Knowledge Building & Sharing: a paradigm shift

Everything is changing rapidly and “training”, in its broadest sense, is not far behind. The digital transformation is having a profound impact on the classic standard paradigms in relation to content, learning processes and related methods of delivery and use. But there is also an aspect of how learning things evolves and changes quickly until such things rapidly lose their meaning, validity and relevance. Last but not least, a change in individual behavior that is now reinforced and that sees us, more or less, as researchers and users of content, information, studies, in-depth analyses found on the web and that we select according to specific preferences and usefulness. In our business context this can mean eventually not being able to meet the real educational needs that the company and people require. Alongside this concern, there is also the firm belief in the enormous possibilities that this transformation promises and that we intend to make the most of.

It is, therefore, a real paradigm shift that gradually introduces new “organizational learning” paths that are able to leverage the self-learning potential of people and the use of online platforms in order to enable, through appropriate dedicated training initiatives, the knowledge sharing process for some specific topics. This will mix new methods together with more traditional training standards.

What we actually did was to find a group of fifteen colleagues (so-called “Teachers”) who wanted to focus on some previously identified issues. We then implemented actions to spread the knowledge they acquired for the benefit of a wider audience (the so-called “Learners”).

In this way, being a Teacher meant having to use uncommon time management skills as well as having to be helpful and able to transfer ideas and content in an easy to understand way and, above all, having a method. This is why we had a team of external consultants, experts in these areas, assist in the management of the project and of the people. Therefore, from the very beginning, the definition of Teacher immediately seemed limiting and not very respectful of the complexity of said role, which was actually fundamentally characterized by its ability to “ease” the creation of learning paths between peers, with the goal of defining real Project Plans whose intrinsic value was their immediate applicability to real contexts and to concrete business problems.

That’s how a “traditional” training project (although based on an innovative online content platform such as Coursera) was radically transformed into a more complex initiative where the people involved have been able to actively contribute to the development of ideas and plans, turning the initiative into a real “workshop”, something between training and individual development.

The creation of working groups involved people coming from different company roles and, in thus doing, facilitated the sharing of different experiences and different points of view on common problems. Furthermore, some teams had an international composition thanks to the participation of colleagues from foreign offices (Spain, France and Germany).

The project, therefore, had a precise deadline for its completion, which was perfectly respected by means of some precise milestones:

  1. Course usage
  2. Team kick off
  3. Specific project implementation
  4. Presentation to top managers and to the CEO

Specifically, in the first phase, the enablers received specific training sessions on the use of the platform, the online learning methods and knowledge transfer methods, as well as suggestions for the implementation of the project (e.g. expected deliverables).

The project got some very positive feedback from everyone involved, constituting a real success story both for Italtel and for the consulting company itself.

The company, considering the high level of commitment shown and the concrete results that were achieved, wanted to reward everyone who took part according to their level of contribution; therefore, the fifteen “enablers” were rewarded with an additional welfare credit (observing that which is currently provided in the contract), and everyone got a branded backpack.

This method proved to be successful as it at the same time allowed for the development of technical and managerial skills, the creation of interdisciplinary, cross-functional and transnational experiences and the realization of a real integration experience based on specific and shared objectives. In short, a true “Integration Lab” that will surely become, once appropriately configured, a lever by which to achieve the challenging cultural, organizational and business convergence between Italtel and Exprivia

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