All posts tagged learning

Culture Hive Digital Marketing Academy | Everything Is Beta

abraham-lincoln-axe-quote

Mentoring is never linear.

For the past three years I’ve been honoured to be mentoring ‘fellows’ from the cultural sector via the the Arts Marketing Association, Digital Marketing Academy.

Fellows are invited to devise, test, develop and share digital marketing experiments with the help of a leading digital specialist as their Mentor. The experiments are developed on real audiences in order to trial and adopt good practice and achieve new ambitions and perspectives in digital marketing.

Every year, I’ve been working with three fellows and although many experiments have seen fruition, like using printed flyers to promote digital offers, connecting schools with arts and cultural organisations online and using online data to drive digital efforts, the most important learning is that everything is beta.

Ideas don’t follow a neat, linear pathway to actualisation, there are just too many factors which influence things, like resources, time, other projects, literacies, organisational culture etc. Developing pathways to action is sometimes more about understanding deeply the causalities of the hurdles and / or clearing the route rather than walking them.

The two most common challenges facing the fellows during my time as mentor is that of capacity and expectations. The first relates to simple the amount of ‘other’ in the professional portfolio the mentee is juggling. Space for reflection let alone experimentation is rare so even being part of this initiative is a fantastic opening of potential. The latter is obviously an internal, softer set of attitudes which the organisation manifests. Again, another ongoing, sometimes abrasive hinderance to the intent of the projects, which is specific and is tackled by rephrasing or positioning the efforts in a digestible and values / outcomes based manner.

Without at least attempting to address these factors then experiments rarely gain deeper traction.

Put another way, the axe needs sharpening first.

Big thanks to my mentees this year: Rachel and Ryan from the digital team at Barbican Centre plus Helga who’s heading up the marketing team at Pavilion Dance South West.

Sandbox Summit 2015 Closing Keynote | Getting MIT Dancing

As the closing keynote speaker for Sandbox Summit 2015, I wanted to go out on a high.

The above was me taking a chance with the understanding I might not ever get another chance to speak at the prestigious MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

What the client thought (although feel free to form your own opinion from the above):

“DK’s closing keynote for Sandbox Summit at MIT had everyone standing on their feet and dancing. As usual, he struck just the right balance of intelligence, imagination, and inspiration.”
Wendy Smolen, Cofounder, Sandbox Summit

An another view of the end:

Please watch some of the other fantastic talks from the Sandbox Summit 2015 conference.

Related post: What Does It Mean? | The Role Of The Interpreter / see other talks

Narrative Podcasting | Learning Out Loud

different podcast types

Learning. Unlearning. Relearning.

I produced my first podcast nearly a decade ago. I went on to create over 150 more plus taught hundreds / thousands of others how to do it themselves via my social media courses / masterclasses.

Over the New Year break I spent some time unlearning what I know from this Alex Blumberg “Power Your Podcast with Storytelling” Creative Live course. Once you acclimatise to the nervous teaching style (sorry), there’s some fantastic gems for those who are new to this narrative style via Alex’s huge pedigree in this space (award-winning reporter and producer for This American Life and co-host of NPR’s Planet Money plus his new Startup podcast series).

As I’m highly kinaesthetic in my learning style I’ve been doing to learn.

Offered here with permission from Dennis Hodges (the interviewee) is my first attempt at narrative style podcasting:

 

Here’s what I learned:

  • have the story in mind before you start: sometimes other stories come out during an interview although having a story you want at least enables you to come out with something solid;
  • focus on one thing: you’ll hear from the outcome that I focussed on just the politicians eyes work. There was lots of other stuff we talked about which was equally as interesting, just this was something that was very different;
  • you have to be ruthless: we spoke for over 30mins and I got it down to just over 4mins which was hard work cutting out good stuff;
  • getting the interviewee to record their audio doesn’t always work: Dennis has a lot of audio hiss in the background which I tried for ages to clean up. Getting interviewees to record a sample in the future will help a lot (my audio could do with a rounder feel to it as well for which I’ll use my new mic in the future);
  • editing takes forever: seriously, ages!

I’m relearning the medium and upping my game for wysdem.com, and during my research I’ve noticed four types of podcasts:

  1. Soloing / Group—just one person or a group sharing ideas / insights / observations. Sometimes scripted, sometimes loose in its form. Sparse editing is employed and it’s the main model used by most video podcasters / vodcasters / vloggers as well;
  2. Interviews—simple one-to-one question and answer sessions. Medium investment in editing to ensure tidiness and the focus is very much on the interviewee and their offerings;
  3. Narrative—heavily edited and crafted. Emphasis is on the storytelling and clarity of theme / subject matter.

Each have their place although the latter is gaining more traction although it’s obviously the hardest to do well with it’s focus on crafting something the listener consumes as a cognitive or emotional journey.

So feel free to critique and offer ideas / guidance on the above.

It’s a first offering and an attempt to ‘learn out loud’ so approach with kindness which I’m sure you will. Thanks in advance.

Podcast music credit: Toivo161 via freesound.org
Thanks to @foomandoonian for suggesting the ‘group’ type.

VARK | How Others Learn To Better Teach / Inspire

vark explained

Understanding how we learn to better teach / inspire others into action.

For many years and until recently, I developed and delivered social media courses for a vast array of cross sector clients. Early on it was apparent that attendees learned and reacted to what we were sharing in different ways, which in turn broadened our delivery to accommodate these varying styles.

Some participants would literally run ahead of the pack clicking all the buttons and figuring it out on the fly, a fair few would need to take their time and consider the notes / outlines / examples given and move forward checking themselves as they go, whilst a few literally needed one-to-one careful tuition which meant lots of reinforcement and a higher intensity of care (which is why we always delivered in tandem).

The VARK model gives a great insight into how we all have biases towards specific stimuli and learning. It’s my go-to when describing or helping clients deconstruct their own delivery / content around teaching staff or inspiring others:

  • visual—they like to be shown not told, prefer illustrated examples and visual cues of achievement;
  • aural—this group prefers to listen and will be adept at converting spoken instruction into action;
  • read / write—these do best within the ‘traditional’ educational approach by devouring text and replicating the medium;
  • kinesthetic—the more action focussed party of people who love just getting their hands on tools and figuring it out through physical feedback cues.

If you’re involved in any kind of capability building or skill increasing activities check if your ‘teaching’ style is fluid enough to cater for all those who learn differently.

What is your learning / teaching style?

The Future Of Now | Designing Social

dowa session

“Let’s just forget about the future, And get on with the past” Sting

Imagine designing a classroom. A place for learning and the cultivation of curiosity.

Four walls. Ceiling and a floor. Some windows and a door. Other elements like power sockets, furniture, projector, whiteboards, light switches. Focus on that light switch. It could be a dimmer or maybe a couple of configurations laid out as buttons in a vertical line. It’s usually just on or off.

Replace it with a camera. Now with existing gestural technology and software the users of the room have the potential to wave their hand or hold up a certain amount of fingers to make it work.

What if the camera was ‘broken’. Left open for the students to decide how it will function and better still to learn how to programme to make it work. Maybe they replace it with a microphone as they want voice commands (and it changes to recognise different languages for what is being taught that day in class). Or the camera recognises colour which in turn light the room the same way.

Now, not only is the classroom designed as a place to learn but also a space to learn how to use.


‘The Future Of Now’ was the title of a talk / workshop developed and delivered to the wonderful souls at DOWA-IBI Group Architects, Portland, Oregon (during my stateside trip in July).

The above was a response I gave when one of the architects asked for a very specific application to some of the social media / technologies in their future designs.

The official line:

DK was engaging, informative and thoughtful. He challenged us to think differently. The take away was: what is has already become what was and we should consider what will be with the opportunities available today.

For a firm like us we welcome that challenge.
John Weekes, Co-Founder, DOWA-IBI Group Architects