You read the title, correctly. I’m going to be on Voice of America Friday, February 5 at 3pm Eastern (2pm Central) as a panelist discussing Economic Fractal Patterns, hosted by Pravir Malik.
Tune in or download the show. Here’s the details:
Pravir is the author of “Connecting Inner Power with Global Change: The Fractal Ladder” and while it’s a deep read, it’s a rewarding book for introducing the concept that there are emergent patterns that scale. Sometimes they scale with consequences we don’t quite expect or necessarily want, but understanding how fractal patterns work (think floret to stalk of brocolli) we can scale the good we want to see in ourselves to the good we want to see in our workgroups (and beyond).
Now, you might be asking yourself, what the heck I’m doing on this panel for this topic. Well, the main theme for tomorrow’s discussion is this:
- What shifts are you seeing in the environment or market within which your organization plays?
- Why do you think these shifts are occuring?
- How are you organizing to manage this?
Well, the market for learning technology, specifically in the area of “E-Learning” by its narrow definition, is rife with patterns of mediocrity such that a frightening majority of content — what’s supposed to develop employees in organizations around the world — is nothing more than hour long PowerPoint slides, passively asking the user to click next to continue. This isn’t every piece of content, but there’s an awful lot of it around.
Organizations continue to accept this because, quite frankly, there has been no other kernel presented to them in the same medium that would inspire duplication such that a new pattern would emerge. How does this scale? Well, how engaged can an employee be when the official messages from their organization are so unfeeling, rote and lifeless as bad slide decks that are paced and required to be seen in full?
The thing is, imho, there are alternative patterns emerging in the field of adult learning that recognize value in community and, at the very least, interpersonal interaction. Such organizations are moving away from the last ten years of design production practice and they are embracing more organic (to their organizations) approaches to developing employees, even letting employees coach each other and emerge as subject matter networks within communities of practice.
These have their own challenges. They’re not easy challenges to address, but they are very interesting challenges. One such challenge? Keeping experts engaged in their communities, when they are most likely to approach a state of “disregard.”
How we develop our people affects the whole economy. When we decide that cramming a couple slides with bullet points and charts is better than nothing — well, that may be true in the instance. However, it reinforces a fractal pattern that translates when scaled to “we value cheaper and faster above anything else.” That sounds harsh, but if we’re going to combat the bad with the good, we need to get comfortable with talking about what we don’t like and have the courage and perseverence to reinforce new patterns.