Sunday, 28 September 2008

Synchronous learning is important for large scale change

I've always felt that the paradigm of learning, how we learn, the fact we have different styles etc., is a crucial theme for spreading good practice across systems, in large scale transformational change.

Some of us like to learn through theoretical experiences whilst other of us prefer a more interactice and discussive type process. There's an interesting article in "Chief Learning Officer" which I think closely relates to the problems we grapple with in healthcare in scaling up change across lots of people and organisations.

The article looks at the difference between synchronous (do together, discuss, meet, talk) and asynchronous (email, read alone) activities. It looks at how the learning process is effectively part of the outcome of any change.

I'll not repeat the article; have a look here for the whole thing -

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Learning is part of knowledge management

There's a good article in Harvard Business Review 08/08 Vol.36 No. 8 P.60 by Amy Edmondson, entitled "The competitive imperative of learning".

This article is about the global trend to move away from a product based organisations to those that are more knowledge based - that is where the value is now. A process called EAL - execution-as-learning is introduced as a means to support the organisational learning and knowledge management process.

I like this framework because it is action orientated (good for healthcare) and shows how competitiveness can be managed, challenged and leveraged, though collaborative tools. This sounds a bit like an oxymoron. My view is that competitiveness might be the overarching strategy but it is delivered, at the action level, by collaborative working, including the use of systems and tools to enable this. There is also an emphasis on evaluation and feedback as essential parts of the learning process.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Mapping spread / adoption across geography

A key part of any spread and adoption sptrategy is the ability to map who is adopting the good idea or better practice. Location is a major factor. Are these people close to one another or separated? What might be the factors meaning there is significant adoption on one part of the Region or Country and not in another? How can we visually note the patterns?

I use as a tool for mapping adoption. It is flexible and helps me see who is where and what the patterns might be. It is based on Google Maps (check out the terms and conditions so you understand how it can best be used).

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Groundswell; social media works

I couldn't help but do some cross pollinating for once (or is it cross blogginating). I've just read and reviewed "Groundswell" by Li & Bernoff.

The book is about how people use social media to buck the trend of how they get information - namely using technology rather than the traditional methods from traditional instititions. This has significant implications for how we go about encouraging the spread of good practice.

Read the book review and get more infomration at

Building awareness is key

Most people keep their focus on the amount and extent of implementation; how many people have adopted the new practice or what benefits have been gained. This is important. However, I maintain that the amount of ultimate benefit you end up with, the number of people who end up adopting a change, comes from the pool of the people who decided to make a change. And not everyone goes through with the chnage process. Then the number of people who decide to make a change, comes from the pool of people who are aware - of two things. Firstly there is a problem they need to resolve, or maybe they just need to know there is a solution worth implementing - or maybe a bit or both. Regardless, they need to have awareness.
So when you next design your programme to rollout the benefits of a set of changes or want to get a large group of people to adopt some changes, my recommendation is to concentrate on the awareness phase. It helps to measure this as you then begin to have an idea of the slope of your adoption curve.
I could go on about this in some detail, but all I really wanted was to make you aware of the issue...

Monday, 8 September 2008

Sharing knowledge through social networking

There are hundreds of social networking sites around but this new one looks interesting and if it works it could reshape how we share knowledge and learn from, with and among our online friends. is where social networking meets a social form of knowledge management. You can upload content and create notebooks where you can collaborate with other users. You can see the information that your friends are working on. In this new era of open source knowledge and rapid dissemination, this feature has some significant advantages. It could rewrite the concept and dynamics of what is traditionally known as the opinion leader.

What I like about this site is how it moves on the concept of spreading good practice. It forces us all to think about how much we want to to share and with whom.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Methods for involving people in large scale change

Every now and then I come across a really useful website with content that presses all the right buttons. If you're interested in the topic of large scale change or spreading good practice and are looking for participative methods that involve the users, consumers, clients and population base - then have a look here:

This is a UK government funded site called and needs to be congratulated for its simplicity and focus.