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In a world where the need for learning is increasing, and budgets are flat and declining, we have a new challenge. How to reduce the cost of learning in a material way. Both for the learning and insights creation end and the end where employees learn.
Low cost of learning
To survive in fast moving markets the reduction of cost of learning is essential. You cannot control the pace of market development, but you can affect how fast you adapt. The more you need to learn to adapt, the lower the cost need to be to learn.
Cost measured as what it cost to gain the original insights. Cost of packaging insights in formats making it easy to consume. And cost for the next employee to access packaged insights. I use the word insights here to stress the importance of quality in the learning we will use as s base for teaching customers.
If I just knew what my company knows
Most companies don’t have a knowledge gap but a gap in sharing insights. You can assume all businesses today to be specialized in what they do. Specialist in a specialized company know what most sales people need to now.
A bigger problem is the fragmentation of knowledge. It often taken the combined insights from several specialists to get the full picture. It is common to see insights from different groups articulated and stored in different ways. Finding and combining insights become a cost and time consuming effort.
Low cost at the production end
Your specialists are likely busy doing their day job. The job to extract specialists’ insights need to come at a low cost for the specialist. Since it is the deeper and more specialized insights we need, specialists and their situation is a good starting point.
Specialist are great on what they know, but often need support. Polishing structure and format for insights to fit the target audience. Writing longer documents cost a lot of time and effort for the author. A faster route to market is to use shorter videos. Video based insight sharing as a “Selfie movie recording” or a voice over to simple graph or picture is great. Insights that fit in a napkin is the poster child for low cost learning that is easy to transfer,
Low cost of learning at the sharing end
The second challenge of low cost learning is the cost of sharing the insights in your organization. A cost that can be both monetary for accessing the knowledge and time invested by the one learning. Low cost of learning, especially if sharing need to reach far or propagate fast, need to be in digital format.
In sales organizations the cost of invested time varies. The cost is high for longer sessions, tied to a specific time during the day, targeting your employees up time on a PC/Laptop. The cost is low for shorter sessions, available on demand and accessible on downtime via a mobile or tablet. The latter example represent the direction pursued by learnings optimized for low cost.
Questions for you and your team
- How do we capture vital insights today – how we document them, where we find them and how we share them,
- Who are our most valuable specialists – our internal source of insights,
- How do we package the insights from our specialists today – has to be efficient for both sender and receiver.
- Where do we have a low cost challenge, at the production, sharing or both ends. – focus on starting where you see the largest short-time pay-back.
- How can we crowd source insights from our specialist at zero production costs – a reality today for video recording savvy specialists.
- Which distribution vehicle is best suited for our low cost learnings – amount will grow fast.
Additional reading suggestions
- Learning to learn faster – the one superpower everyone needs [ARTICLE] – by Steven Kotler
- The knowledge creating company [ARTICLE] – by Harvard Business Review
- Workforce speed – the most important talent factor no one is managing [BLOGPOST] – by John Sulliva
- Exploring the process of insight generation [BLOGPOST] – by Evangelos Simoudis
- The power of knowledge transfer – preserving your secret sauce while mitigating talent management risks [BLOGPOST] – by Steve Trautman
- 3 reasons your competitors are your best friends [BLOGPOST] – by Michael R. Hunter