• September 21, 2016 4:43 PM | Laura Chartier

    Alas, today brings us to our final post in this 3-Part series by Futurist, David Zach. (Be sure to read Part 1 Part 2.) Here he wraps up his morsels for thought from his in-progress composition, "100 Great Ways to Own Your Future":

    #7. And, the most important word of all

    This and that. Up and down. Black and white. Hot and cold. Form and function. Art and Science. Strength and beauty. Night and day. Today and tomorrow. Time and again.

    And, of course, is the most important word. It's the connector. It's the binding agent. It's the catalyst. All other words are incomplete and lonely without it. And, so are you.

    This photo is the inspiration for this article as well as for a new talk.

    A few years ago, I found these two exploring the Milwaukee Art Museum. He was excited to explore, she to guide - and me to find them in gallery after gallery. He would rush from painting to statue, she to follow, watch, and softly smile. She would ask, he would explain. He was maybe four. They had been here before.

    This is picture perfect. This is a perfect definition of "and." Young and old. Teacher and learner. Light and dark. Paradox and symmetry. Love and love. Art and ....

    For unlimited reasons, we must be reminded of why we have art and museums. We must be reminded of why we are here and should still be here in the future. This scene, preserved in a picture, reminds me that when you're witnessing the soul of a culture that has been lovingly preserved, protected and presented so that it may be lovingly passed from one generation to another, you should pay attention, you should wonder, you should be in awe. And, you should do that always and forever.

    At tomorrow’s SEWI-ATD Fall Special Event – “The Future...How Will You and Your Organization Remain Relevant? A Vision of Learning for 2020 and Beyond,” David will be conveying his thoughts in a keynote talk that is less about "what to think" than it is "how to think" about the future.

    Here is a supplementary blurb from David that sheds a little more light on what you might expect to hear:

    3D Printers can revolutionize manufacturing. Smart technology can be customized to the individual level and help make us healthier than we ever imagined. Logistics help us to navigate the world, connecting us with learning and learners everywhere on the planet. Design is becoming an essential aspect to everything from construction to education. The Internet is like some magical genie – answering all of our questions; connecting us, entertaining us, comforting us. The world is connected. It really is a magical age.

    Yet, we take in more information in one day than our grandparents took decades to acquire. Our behavior with smartphones has become indistinguishable from an addiction. We retreat into our homes, into our technology, and more and more people just don’t know how to have comfortable face to face conversations. We have unlimited choices and many of us just don’t know how to choose. 

    Welcome to the early stages of the 21st Century. Once again, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. What choices do we as individuals really have? Can we help people understand how to make better choices about the future? Can we have a better future?

    If you were to ask me those questions, I’d sum them up by deferring to Abraham Lincoln’s astuteness:

    “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

    So, are you ready to create YOUR future? If so (and even if you're not) please join us for an exciting and enlightening day at the Schlitz Audobon Nature Center! 

    There's still time to register... Click here!

  • September 21, 2016 1:30 PM | Laura Chartier

    Do gamification techniques supercharge your online training?  Swift Elearning designed an online compliance training using compelling narrative, points, virtual currencies, timers, badges, and levels. Check out this case study to see their results:  


  • September 20, 2016 8:38 AM | Laura Chartier

    In Part 1 of this 3-Part series, Futurist, David Zach provided three pearls of insight from his in-progress composition, "100 Great Ways to Own Your Future". Today, he continues with three more gems:


    #4. Relearn to be Curious

    Yes, relearn to be curious, because more than likely you’ve lost most of it. The writer Neil Postman said that, "Every child starts school as a question mark and leaves it as a period." Adding insult to inquiry, Google now answers your questions before you're finished asking them. We think that's clever and convenient, but it's more like confining your brain into a comfy chair from which it never gets up; never having to do the exercise of sculpting a good question, let alone lifting up good answers. Google does the work, so you don’t have to. Curiosity has been automated, because now there’s an app for that. If you’re curious about the dangers of such conclusions, then you’ll have to stop outsourcing yours.

    Once upon a time, we had to dig through lots of irrelevant information to find what we wanted. Except it wasn't irrelevant. Much of that process was the act of refining what it was that we actually did want. All that other “stuff” had a stickiness to it, which could fill the gaps in your brain to help you understand, to put into context, the great big world. Understanding the great big world is necessary for thriving in it. Answers don't make the world go around, being able to ask better questions does.

    I know this all to be true because I read the book Curious by Ian Leslie. And then I listened to it. And then I read it again. It's that good. It explains why our future depends upon rekindling curiosity. He explains how "diversive curiosity" helps you put the world into context. What he calls “epistemic curiosity” is where you drill down into specific lines of inquiry to develop competence. Diversive curiosity is especially strong in children because they need to learn about all that great big future ahead of them, but then it fades as we gain specific competences. Your challenge is that, when it comes to the future, we are all essentially children. Rediscovering a bit of childlike wonder will do wonders for making better futures. If you can’t relearn how to see the world through the eyes of child, you’ve become that saddest of creatures, an obsolete adult.

    The first lesson of well-nurtured curiosity is one that continually reveals itself: a lifetime of adventure; both self-directed and self-rewarding. Curiosity doesn’t create lifelong students; it creates lifelong learners.

    Curiosity is not just the foundation of lifelong learning; it is the foundation of life. Curiosity has to be nurtured in children, so they can become learned, ever-curious adults. These sorts of adults are productive, creative, innovating adults. Lifelong learners will save the future, because they are the ones who always save it.


    #5. Think Into Other Boxes

    “Think outside the box,” is some of the worst advice you will ever get. Most people end up just wandering around, lost in thought. It's because they've lost their context - that box they've been told to get away from is actually their perspective, their learning, their everything. What sense does it make to give that up completely?

    That box is not bad, it's just incomplete. It's too isolated. We and our thinking were not meant to be alone. Fortunately, there are so many great ways to connect your thinking to that of others. From coffee conversations to formal brainstorming and even strategic planning retreats, people bring multiple point perspective to ideas old and new.

    Just as I had suggested that your thinking shouldn't be merely linear, it also shouldn't be one-dimensional. There's a landscape to innovative thinking. It can be multi-dimensional. Do for your thinking what multiple-point perspective does for drawing and painting. Connect your thinking to additional dimensions.

    The easiest way to do that? Don't do it alone. Take your perspective (aka: that box that everyone told you to abandon) and then find another perspective, different from your own, but not completely different. Find common ground. Then talk. Explore the topic that stands between you. Look at it from all sorts of angles. Use mind-mapping to connect and consider possibilities.

    You have to do this with curiosity, and you have to do it with enough humility to consider the odd possibility that the other person might just be as smart as you. Maybe smarter. Lean into that.

    And what about the ideas you dislike, that you have already discarded? You may have plenty of reasons to do so, but there are a lot of great ideas that don't easily fit with others. Your task is to re-imagine possible connections. The Japanese writer, Junichiro Tanizaki, said that, "Without shadows, there can be no beauty." Look for the shadows, or better expressed, look into the shadows. Look where you're not looking. Look where you might be afraid to look. Find beauty that's not always obvious, not always on the surface. Look where you don't believe you need to look. Look.


    #6. Think Outside Occupational Boundaries

    This is obviously the offspring of the "Think Into Other Boxes" notion. It's just more specific, and for many of you, more practical. It's about your job, or rather your future job - because that one you have now just might change into something a bit unfamiliar. 

    In 2012, I surveyed architecture students on their then supposed poor job prospects, asking: “If you don't become an architect, what else might you do?” Their answers went into wordle.net and out came this word cloud:

    This cloud is thinking into other boxes and obviously, so were the students. They get that occupational boundaries are not entirely real. They might be necessary, but they, by necessity, cannot be absolute, especially in the face of all the changes swirling around them and the world of work. Student debt clears the mind wonderfully, especially for those able to think more entrepreneurially in terms of, "What works right now?" What works right now is needing to rethink the edges of the professions, but not eliminating the edges. In practical terms, we need the boundaries to determine competencies. What was competent then, isn't completely transferable into today. 

    Everyone's career is really about skill clusters, which will ebb and flow, not according to just which technology is being used, but also which skills and perspectives can be combined. The skill cluster of an architect today is vastly different from what it was a hundred years ago. Just a guess - it's going to be even more differenter (yeah, you see what I did there...) 25 years from now. Your actual mileage will not vary because the same thing applies to you – no matter who you are, no matter what you want to be. 


    For more of David's thought-provoking ideas, see Part 1 and Part 3 of our 3-Part Guest Blog Series.

    And if you enjoy David's posts, you’ll appreciate seeing see him live, in-action, during Thursday’s keynote presentation at SEWI-ATD’s Fall Special Event.  Register today! 

  • September 19, 2016 8:23 AM | Laura Chartier
    SEWI-ATD is delighted to announce Futurist / Author / Professional Speaker - David Zach, as one of two keynote speakers at our upcoming Fall Special Event: "The Future...How Will You and Your Organization Remain Relevant? A Vision of Learning for 2020 and Beyond."

    In moments of pause between his wanderings around the planet, David has been creating a list of things to think about in terms of 

    "100 Great Ways to Own Your Future"

    In part 1 of a 3-part series this week, he graciously pre-inspires and tempts us with a few bite-sized samples of wisdom from this in-progress composition:

    #1. Learn to Think Clearly

    Sounds simple enough, but then there's what’s called, "Mrs. Peter's Law," to explain it a bit more:

    "If you're not confused by what's going on today, you're just not thinking clearly."

    Lots of research shows that our thinking is fairly muddled and we're way too easily distracted. We're confused mostly because we don't know how to find enough of the right information and then organize it so that it makes sense.

    So to organize your thinking, make an outline. Better than an outline, make a Mind-Map. Mind-mapping is a simple and elegant way of organizing your thinking visually, by mapping it. (It's what I'm using to write this article.) They’re easy to learn and your brain will thank you for doing so. Map your future.

    Find Blogger @ChuckFrey on the InterWebs. He's probably the best resource for mind-mapping. http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/author/admin/

    #2. Find Your Retreat

    Oh, sorry, that was a typo. You don't want to retreat. You want querencia. Not familiar with that word? Too bad because it's a great one! Much better than retreat.

    Here's the definition of querencia: A place from which one’s strength of character is drawn. A place in which we know exactly who we are. The place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.

    It's a Spanish word but you should make it your word. We all need querencia. You need querencia to help you take ownership of your future. Finding querencia gives you a place to stand.  Without a place to stand, everything you build, everything you plan is without foundation.

    Foundations first, then plans, then build.


    #3. Paid Attention

    If you're reading this, then you're the sort who's not really paid for your time, you're paid for your attention. Time is linear, attention is non-linear. Time is one damn thing after another. Attention is holistic, unlimited and very much not linear. We pay attention to lots of things at the same time. Teenagers, I have been told, can pay attention to ten different things at once and still be, like, bored.

    We falsely pride ourselves for being able to do that, but it’s not a strength, it’s become a weakness. About ten years ago, I was at a conference to speak just after Temple Grandin, the famous agriculture specialist who also happens to be autistic. Halfway through her talk on "Humane Animal Rendering," she spied a guy sitting near me and practically shouted at him, “You’re texting! Stop it!” Then looking out at everyone else, she said, "People! Stop multitasking! Multitasking makes you stupid!” Just a guess, but I’d say she lost that battle, because apparently we lost that war.

    This may be one of those memes that has no real science behind it, but I'm going to believe it and share it anyway: People in the first half of the last century were able to pay attention to something and keep that attention focused for upwards of 20 minutes at a time. Today, it's down to about 8 seconds of total concentration, which they say is right up there - no, strike that - right down there with goldfish. Squirrels, I'll wager, have a longer attention span than you do - and that's just nuts.

    A.D.O.S. Attention Deficit, Oooh, Shiny!

    So put a bit more effort into putting your technology in its place, which is more off to the side, much less in front. Slow down the madness, break the addiction, stop the behavior that has become indistinguishable from worship.

    Stop using your so-called smart device as a shield, use it as a tool.

    Understand that your tech not your most important tool, your own brain is. Your brain is the breakthrough app, if you’d only stop being so distracted towards every little new upgrade.

    Protect your attention. It’s the most valuable resource you own. Stop giving it away.

    For more of David's thought-provoking ideas, see Part 2 and Part 3 of our 3-Part Guest Blog Series.

    And, if you enjoy David's posts, you’ll delight in seeing see him live, in-action, during Thursday’s keynote presentation at SEWI-ATD’s Fall Special Event.  Register today!

  • September 15, 2016 7:40 PM | Laura Chartier

    Published on April 18, 2016 

    YouTube video: 4:17


  • September 09, 2016 3:57 PM | Laura Chartier

    We had another terrific PDN with the SEWI-ATD Leaders of Learning group on Friday! Our topic was Emotional Intelligence: Defining it, discussion of formal training processes for staff development, resources, and organizational need. This blog repost, "7 Basic Emotional Intelligence Training Keys Your Boss Needs to Know About" by Aleesa Word, is a wonderful follow-up to our conversation.

    And if you like that one, you’ll also enjoy this compelling article, “Emotional Intelligence Can Boost Your Career And Save Your Life,” by Dr. Travis Bradberry.

  • September 06, 2016 3:30 PM | Laura Chartier

    SEWI-ATD’s 2016 Fall Special Event has incited quite a buzz about the promises of virtual and augmented realities in the talent development industry! After having had many conversations with colleagues about it though, it seems that hesitations about its proliferation in training during the next few years greatly outweigh the faith that many have regarding their organization’s acceptance of futuristic methodologies anytime soon. Perhaps a four-generation workforce and the old-school mentality of some middle-aged upper managers is what brings certain progressive L&D initiatives to a screaming halt. Or maybe it’s limited budgeting and resources that are getting in the way.  However, to get a glimpse of how AR & VR are moving fast in the public eye, and how that may begin to drive organizational change sooner rather than later, check out these 5 Top Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Technology Trends for 2016.

  • September 01, 2016 8:37 AM | Laura Chartier

    Don’t have a multi-million dollar budget to create your own Pokémon-Go style game for Learning? Viable AR learning experiences are still possible and can be achieved in most organizations. Check out this essay by Anders Gronstedt (Keynote speaker at our upcoming 9/22/16 Fall Special Event) to learn more about the possibilities of blending VR, AR, Gamification, and Social Learning to entice and engage your learners.

  • August 30, 2016 2:31 PM | Laura Chartier

    This 14 page guide from Bridge is a bit more in-depth than our typical blog posts, but HR managers, L&D professionals, and managers will find this to be an informative how-to on keeping up with the emerging trends in today’s modern workplace.

    7 Trends for Workforce 2020.pdf

  • August 25, 2016 9:50 AM | Laura Chartier

    Written by Laura Chartier

    The Future - Next Exit

    Have you seen the 2002 movie Minority Report? If so, you probably marveled at the main character, John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise), using gestures like an orchestral conductor to navigate vast amounts of visual data on a virtual screen. Or perhaps you mused at Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), manipulating holograms to rapidly prototype a new element in the 2008 movie, Iron Man. Maybe you thought to yourself, “Won’t it be cool when we eventually have technology like that at our fingertips?” Well, guess what…we do! That technology is here now, and seriously, it’s been here for years.

    As Talent Development Professionals, if we haven’t started preparing for the use of mixed realities in our workplaces, then we are already behind the virtual 8-ball.

    But there’s already too much on my plate!

    I know…it often seems like we can barely stay on top of what is already dumped in our laps, let alone keep track of the latest buzz-words and new best practices that constantly bombard us. With that said, I'm stepping out onto a precarious limb to suggest that we had better commit to making it a part of our regular routines to look up from (or dig out from under) the current stacks and piles that surround us, and explore the FUTURE of what we do.

    Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are very real components of what training and eLearning are fast becoming, promoting a miraculous depth of knowledge and skill we previously never thought possible. In case you’re a little fuzzy about this whole VR/AR thing, let me help clarify: VR is a computer-generated representation of an environment that allows for user interaction through immersive simulation. AR differs from VR in that it superimposes a digital image, sound, data, or other sensory input over something real-world, in real time, blending the simulated and the tangible.

    The recent advances of mobile devices and wearable technology have made AR and VR available not just in games and laboratories, but also in your hands. Using a smartphone anyone can create augmented reality content (yep, there are apps for that…many that are low-cost or even FREE).

    Diminishing resources in today’s workplaces precipitate the need to evaluate and reevaluate methods to effectively train employees and customers. Accordingly, more and more Instructional Designers are showing interest in the opportunities that virtual and augmented realities have to offer.

    Possibilities and Benefits for the Workplace

    Augmented environments can be incredibly diverse, providing personalized learning content for each individual learner. Instead of memorizing information, the learner is involved in an adaptive learning experience based on an existing context. Having control over their environment, learners can manipulate virtual objects however they please.

    • Doctoral Interns can make surgical incisions to explore human anatomy or try new techniques without physical harm to a patient.
    • Mechanical Designers can navigate a 3D model of the machine they’re developing and manipulate components to conserve space and reduce costs.
    • Front-line Employees can do safety checks by viewing intuitive, step-by-step instructions in an animated layer that’s locked onto their equipment and viewable from any angle.
    • Midwife Trainees can practice showing empathy and compassion using digital images of a patient superimposed onto mannequins to create a realistic experience.
    • Customer Service Representatives can meet with subject matter experts in real-time for live guidance supported by an augmented reality toolset accessible from any device.

    Every employee, new or experienced, can learn the processes and procedures of the company they work for through augmented reality training.

    Gartner Inc., the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, has concluded that AR provides the highest benefit for efficiency. It has the potential to:

    • Improve productivity
    • Provide hands-on experience
    • Simplify current processes
    • Increase available information
    • Provide real-time access to data
    • Offer new ways to visualize problems and solutions
    • Enhance collaboration

    Furthermore, a 2015 study conducted by Boeing with Iowa State University on the impact of augmented reality on business training showed that AR was responsible for a 30% reduction in the amount of time for task completions and a 90% improvement in quality on first attempts.

    A video released last year from Caterpillar demonstrates how their company is revolutionizing the client experience, ultimately redefining what it means to be a relationship business in the digital age. Their Innovation Teams are bringing data to life, fusing physical and digital worlds with AR and VR. Using special glasses that reveal an overlay of digital information, models, and analytics on top of actual products, Cat is training operators and service technicians, improving productivity, and optimizing reality for their customers.


    Well, get on the bandwagon already!

    If you haven’t been sucked in by the Pokémon-Go phenomenon, you’ve undoubtedly at least heard about it…everywhere. That’s proof that one form of augmented reality is banging down our doors. If you wait much longer for VR and AR to be right in your face, it will likely be too late to anticipate the curve balls it will throw at your Learning and Development Program. Don’t get left behind in the virtual dust!

    In the new 2016 movie Nerve, the game’s creepy robotic voice asks the character Vee, “Are you a watcher or a player?” When it comes to the future of Learning and Development, I’d like to encourage you to decide the same, and choose the latter.

    What are your thoughts? Are you already using virtual or augmented reality, or other pioneering methods? Are you envisioning, researching, and planning for the future? How can we help each other stay ahead of the game and be successful? 

    For starters, be sure to scope out SEWI-ATD's 2016 Fall Special Event, “The Future...How Will You and Your Organization Remain Relevant? A Vision of Learning for 2020 and Beyond.”

    Hope to see you there (and in the future, right now!)

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