Next Steps 2014 Chicago recap

Last week we were delighted to spend two days with our clients at Next Steps 2014 in Chicago. Next Steps is our annual user conference and our theme this year was innovation and business results. Innovation in terms of new technologies, tools, apps, practices, ways of thinking that shape how we work and live. New ways to take advantage of the NetDimensions Talent Suite across different functions in the organization. Business results in terms of how learning & talent management technologies and processes link to actual business metrics that are relevant to CxOs. Metrics relating to revenue contribution, cost control, change enablement, and risk management.

 

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My panel on talent analytics with Betty Mills of Centra Health, Jerry Bishop of Brigham Young University, Richard Beaumont of Omega Performance, Dan Sherman of The Nature Conservancy, and George Walker of NetDimensions.

Are books for learning?

BooksNot an entirely silly rhetorical question — in our work world of endless data aggregation and analysis, the reading of books remains a curiously solitary and hard-to-track enterprise.

It’s easy enough to hand someone a book. It’s easy enough to require a signature acknowledging receipt and even demand answers to a compliance question or two to check headline-level comprehension.

But it’s hard to do anything with a book approaching a deep and actionable, let alone shared understanding of the content without classes and clubs — meaning that costly in-person conversations in and around the act of reading are still what makes reading, at least the extended kind, real and useful.

But for the corporate world, the idea of reading as a purely personal pursuit may be changing. Three developments — e-book readers, the advent of technology-mediated social reading and the X API (nee Tin Can) — together make books cost-efficient, communal and reportable in new ways.

e-book readers are now ubiquitous and cheap. Even general-purpose iOS and Android tablets support the e-pub standard. New services like Zola make reading a compelling group exercise (it’s very cool). Established services like Lulu let any company build its own libraries for private, on-demand distribution. The X API means that the reading of a book can be recorded by chapter and task in any competency framework a company may need.

Books Redux.