We’re Learning, Too

We help people and organizations move ideas forward. We share what we’ve learned from experience and from the copious amounts of information we consume. But the truth is, we’re learning, too. We do our best to practice what we preach, and so we find ourselves iterating (a lot). We believe an organization must explore new ways of thinking and acting in order to survive — it’s the way to stay relevant in a time when business models expire overnight and consumers’ needs rapidly change.

In order to keep our programming as current as possible, our materials and curriculum are in a constant state of evolution. This is effective because this is how we remain relevant, but there is a tension between the need to evolve and the work it takes to execute on those changes. If you’ve ever run a program before, you know this is not easy.

As an example, when we decide to add an activity to one of our programs, the process looks something like this:

  • New idea emerges
  • Idea owner enrolls the rest of the team
  • Team ideates together to make the idea better
  • We assess our current means to find a designer, printer, etc. to create materials
  • A prototype of the new material goes around and around until it is signed off as final
  • Program lead identifies space in the run-of-show to place the new activity
  • Guides pressure-test the new activity by doing a run-through of the entire program

While seemingly exhaustive, the above list doesn’t even touch on the administrative work required, such as rewriting, printing, binding and archiving workbooks. This process is clunky at first, but if you do it as often as we do it becomes second-nature. Which brings us to our dilemma: We want to continue to evolve because it’s how organizations maintain their relevance. We are comfortable with pivoting, and after so many years of practice, our programming has become a well-oiled machine. But we need to maintain consistency and quality standards — not to mention our sanity.

Finding the balance between constant iteration and perennial programming is a journey we may always be on, but we will navigate our way through.

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Do this: Spend five minutes thinking through something you’re working on. How would you use the above process? What would you do differently?

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