Bob Lord, CEO of Razorfish, wrote an article recently outlining the five principles of convergence. This article is very much applicable for those of us in the learning and development domain. Here are some extracts. You can read the entire article here.
1. Put the customer first. Strategies need to be based on data from actual consumer activity, not abstract gut feeling. That data should dictate not only what experiences you serve consumers but where, when, and how. Certainly rings a bell when we get caught up in implementing the best and the latest learning technology without paying attention to what the employees need or want.
2. Think of your brand as a service and experience. As a marketer, you’re creating new products and apps and always-on ecosystems, not just a series of campaigns based around a calendar of product launches. Nike is the classic example, with its ecosystem of fitness apparel, gadgets like FuelBand and services like Nike+ that immerse the user in the company’s innovation and create an end-to-end fitness solution. There is a lesson here for enterprise learning programs. Enterprises should visualize holistic learning programs that transcends just the classroom or online learning. How can you create interest, address learning needs or performance support with a 360 degree view of an employee’s day (and night) at work should be the goal.
3. Reject Silos. There is very little explanation required for this point. Most often, the bridge between “business” and the learning department is not properly established. As a result, simple things like gathering content or validating content becomes a major stumbling block.
4. Act Like a Startup: a. Your enterprise deploys–or at least experiments with–cheap, fast, and flexible tools like cloud computing, social media platforms, and open APIs. b. You employ product managers who are accountable for particular aspects of the consumer experience, just like Facebook has tasked someone with oversight of the newsfeed. c. You employ Agile methodology and rapid prototyping. I have seem companies agonizing over LMS selection and as a result missing out on making available learning content (because “we haven’t made up our mind on the LMS!”).
5. Embrace Diversity: In practice, it’s important to get a wide variety of expertise and perspectives around the table—marketing and technology, of course, but also HR, legal, and finance. We call this building a big boat, and it’s vital to building a convergence-ready organization.