Monday, 20 December 2010

Presentation Challenge

Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007Image via Wikipedia
At a recent KIN quarterly workshop, one of the delegates said in their feedback we should consider running a 'powerpoint free' workshop.
I think for many people, the idea of presenting at a workshop without the 'crutch' of powerpoint might be perhaps a little too daunting. But there are alternatives to Powerpoint. I came across 'Prezi' just recently. So, here's the challenge. Who will be the first to make a presentation at a KIN workshop using Prezi ?
(Tip: Use the Autoplay option on the Prezi below)
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Friday, 17 December 2010

A lesson from the kids

Red CrossImage via WikipediaFailure is an emotive word. Wow, if only I had Diana Laufenberg as a teacher at school. In Diana's TED talk this month she talks with passion and conviction about how important it is for kids to experience, and learn from, failure. Rather than simply regarding failure as an absolute, she demonstrates that they all can have positive learning outcomes.

At KIN, we have long advocated the importance of learning from both positive and negative practice (we have a special interest group devoted to this), but applying that learning. In the Innovation SIG, we have discussed how important it is that organisations have a degree of tolerance for failure. Indeed innovation won't happen unless risk is understood and embraced.

Laufenberg's talk is inspiring and full of anecdotes about failure. Just substitute 'work colleagues' for 'children' throughout her presentation.
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Monday, 13 December 2010

Babelfish anyone? The Joy of Stats...

Hans RoslingImage by psd via FlickrI've been a fan of Prof Hans Rosling and his site for a while. He not only makes stats interesting and fun, but also shows that their purpose is to tell a story. Rosling uses visualisation, and animated images, to convey knowledge and insight that lies hidden in the numbers.

Last week, BBC 4 showed an enjoyable documentary , available on iPlayer that showcased Rosling and others' work and the incredible change that statistical computing is having. Don't be put off by the title 'The Joy of Stats' - it is a real eye-opener.

One standout item was something that Douglas Adams predicted many years ago, and that Google is promising to bringing to life; the Babelfish. Through the hidden power of pure statistics, you will soon be able to hold a synchronous conversation on your mobile phone with someone who speaks a different language.

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Spreading the word

You know that feeling - 'why didn't I think of that'? Pay With A Tweet.

Social media are changing our lives in many ways. Some subtle, some in-your-face, some annoying, some brilliant. Today I came across a really simple but effective example of an organisation that totally understands its target market and communication preferences. Onlightenment provides 'consulting, training, research and support to help organisations who want to excel in their online communications'.

I was interested in their e-book 'Live Online Learning - A Facilitator's Handbook'. The cost of the book is 'one Tweet'. Yes, to download the book, you have to Tweet that you have done so. See what they did there?
  • They have added perceived value to the item by not giving it away, but the cost to you is nothing
  • Spending the currency is effortless; you just have to click the button to allow the Tweet
  • Customers beget customers - perfectly engineered viral marketing
  • They are practicing what the teach - the communication medium is perfectly in line with their target audience's preferences
In case you were wondering, the e-book is pretty good too. Much of it will be fairly basic for experienced facilitators and many of the tips are equally valid for face-to-face facilitation, for example, the use of images in slides. There is however there is lots of well researched and practical stuff about the effective use of online chat, e-whiteboards and online etiquette. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

"Golden Spanner" proof that knowledge sharing pays

If you search the internet for 'Golden Spanner' the top item is likely to be something to do with Meccano, beloved of James May and toy geeks.

Look further and you will see that South West Trains was recently awarded a coveted golden spanner award for the best reliability of any UK train operating company. Now jokes about reliability in the snow aside, what caught my ear was the astonishing results that the company has achieved, compared to their competitors. The awards are based purely on fleet reliabilty metrics, not some subjective passenger survey. The average distance operated by any train between any technical defects (causing 5 minutes or more delays) is over 40,000 miles. This represents the equivalent of more than a complete round the world journey without any technical faults. This is even more remarkable when you consider that the industry average is only 13,000 miles.

How did they do it? Christian Roth of SWT, interviewed on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours, attributed much of their success to 'a knowledge sharing culture'. They also benchmark, measure and communicate the results constantly.

This is another example of what KIN Associate Ian Corbett calls 'technical limit' improvement. Knowledge sharing really can have a dramatic impact on performance, but measurement is a critical part of the improvement cycle.

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