Know barriers, use design, build capability

Yesterday, thanks to Twitter, I got to eavesdrop on a DC-based conference on social media in government. This morning I’ve got an array of interesting pages open, all connected in some way to things I found through the stream.

Musings on 2.0 Culture Change

Not the first post like this, but Jeffrey Levyis director of web communications for the Environmental Protection Agency.  His list is good, and this item worth repeating here:

Know the policy framework. Not doing so risks running into brick walls at high speed. And when you do that, you often bounce backward. Whereas if you know the policies, you know which walls are brick, which are sponge, which are 3 feet high by 3 feet wide and which are 30 feet high and 2 miles long. Bonus: knowing the walls tells you where to push for change.

Design for the Other 90%

Olivier Blanchard starts by quoting Paul Polak:  “The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”

Blanchard’s talking mostly about marketing, but I can’t help seeing some learning-design points there as well, which connects nicely with…

10 Harsh Truths about Corporate Websites

Paul Boag writes in Smashing from a web designer’s perspective.  Advice like this applies to other situations:

“If you want to get the maximum return on your Web team, present it with problems, not solutions. For example, if you’re targeting your website at teenage girls, and the designer goes for corporate blue, suggest that your audience might not respond well to that color. Do not tell him or her to change it to pink. This way, the designer has the freedom to find a solution that may even be better than your choice. You allow your designer to solve the problem you have presented.”

Online Networking ‘Harms Health’

…perhaps in the way that superficial reporting harms judgment.  The BBC enlightens us with one more bogeyman-sighting.  The biologist in question apparently wouldn’t agree with the authors of…

From Andragogy to Heutagogy

“Heutagogy” (the study of self-determined learning) seems even less likely to catch on as a term than Malcolm Knowles’s “andragogy.”  Still, this paper by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon makes some telling points:

A most important characteristic of a capable organisation is the capacity for managers to empower others, to share information, and develop capability… It is perhaps surprising that many managers continue to ignore the evidence of the success of such approaches to people in organisational management.

The reasons for this lack of change might be found in the way in which managers are trained or maybe not trained. There is a heavy emphasis in our management schools and in organisations on the technical aspects of management. The plethora of short management training programs attests to the simplistic approaches we take in addressing management deficiency.