of practice, the Data Whisperer performed one of his intellectual jujitsu moves:

"So Wendy, what problem are you trying to solve?"

Thing is - I have so MANY problems I need to solve in my learning environment.
  • Terrible search
  • Inflexible reporting
  • Difficult content import
  • Inability to assign stuff
  • No push
  • Limited mobility
  • Ineffective instructional design
  • Simplistic identity verification
  • etc.....

The image below is a pretty good descriptor.

This picture is the 7 of swords from the Rohrig Tarot.

The monster looks really big.  Within it is a bunch of small monsters.

Right now - I see all of the niggly small monsters.
At least with a big monster, it is easier to focus the weapon.

Am I looking at a "kill 10 rats" scenario?  Or is it a boss battle with one BIG rat?

All I know is that my environment - from base assumptions to tools - is massively broken and I need to somehow fix it - and fast....

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Another Guest Posting?!?!?!?

2 guest posts in one year!  That's more than I've done in almost 6+ years of blogging.

How Wendy prepares for a conference - as published in the ASTD TechKnowledge blog.

Thanks Justin Brusino at ASTD for talking me into this.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Defining Success

If you want your organization to perform you're ultimately looking at maximizing the supporting systems that contribute to the network (your organization). This includes people systems, technology systems, policy systems, management systems, etc. To know if any of these systems are failing you need data.
- Reuben Tozeman

Please go read Reuben's entire post.
I've been grappling recently with "success".

What does "success" look like?
  • Personally
  • Professionally
  • On projects I am on
  • Within the systems I touch
  • Within my organization - departmental, divisional, university-wide

As Reuben points out - if you want to perform, you are looking at maximizing your systems.
To know if the systems are failing, you need data.  I don't think that Reuben is strictly talking about quantitative data.

If success isn't defined, how do you know whether your systems are failing?

How do you know whether you are marching in the right direction?

Spending time on the right activities?
The problem I am facing is that large chunks of how I've been defining "success" in various realms have either been incomplete or felt inauthentic.

Before I determine how to best maximize my systems, it will help for me to get real clear about what direction I want to march in.

Clarity, sadly, has been escaping me at the moment.

Probably because I am still in the throes of the thrash.

Likely, because I am in the very uncomfortable position of needing to allow others to help me define "success". At least in my professional environment.  I might have allowed others too MUCH feedback in my personal environment.

Then there is that seemingly unbridgeable gap between me and that fog that I want to get to.
Not entirely certain what is IN the fog, but I know I need to get there.