Solve the problem.

I was out for a quick jog this AM when I ran underneath the advertisement you see at the top of the post. I was surprised to see that in today’s society, one driving more towards sustainability and reduction, that businesses are still targeting the hyper-consuming, shopaholic.  More importantly, I started thinking about how we – the learning & collaboration team at my organization – are basically selling the same ideas.

“This is our collaboration platform!  It can do whatever you want!  Well, eventually.”

Team members are already suffering from Shirky’s filter failure, and now we are telling Team Members nothing is impossible. Talk about throwing gasoline on the fire. This tool can help you do anything your mind can imagine unfortunately results in three immediate thoughts:

  1. That’s what you said about the last tool.
  2. What can it do for me now?
  3. How can I do what I need with the limitations of the current deployment?

We’ve gone through an adoption cycle of roughly 18-months, complete with communication plans, demos, and informal learning opportunities, and if pressed I’d admit I’m disheartened by the low number of people we have actively using our collaborative suite of tools, but I get it. When you tell people that everything is possible, it’s almost like telling them nothing is. There’s too much to think about, and focusing on one problem becomes even harder.

I think we need to fine tune our approach so we solve a problem, not every problem. Find a problem, fix a problem. You always hear people asking about low hanging fruit or quick wins, but honestly, in terms of driving adoption it makes sense.

So how can I reach out to people?

To paraphrase Steve Jobs, creativity occurs with random collisions. You run into people at work, whether it’s in the lobby or the kitchen, and get inspired by hearing what they are working on. Simply extending that to our adoption plans, we can trigger some creativity. If I can show you how I fixed one problem, maybe you can use that to solve one of your problems. It seems simple, and maybe not as scalable as large blasts of info or demos, but I think it’s the best way to actually show people what we can do.

So here’s my promise. I’m going to record a few demos to share with people at my org, showcasing not features but answers. I’ll ask them to do the same and hopefully, start a movement.

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