Christian Kuhna
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Help us find the new way of working and learning

Help us find the new way of working and learning

A collaborative experiment by kicking off a ‘Blog Carnival’

We’ve seen a lot of change over the past years, not only with the popularity and influence of social networks and tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, etc. With new generations of employees coming in, we have also seen new approaches and trends emerging in the work place and society at large. For example, over 64% of our over 48,000 employees already belong to the so-called ‘Generation Y’, meaning born after 1981 (read more on this topic here).

With this, we are seeing new trends in collaboration, knowledge management and learning – in the way people work together, share their knowledge and experience, and also how people develop and learn. Read on to learn how you can help us to adapt to these new changes.

We, at the adidas Group, always try to embrace changing conditions. In order to attract the best talent and develop and retain the right people, we are looking into finding a new way of working – and, especially, a new way of learning. The overall goal is clear: to further achieve sustainable and superior results.

Our vision of a capabilities incubator

Corporate learning at the adidas GroupInspired by the Cluetrain Manifesto, open knowledge initiatives like TED conferences and open education movements like edX of MIT and Harvard University and others, we have decided to work on founding an adidas Group Corporate University. We want it to serve as a capabilities incubator to create innovative and engaging learning environments and solutions for present and future generations. It will enable our employees to achieve their personal best and set us apart from our competitors.

To this end, we believe we need to further and more drastically transform the company into a learning organisation by creating a culture of life-long, self-driven learning in a collaborative environment: an environment in which all employees equally teach and learn, and acquire knowledge and skills in a variety of ways to best suit present and future generations – “I LEARN, WE GROW”.

Let’s collaborate!

We are at the very beginning of founding such an adidas Group Corporate University, and it will take some time to achieve all of our goals. However, as a first step towards establishing this new way of working and new way of learning with an open and collaborative approach, we started last week by crowd-sourcing ideas internally with all our employees for the concept of a Corporate University.

We would now like to take this one step further and include as much external knowledge and experience as possible by inviting you, the readers of this blog, to share your opinions and link your thoughts on this topic by posting your comments and blogs in a so-called ‘Blog Carnival’.

How can you participate?

1. Comment on this blog post.

2. If you have your own blog, post an article or video with your personal statement on the New Way of Learning and link it to this article. Questions could be, amongst others?

  • What should a true Learning Organisation look like?
  • What is your vision of a Corporate University of the future
  • What are the challenges of corporate learning and how would you approach these?

3. With all comments and links, you can jump from blog to blog and thus participate in the virtual ‘Blog Carnival’.

In order to also allow for a regular and convenient conversation on the blog, and to make it easy to keep track of the shared links, we will highlight some of the contributions directly in the blog post.

Let’s celebrate ‘Blog Carnival’ now!

 

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  1. I say allow all teams to create cool “crowd sourcing” projects and give anybody in the organization the opportunity to solve them, build upon them and/or share innovative ideas around them, and then track these so everyone gets “learning credits” for their side projects which could be spent on more ways to learn. –Steve Fogarty

  2. Djuradj Caranovic
    May 30, 2012 11:55 am

    I strongly support the idea of founding, adidas Group Corporate University and i would like to get involved. Please can you give some contacts or the name of the person so i can help in. I have PhD in economics and already guest professor on two Universities.

    I LEARN, WE GROW

  3. What about building an internal “learning-social-platform” for all adidas employeers, more attractiv than the intranet and focus on learning and offering courses, further education, etc. people might share their own skills and offer workshops about self choosen topics, where people of all knowledge and experience might come together and share their ideas or learn from each other. people might get credits for offering and taking part in courses or other credits through their work. I think its important to have incentives to learn and that people recognize their benefit in their further everyday work by taking part in this educations.

    Furthermore there might be outstanding lecturers that give a lecture on topics or just share their spirit of something that might be a good input for the employees (sportsmen that faced a huge challenge and had success, businessmen that have special skills (social or business), people who had a severe illnes and survived, etc.).

  4. I had the great opportunity of visiting the Adidas HQ and gave an informal talk there sharing my experience with them on collaboration, culture and blended learning in the context of their planned launch of the Corporate Adidas University. We had a very stimulating exchange of ideas and I am fascinated with the visionary concept of introducing social, peer-to-peer based learning, both in person and online, and co-delivering it with targeted educational partners for value co-creation and synergistic integration.

    A great leap forward in applying service innovation to professional development.

    Eric Tsui
    Knowledge Management and Innovation Research Centre
    HKPolyU

  5. @Steve: You mention “learning credits” and I would agree that we need to work on how to make learning an integral part of work. This would make it easier to incentivize and reward participation. For this to take place we need to work on several aspects, as the author of this post says: “Our organizations are built on 19th century learning styles coupled by 20th century leadership models fused with 21st century technologies” http://socialenterprisetoday.com/blog/posts/future-of-work-add-open-leadership-enterprise-20-connected-learning-and-mix/

    @Djuradi: Thanks for reaching out to us. Christian Kuhna, the author of this blog post, would be the right person to talk to. We will contact you shortly.

    @Leon: The adidas Group is currently building a social Intranet which will aim to offer the kind of things that you are proposing. With a promise to help employees reach their personal best, a culture of learning and knowledge sharing is encouraged across the global organisation. The social intranet, will support this commitment, enabling employees to collaborate on projects, regardless of their geography or position. Open 24/7, the social intranet will reach the adidas Group global community at any time, giving employees access to workspaces when they want it and where they want it. Actually, the social intranet is the fore-runner of the Corporate University. It will provide employees with a new digital meeting place, to share information about themselves and to collaborate on projects in a digital environment that they have made their own.

  6. @Leon: in terms of “learning credits” we thin of using the concept of gamification by providing “Badges” to learnes (see the Mozialla Open Badges Approach https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges as an example). Does anyone have experience in implementing badges in formal/informal learning environments?

  7. Christian Kuhna
    May 30, 2012 2:51 pm

    @Djuradj Thanks a lot for your interest – let’s speak when I’m back next week! Thanks & best – Christian

  8. I’ve uploaded a 5-minute video about learning as a public act. I hope it’s helpful, and, more important, I hope you have an engaging, provocative event. http://youtu.be/irlZm-tsJRc

  9. What a graet idea: Adidas will hear what we think about a realy new Corporate University. My first thoughts (in german): http://khpape.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/adidas-sucht-offentlich-nach-konzept-ideen-fur-die-corporate-university/.

  10. I totally agree with Felix that learning should become an integral part of work. Often “learning” is associated with attending one-off trainings or development courses which for me, does not have a long term effect. I know in the past at Google, employees were free to sit in on meetings in a completely different department just to learn more and perhaps find some synergy – how cool would that be to be able to create such a learning environment?

  11. @Simon I love the idea of badges and gamification. This is a hot trend in the consumer space when you look at what is happening with apps like FourSquare. I’m curious if it would work in its same pure form inside an organization as it does outside. I see that people tend to behave online slightly differently internally versus externally. That being said, I do think if the badges had meaning and reward associated with it…could be as simple as being factored into a review..then this could be a powerful method of gaining participation.

  12. Günter Rauter
    May 30, 2012 9:32 pm

    Hello,

    I’m feeling very strong that this kind of motivation is the fuel for the engine of social Enterprise collaboration. The question for me is how to connect these kind of social voting of valuable informations with further functions for the voter. The vote is a public shown expression of finding some Information valuable or not. Like a DJ wants to entertain people – on the other side shows very deep which kind of music he likes or not. So the the act of voting needs to be rewarded by e.g. getting informed of further usage of the voted information.

  13. you should talk to someone like Teemu Arina. i did an interview with him on this subject, here in German translation:

    http://www.checkpoint-elearning.de/article/6428.html

    he has developed interesting concepts of “cloud company” and “cloudlearning” since then:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7367437/CloudCompany_TeemuArina.jpg

    a brilliant, higly professional and in fact world leading consultant firm to contact would be
    http://headshift.com (now part of Dachis Group).
    these people are pioneers and experts who know best about all things “enterprise 2.0″ and “social business”, and they have a learning branch too (in Australia).

    we at wissmuth.de do something similar, but many degrees smaller. in any case, we would strongly recommend using video (“YouTube for the Enterprise”) as a main pillar of a “blended” corporate university experience. i could provide you with some additional links to corporate video/learning-projects, if needed.

  14. Bram van Bokhoven
    May 31, 2012 12:41 pm

    Very good idea to start the Adidas Group Corporate University! In these economic times it is essential for a company to invest in training and keeping looking forward. The university founded by Adidas should be a good way to enhance this.

    Besides that I think it is key that the university is truelly integrated within the entire company, if it is not really integrated in the company employees will most likely find the gap to great to ‘jump in’ the new learning organization. Hence, when integrated, employees will see the learning part as more part of the job and will stand more positively towards it.

    Furthermore as part of the ‘Generation Y’ myself I see this as a sublime idea and would love to see the further outwork of this. Go Adidas!

    Bram van Bokhoven

  15. This sounds to be a great initiative. Some of the material below may be of interest. Please feel free to use and share it.
    ——————————
    RESOURCES
    ——————————
    WEBINAR
    I am running a webinar that focuses on some of the ‘new ways of working, new ways of learning’ issues that colleagues might like to join.
    http://www.brandonhall.com/events/webinars/categoryevents/1.html

    ARTICLES
    You can find a number of articles on my website that address the issue: http://www.duntroon.com/duntroon-articles-interviews.html and on my blog http://charles-jennings.blogspot.co.uk/

    PRESENTATIONS
    Also, there are a number of SlideShare presentations at http://www.slideshare.net/charlesjennings

    VIDEOS
    And YouTube videos:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6WX11iqmg0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkB0ECkXd_U
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8baCHQw-20&list=UUee86CV5vr7Z7Qzs0z0KR5w&index=9&feature=plcp
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHnzwYG82Kc&list=UUee86CV5vr7Z7Qzs0z0KR5w&index=4&feature=plcp

    WHITEPAPERS
    A 60-page whitepaper on the 70:20:10 Framework is downloadable from my website home page http://www.duntroon.com/

  16. SOS – Social Operating System?

    How does the new way of learning merge with the new way of working in an Enterprise 2.0 one might ask. The Social Operating System is one way of describing a possible scenario. So, what is social about an Operating System?

    “The essential ingredient of next generation social networking, social operating systems, is that they will base the organization of the network around people, rather than around content. This simple conceptual shift promises profound implications for the academy, and for the ways in which we think about knowledge and learning. Social operating systems will support whole new categories of applications that weave through the implicit connections and clues we leave everywhere as we go about our lives, and use them to organize our work and our thinking around the people we know.” Eric Schnell, Associate Professor at the Ohio State University.

    Read more about this topic here http://bit.ly/qZPxVK

  17. [...] interesting challenge on their blog. The company wants to start a corporate university and asks for help. Here are my questions and [...]

  18. When I talk to clients, I always ask: Why do you want your employees to learn? What does your company want to achieve. The same for Adidas corporate university: Why do you need a university?

    Read more here: http://wp.me/paugE-hp

  19. [...] Das Unternehmen sucht öffentlich nach Konzepten für eine Corporate University: Help us find the new way of working and learning. Die Initiative ist auch eine Antwort auf die Tatsache, dass mehr als 64% der Mitarbeiter nach 1981 [...]

  20. [...] post is in response to the Adidas Blog Carnival on a New Way of Working and Learning and more specifically responding to the question, “What should a true learning organisation [...]

  21. Andreas Mueller
    May 31, 2012 9:16 pm

    What a kick start!

    First of all, congratulations to your initiative, this seems to be an exciting experiment to co-develop an environment for adidas to live in. Thanks to khpape to post it in a xing forum, and thanks to the contributions so far: I learned a lot.

    I have not spent too much time on an own blog while setting up two corporate universities in the last decade, so here are some thoughts without links:

    Learning is communication and learning is by people. As we even cannot avoid learning as such, it is more a question of how we want to learn and what we want to learn.

    I agree with Claudia and Bram: At some point in time, adidas has to decide, how to design its organizational learning – and I am impressed that you are open for an exchange in this early stage! The way you will set up your corporate university should be linked very closely to your businesses.

    A corporate university, especially when being started, has strong sponsors. The huge challenge is to keep the spirit of the early days, and to incorporate it into the adidas culture.

    What is it about in your incubator: Customer Co-creation of products and services? Viral marketing? Online clinics? Pre-sensing societal debates? Is it a fancy e-learning utility, or a training 2.0 solution? How far do you want to go: the corporate jester who may and must articulate all toxic assumptions?

    How do you want to structure learning? By brand? By business lines? By crowd? Is it happening mainly online as a process? Is there a building to sustain discussions and to meet face-to-face?

    Briefly, there are two questions that all your capability incubation must have an answer for: what’s in it for the individual, and what’s in it for the organization?

    Full of curiosity, I look forward to a vivid discussion here and at adidas inside.

  22. [...] We would now like to take this one step further and include as much external knowledge and experience as possible by inviting you, the readers of this blog, to share your opinions and link your thoughts on this topic by posting your comments and blogs in a so-called ‘Blog Carnival’.” Christian Kuhna, adidas Group blog, 29. Mai 2012 [...]

  23. I am really glad to hear that something like Social Intranet is being built, and I hope it goes live soon. One great idea about setting up a corporate university was done by Dell in social media, educating and empowering its own employees on how to interact with customers online, so something like that should be achievable.

    I see time constraints as the main possible engagement issue. Although many of us want to learn and collaborate, the fact of the matter is that you don’t have much time to deliver what you are asked within your own responsibilities from time to time.Therefore, I believe that many people will be turned off by the idea unless they are motivated by their managers to actually do so. In a way, it’s creating the culture from the top down that I see as the most importnat point fo creating a successful learning environment. Whether this is in a form of intranet 2.0, or a university is a matter of resources and capabilities.

    Great initiative!

  24. I talk a lot about the future of workplace learning in my Learning in the Social Workplace Blog http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/

    Here are some recent postings you might find of interest

    - Only 14% think that company training is an essential way for them to learn in the workplace: http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/04/16/only-12-think-that-company-training-is-an-essential-way-for-them-to-learn-in-the-workplace/
    - Is it time for a BYOL (Bring Your Own Learning) strategy in your organization? #BYOL – http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/04/20/is-it-time-for-a-byol-bring-your-own-learning-strategy-in-your-organization-byol/
    - The key to informal learning is autonomy – http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/04/27/the-key-to-informal-learning-is-autonomy/
    - Survey shows people take training as infrequently as they go to a conference; but they learn continuously in other ways – http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/05/14/survey-shows/
    - Overcoming the Course and Control mindset hurdles – http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/05/20/overcoming-the-course-and-control-mindset-hurdles/

  25. I am in love with adidas, fits perfect to my sport and casual style. Since I am not sure about the quality in my country I shop directly from the official adidas online store and using buynowfromusa.com to deliver the goods to my door.

  26. Congrats and starting a journey to something so innovative. I included some of my own thoughts on my blog here: http://choosing2swim.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/this-could-be-the-start-of-something-big/

  27. How refreshing it is to see a sports brand like Adidas put learning in the center if their Culture.  I wear Adidas and I work in the Learning Domain- nice to see we now have two reasons and ways to connect –

    I can only imagine when the entreprise becomes social , internally linked to the external (emolyees to clients) and instead of linking with  ”vendors” , we can turn to athletes for learning and them learn from us…

    Collaboration (knowledge sharing ) cycles among the three communities  will be very rewarding to many… Role modeling ( social learning ) will be healthy and very meaningful too…experience  and skill sharing will help tons if folks for many various reasons 

    This change in perspective is deep however — In order for this ” shift in work/learning habits” to happen, the practice of a modern leadership philosophy needs to not only be visible in adidas, but be a dominant practice - 

    Learning is everywhere and for everyone - 
     

  28. What a great idea on the part of adidas to use this technology and network to further their corporate goals.
    For the field of leadership (meaning in a narrow sense: leading of people; not: management) I am however highly sceptical that either technology nor network is of any substantial help.
    My logic goes like this: in leading people effectively and responsibly you need to enter into this human interrelationship as a person (i.e. not with any technique, but your full personality). In increasing your effectiveness as a leader, we are then not talking about “learning” but about “developing” your personality. This development in my experience takes best place in the direct interaction with a small group of people for a period of time (max. 6 people, 3 days, follow-up after 4 months, feedback, dialogue, etc.). Good old fashioned stuff…C. Rogers, Socrates, Bohm, Isaacs, et al..
    For the past years these interventions have been ranked top by executives at globally operating corporations in terms of relevance to their business objectives, transfer and sustainability of the development intervention. At the end of the day my observation is that technology has certainly changed these past years, however, man has not. At least not in a fundamental way, as I am referring to here: of man as a social animal – e.g. our he need for relationship, orientation, self-esteem, etc. Is this far off a current consensus?

  29. [...] Dave’s video is his contribution to the Adidas blog carnival on a new way of working and learning. [...]

  30. @David and @Eric:

    I like David’s idea of “public learning” very much! Today the whole learning process takes place in a walled garden. The learning ressources are only provided to those who enrolled and the learnings and AHAs stay inside the classroom. So opening this up can bring a great benefit to learners, teachers and the entire organization. This is also what came into my mind when Eric talked two weeks ago about “Personal Learning Environments & Networks” (PLE&N). In contrast to “just” PLEs the learners are connected to the teacher, to each other and to the outside world (e.g. via Google Reader and Google+).

    For the corporate university concept this means that we have to think of the adias social intranet as providing personal learning environments and networks to all employees. The PLE is just the other side of the medal called social intranet. This could mean to use the company wiki for long term knowledge retention, the weblogs as e-portfolios, the sharepoint teamrooms for learning communities, the profiles for yellow paging etc.

  31. [...] post is in response to the Adidas Blog Carnival on a New Way of Working and Learning and more specifically responding to the question, “What should a true learning organisation look [...]

  32. On May 23 I was invited to present at the Dachis Social Business Summit in Berlin. Instead of doing the typical company and product slides I decided to talk about how I am using Social Software in my daily work and how it makes my life much easier and more productive.

    My presentation is here on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/Stefan63/living-social-social-business-as-marketer-within-ibm

    For those who like it more verbal, here are 3 blog entries describing some of the use cases:

    http://digitalnaiv.com/en-a-day-in-the-life-of-an-ibm-marketer-manag
    http://digitalnaiv.com/en-a-day-in-the-life-of-an-ibm-marketer-on-my
    http://digitalnaiv.com/en-a-day-in-the-life-of-an-ibm-marketer-the-p

    Hope you will find this useful, although these are of course use cases in a B2B environment.

  33. Recent reseach in Neuroscience herlads a new frontier of human understanding. We used to think our brains stopped growing and learning at a certain age, now we know the brain continues to develop throughout our lives.We have the capacity to learn throughout all stages of our lives.In fact, recent reseach claims our creativity can increase as we get older. The implications are huge. Firstly, learning should not be restricted to schools. Learning is a life long pursuit and the organisations we spend so much our our lives in must become learning enviroments. The leaders of organisatons must wake up to this new paradigm shift in human development. The left-brain (rational) dominated leadership style of the last 200 years will not suffice. A key role of a corporate university is to readdress the balance and develop leaders who are fit to lead this new world order.

  34. I addressed your first question in a recent blog post. See: http://stephenjgill.typepad.com/performance_improvement_b/2012/05/learning-organization-is-culture-processes-and-leadership.html

    If you truly want to create a culture of learning in which all employees contribute to ongoing teaching and learning, don’t create a “corporate university”…at least not the traditional notion of a corporate university. These have been centralized, classroom-focused units modeled after the classical idea of an academy. They are antithetical to what you say you want to achieve.

    The challenge is to create a culture in which learning is highly valued, information is openly shared, risk-taking is encouraged and failure is seen as opportunity for learning, employees are encouraged to take time to reflect on what they are learning, and leaders are models of continuous learning and application of new knowledge.

  35. @Jane: Thank you for providing the list of interesing links. I also like your new blogpost about the continuum between formal and informal learning at http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/06/04/supporting-the-social-workplace-learning-continuum. It supports our idea that the corporate university should not only provide classroom training but also social learning in communities and self-driven learning in a personal learning environment. We think of making the social intranet a part of the university as well as a learning management system.

  36. Many interesting ideas and aspects … The question is how to take these little pieces and develop a concept for a corporate learning university?

    Two theses to be considered:

    Learning at adidas is not intended to be for its own sake but it is business driven.
    Learning is based on (intrinsic) motivation.

    Before you start setting up learning initiatives and a technical environment it is essential to operationalize objectives and to identify the learning needs of your employees . What does an employee need to know and to learn to “achieve his/her personal best and set adidas apart from its competitors”?

    Start with one area/organization within adidas and answer the following questions (top down). Guideline is your vision of adidas and the overall goal described in the intro.

    1. Which business objectives should be supported by a learning initiative?
    2. Which knowledge has to be provided to achieve these objectives?
    3. How can this knowledge be delivered (including methodical, technical, organizational and cultural aspects)?

    The results will enable you to design a learning environment for this specific area/organization which can serve as a pilot. You can try out different tools & methods and find out which fit best with your company. Additionally, you will get a better understanding of your learning culture and be able to derive further meassures if necessary. Gain experiences, optimize your solution and extend it to a corporate university.

    Conclusion: The main challenges of corporate learning are
    (1) to link learning directly to the business goals and
    (2) to motivate people to use and contribute to learning initiatives by providing personal benefits.

    Quite banal findings and a common approach – just wanted to remind of them as they serve as a basis for all the interesting and innovative learning scenarios.

  37. Thank you very much for your initiative. Looks like we are not the only visionaries here in Dresden, bringing together art, science, and technology together in a collaborative learning place to startup team entrepreneurship with LockSchuppen.

    We would be glad to get in contact direct to discuss possible collaboration (at my former university, HTW Dresden, which now celebrates its 20 year existence, collaboration with ADIDAS is already happening at Prof. Wacker’s department)

  38. One of the great challenges for corporate learning is how to get the right balance of formal and informal learning and ensure you deliver information and support collaboration via the most appropriate channels (e-learning, game-based learning, face-to-face, virtual classrooms, mobile, video, social media etc) for both the audience and the subject matter. Brightwave uses the eMosaics concept to describe the optimum blend of learning opportunities organisations require to foster a culture of continuous learning and performance improvement. So I think you’ll find the following green paper and blog posts are useful for your work with the Adidas Corporate University, which sounds like a great, forward-thinking initiative, by the way. Good luck with it all!

    http://www.brightwave.co.uk/practical-guides/e-mosaics-agile-learning-for-the-workplace-in-2012
    http://www.brightwave.co.uk/blog/e-mosaics-agile-learning-for-the-workplace
    http://www.brightwave.co.uk/articles-and-latest-thinking/evolving-content-strategies-part-1-the-shift-from-course-to-resource

  39. Today is the last (official) day of this blog carnival. As announced we will start to evaluate all the inputs tomorrow and begin to finalize the concept that has to be delivered soon. Anyway since this is a blog post it will be available forever so if you have further comments or ideas feel free to post them here.

    We would like to thank all the 24 experts and contributors (Steve Fogarty, Djuradj Caranovic, Leon Vince, Eric Tsui, David Weinberger, Karlheinz Pape, Vicky Ng, Guenther Rauter, Bram van Bokhoven, Charles Jennings, Claudia Musekamp, Harold Jarche, Andreas Mueller, Vladimir, Jane Hart, Ashley R, Ralph, John Kayser, Eugene Hughes, Stephen J. Gill, Stefan Pfeiffer, Jeanette Langenbach, Ralf Lippold, Alex Reeve) for their valuable input! When the concept is finished we will post information about which input made it into the final concept. We would also like to send some special thanks to Jochen Robes from http://www.weiterbildungsblog.de since he helped us to create and run this BlogCarnival. Corporate learning community: party on!

  40. Rüdiger Kortmann
    June 12, 2012 7:10 pm

    I tend to agree with Stephen, the notion of a corporate university might be counter-intuitive for what you try to accomplish. You will certainly need a number of “enablers” (people) and also some technical infrastructure but since you want to be really innovative in the learning space, you should also consider innovative organizational designs (e.g. charter business leaders to devote 30% of their time to this in the next 12 months; rotational assignments rather than full time professionals; …).
    One more thought on motivation, incentive, reward and alike for learning. I would question that you need that. Human beings have a natural attitude to learn – every day, from friends, reading books, newspapers, watching TV, going to YouTube, …; we all do it every day in things which are interesting for us. So rather than thinking about incentives, make sure the jobs of people are interesting (maybe challenging in a way?) for them and provide opportunities for career development – things which don’t fall in the camp of an “ordinary” corporate university, so make sure you create the right environment and eco-system as well.

  41. @Rüdiger, @Stephen I am not sure if the term “university” is the problem. I think we need to redefine it for the knowledge society. Yes, in the past you graduated from the university and then you used that knowledge to work with. Today lifelojg learning is the paradigm so every knowledge worker has to be his “personal university” (seeme.g. Peter Druckers paper on his life as a knowledge worker http://www.inc.com/magazine/19970201/1169.html) and enterprises can to support that by a corporate university.

  42. Hello folks! I guess that better late than never, right? Felix invited me to participate on this Blog Carnival a few days back and now that business travelling seems to have settled down a bit, here’s my take on how Social & Informal Learning is helping redefine the workplace of the future by empowering knowledge workers become much more autonomous, in control of their workflows and understanding that learning is work, work is learning, with everything else that entails. Here’s the blog post I put together earlier on today on the topic: “Redefine the Workplace of the Future with Social Learning“.

    Thanks much, Félix, for the invitation and time now to dive into the rest of the conversations! Some really good insights over here! Thanks a lot everyone for sharing your thoughts, experiences and know-how so generously! Greatly appreciated!

  43. How Does Learning & Talent Development Need To Change For The 2020 Workplace?

    I have often heard senior learning executives say: If Millennials continue to be a large percentage of our workforce, how must our learning department change? What they are really asking is how can their learning department incorporate to the same features that make engaging in social sites so much fun like: commenting, rating, tagging, using rich media, building and editing your profile, reading the activity streams of your friends, and being a part of relevant online communities that you care about.
    When we think about the changes we have experienced in our personal lives, the statistics are daunting:

    * By the year 2020, Millennials will be at least 50% of the workplace and brining their digital expectations with them!
    * At the end of 2011, the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs sold. (Business Insider)
    * By 2016, there will be 375 million tablets purchased globally—a 46% compound annual growth rate. (Forrester)
    * As of today, 29% of all USA households have either a Tablet or an eReader – (Morgan Stanley Research)
    * 40% of Learning & Development executives plan to incorporate Tablets into their learning & development offerings by 2015 (Future Workplace as profiled in ASTD Magazine)

    Facilitating this shift in the corporate world is a new trend seen across large, small and mid sized firms: “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) According to a global survey by Accenture of more than 5,000 Millennials (born between 1977 and 2000) one out of two are requesting to bring their own device to the workplace a trend known as BYOD. They cite the following reasons:

    * Blurring of lines between work and persona lives
    * The ability to work on an extended schedule , when and where they want;
    * The desire to use their own tablet device to increase personal productivity

    These trends translate to a new agenda for corporate learning one that will increasingly focus on the following principles:

    SOCIAL: Insist on creating ways for learning to be part of a social experience;
    MOBILE: Integrate mobile devices into formal and informal learning;
    COLLABORATIVE: Create opportunities for learning to happen naturally in groups
    PEER GENERATED: Use social tools to enable learners to easily share their own content, videos, and more..
    OPEN: Leverage open source content found on Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, and Open Culture offering free online courses from leading universities.

    But the question for many learning leaders is how to do this? Future Workplace has created an eight-step model embedded in a Prezi presentation called Implementing Social Learning.

    You can go directly to the link to view this Prezi at:
    http://prezi.com/k_8vf_62286p/implementing-social-learning-in-your-organization/?auth_key=03dfd3ed9de3bee1b22b9cf6d8adaebb0a261694

  44. @elsus

    Dear Luis, thanks for bringing in Charles’ presentation that I didn’t know before. I especially like slide 18 which is pretty much the core of the current concept and the reason why the corporate university infrastructure is not a learning management system (LMS) alone but also the social intranet that supports informal and social learning. I think one key is the smart combination of both (e.g. workers that took a project management training (in the classroom) get a hashtag to microblog about their experiences and questions, find a mentor via the social network and become part of the project management community of practice. Lessons learned derived in the community get fed back to the formal training curriculum to keep it close to the business needs and up to date.

  45. Hi @Simon, glad you have found the blog post and the reference link to Charles’ work rather helpful. It surely is quite an inspiration, and I think you have just hit the nail on the head on what I think is the key towards redesigning a new wave of embedded learning at the workplace, which is basically have a combination of both formal and informal work hand in hand, perhaps with the focus initially on the informal, social learning, but without neglecting the formal one either, since they can complement each other quite nicely. Eventually, striking that balance between the two, with social learning as the key driver is going to be key and glad you folks are looking into that magic combination to make it work! Way cool!! Thanks much for the opportunity to participate on the Blog Carnival. Enjoying it quite a bit!

  46. Simon, Louis – I’m pleased you found the ’8 Reasons to Focus on Informal & Social Learning’ slide deck useful.

    http://www.slideshare.net/charlesjennings/8-reasons-to-focus-on-informal-social-learning

    I agree with you, Simon, slide 18 is one of the most important – highlighting the transition from learning being separate from work, through learning enabling work, and finally to learning and work being integrated processes. I have no doubt ‘Workscapes’ are the future.

    I’m sure we all know that a major element in the learning process is Context. It is extremely difficult to learn without context. Research going back to Herman Ebbinghaus’ publications in 1885 tells us that fact (Ebbinghaus’ work was all about how quickly people forget without context). I am convinced this is the reason why the training for large-scale implementations and upgrades of enterprise systems – new financial, HRM, or CRM systems particularly – is often sub-optimal and a waste of time, effort and money for the learning professionals, ‘learners’ and organisation as a whole.

    In these situations people are trained on systems before they get to use them in earnest – often weeks beforehand.. There’s no context in the learning process, so people learn very little. It’s not surprising. Even if simulations or ‘training servers’ are used they rarely replicate the exact situation users will face when they sit down to complete the first expenses submission into a new Finance system, or enter pipeline data into a new CRM system. Subsequently, when we’re faced with using the systems, tools and processes a basic human response is not to get the training manual down from the shelf, but to ask someone close by who may have used it, or call the Help Desk.

    We have been witnessing these situations and outcomes over and over again for many years, yet people still push the ‘away from work’ approach. As the Aldous Huxley (the author of ‘Brave New World’) once said “I see the best, but it is the worst I pursue”.

    Of course the answer isn’t always ‘informal’, on-the-job or social. In some situations (such as engendering major attitude change or where the benefit of bringing people together is absolutely clear) of course the ‘formal’ approach is best. The challenge we are faced with is differentiating which approach is best for each circumstance.

  47. Hi @Charles! Thanks for noticing the blog post and the conversations! Delighted to have you over here as well adding your thoughts, experiences and know-how. I think you have hit the nail on the head as well for one of the larger issues not just with Learning, but with Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration in general: Context!

    I think far too often we keep ignoring it or neglecting it, thinking that it will eventually show up as part of the equation, when we know it won’t. Yet, it’s an essential key element not only from Social Learning, but also from collaboration and I would go one step further to indicate that without that context in place it’s rather tough to get work done. That’s why, apart from being a big fan of social, informal, embedded learning into the day to day workflows, we also need to ensure that the right context is set up to help facilitate those learning activities, also even for collaboration and knowledge sharing. Without it we would be pretty much lost, imo.

  48. Thanks for joining this blog carnival, Luis!

    An open (corporate) university needs to be embedded in a vision for a social enterprise (Enterprise 2.0) as it is both a direct outcome and a facilitator on our way to transform into an advanced organizational system. So, having the “Enterprise 2.0” Hippie sharing his opinion with us is a great way to get this message across.

    I want to take the opportunity and share a fantastic blog post by one of my favourite Enterprise 2.0 evangelists JP Rangaswami on his blog confused of Calcutta. It’s called “Doing by learning” http://confusedofcalcutta.com/2012/06/14/doing-by-learning/ .

    As he says, “We used to live in a world where what you’d learnt could be stored, canned, repeated at will, “scaled”. That was the world that Hagel, Seely Brown and Davison described as based on “experience curves”, where past experience could be used to control markets. But they describe the post-Big-Shift world differently, as one based on collaboration curves, where value is created by making the company better at learning.”

    He continues drawing the connection to the social enterprise by explaining: Learning is about flows, not stocks!

    “Flows are part of networks, not hierarchies. Places where network effects can be obtained, where increasing-returns models can be seen to apply. The core of the Social Enterprise is in the network, the connectivity, the connections. Connections that extend beyond the enterprise, into the supply chain, through the distribution networks, all the way to the customers and the products. Networks across which conversations flow, cutting across the silos of the organisation, straddling the boundaries, allowing the tacit knowledge at the edge to be exposed.”

    In the context of the Social Enterprise, he states (and further explains in his blogpost)

    Social Enterprise flows are about surfacing tacit knowledge
    Social Enterprise flows are persisted
    Social Enterprise flows contain rich metadata
    Social Enterprise flows are participative
    Social Enterprise flows are about publish-subscribe

    So, what happens in flows?

    “People ask questions, and share answers. They share learning. They observe, and share observations, provide feedback. They list and rank and rate, and share their valuations. They inspect and correct and share the corrections. They represent different points of view, they challenge, they debate. And they share their reasoning.

    People move information around. And share their perceptions and views and valuations and ratings about that information.

    People learn, and continue to learn. They do this at speed, adapting to internal as well as external stimuli.”

  49. Hi @Félix! Thanks much for following up and for the OUTSTANDING feedback! Whoaahhh! I read JP’s blog post earlier on this morning and it’s an absolute must-read! Brilliant piece of work and glad you selected a good number of very accurate quotes for this Blog Carnival’s theme on Learning. I couldn’t have agreed more with the whole concept about how knowledge flows allowing for learning to happen while on a work context. It’s one of those things that makes me giggle a little bit, because back when Knowledge Management was put together, over 18 years ago, and all along since then there has been this association that Knowledge & Learning walk side by side and this is something that I just couldn’t have agreed more with! It’s no longer about managing that knowledge, but allowing it to flow to help folks understand how they need to take charge of their own learning while getting the job done! I got a bunch of funny looks back in the day when I used to tell folks I worked for a team called Learning & Knowledge that, instead of focusing on IC & hard Assets, was focusing more on knowledge flows, tacit knowledge exchanges, collaboration, knowledge sharing, for the sake of helping knowledge workers learn further along based on a specific context. It’s amazing that 10 to 12 years onwards we weren’t much further off from envisioning the transformation that Social Learning is inspiring in today’s corporate world! W00t!! :)

  50. [...] post is in response to the Adidas Blog Carnival on a New Way of Working and Learning and more specifically responding to the question, “What should a true learning organisation look [...]

  51. Great idea! We at Scout24 are more than happy to join in! On our Corporate Blog I wrote about my ideas how organizations can continue to develop and benefit from their employees’ ideas. Furthermore I give examples how it works at Scout24.

    Bests, Paul

    German Version: http://blog.scout24.com/2012/06/lernen-im-unternehmen-ein-kulturthema/
    English Version: http://blog.scout24.com/2012/06/corporate-learning-a-cultural-topic/

  52. I guess now I can find an explanation of WHY my order was shipped to another city.
    And after I contacted customer service by e-mail, I got absolutely irrelevant answer.
    And then I got no response at all!
    I still didn’t get my order (from Adidas online shop) and start to loose hope.
    Well, probably it’s because of your generation Y.
    Thanks for explanation!

  53. [...] "…We, at the adidas Group, always try to embrace changing conditions. In order to attract the best talent and develop and retain the right people, we are looking into finding a new way of working – and, especially, a new way of learning. The overall goal is clear: to further achieve sustainable and superior results…"  [...]

  54. Dear Adidas Team, I find your Group Corporate University approach is a really cool idea! I agree, that gamification (badges,…) is a very good motivational feature, your learning approach should have in future. Furthermore I think your approach will be most successful, if you go mobile with your learning. Without mobile, it will get much harder to reach the majority of your employees – Generation Y!! Future learning must be accessible from everywhere and at anytime. I can offer you an approach to make this possible. If you are interested, I would appreciate if you’ contact me.

  55. [...] post is in response to the Adidas Blog Carnival on a New Way of Working and Learning and more specifically responding to the question, “What should a true learning organisation look [...]

  56. The term „learning organization“ in a web 2.0 environment offers new possibilities for a globally evolved business like adidas to transform the company into a learning organization. This can be achieved by creating a culture of life-long, self-driven learning in a collaborative environment: an environment in which all employees equally teach and learn, and acquire knowledge and skills in a variety of ways to best suit present and future generations.
    By using web 2.0 technologies, how should a platform look like to meet all the goals stated above?
    For sure the usage of for example a social media platform has to be intuitive and very easy to understand, hence user friendliness is a key feature it must have to make the transition for the user as easy and convenient as possible to a new system/technology. Similar to „facebook“ there could be „profiles“ for each employee, again it should be simple to adapt the settings to the personal needs of the employee. If an employee is confronted with a new task and searches for help, he or she should be able to open up a „group“ to start a discussion.
    Companies also often have redundant information, meaning a problem arises in one department that has been solved by a different department months earlier; by using the platform and discussing the problem globally one would find solutions much faster and efficient ( the same work is not done a couple of times but only once). By improving the search function of the platform people could also use keywords to find important topics that might help them in their decision making process. This interaction could be enhanced by a „working-in-real-time“ option. Projects would not have to be send via email (takes a long time: read-edit-send back- read-edit,…) or intranet but people could equally work on presentations or papers without having to meet physically at the same time. To not loose the connection between employees the platform has to offer video-conference calling options to keep the possibility of discussions and learning experiences.
    Being able to comment on blogs and being able to like or dislike posts employees would feel as a greater part of the company and its decision making process. This would increase motivation especially if employees can comment on higher management decisions.
    It is also important not only to access the platform on regular working PCs but as well on the workers tablets and mobile devices to stay tuned no matter where they are. Hence, people do not have to be bound to their workplace physically but can choose to work either from home or somewhere else ( this would most likely increase workers satisfaction immensely).
    A new social platform might help new employees to get in contact with others more easily through separate chats or different interest groups.
    Not only new employees but also already integrated employees need to learn constantly to help the organization improve. A new social platform could target especially learning issues not only using traditional training seminars but through e-learning and games ( for example: to improve soft skills and management skills in a game where decisions can be made without the fear of making a mistake in the real world).
    To encourage self-learning the company could also offer access to a virtual library to support the other measures.
    To cover the terminology of the university, the company should think about creating a network with influential business schools (such as MIT, Harvard, Oxford,…) to stay up to date to latest research and methods of learning.
    But how can a company successful implement such a new technology? What exactly are the challenges adidas would most likely have to address?
    New technologies are always viewed very critically in a company. Workers are absorbed with day-to-day business and usually do not see the point in investing time in new technologies. That is the reason why „change“ in companies has a hight probability to fail.
    The new platform will be put out from the top-management, hence we have a top-down approach, workers could feel scared and overpowered by just implementing it from one day to another. Change takes time, hence it is recommended to use core business function users as early adopters. This small group of people will try and improve the system and spread the word about it. „ Word of Mouth“ could be a key concept to make people want to know about it, so using a pull rather than a push system/approach.
    It is also important to have early adopters not only in the middle management but throughout the hierarchy, to have them act as role-models. This is very important since most likely the generation X will not have too much motivation to adapt to new technologies but if they see somebody from the top management who is their age or even older use it that might convince them to join in and not feel reluctant or aggressive against the change.
    Starting small e-learning groups that exactly tackle the problem of „how to use the platform effectively“ will also motivate people and takes away the fear of using a new technology.
    Of course this platform will on the long run change the companies culture to a more democratic workplace using 2-way communication but still this has to be encouraged in the beginning. The company should think about a reward system to have an internal promotion if workers are willing to comment or blog or open up discussions.It is important to stress the benefits of the platform in the early stages of the change to make sure they out-weight negative feelings about the new technology.
    Adidas also has to be aware that every change (in the short-term) causes a „shock curve“ in its employees behavior. There will be a loss of performance in the intermediate stages of the process but on the long- term there will definitely be an increase to a higher level.
    But what happens if a top-manager posts a discussion on a Saturday night? How will employees react upon that? They definitely will feel pushed to work as well on the weekends, since the top-managers have a role-model function. This will cause major riots for sure. To navigate around such problems a company must agree on a specific code of conduct and also policies on exactly when and how to use the platform.
    But what happens if the Saturday night post is already online and employees are threatened and post „sarcastic“ rather than productive comments. How does the management and the company react properly do not cause a „shit-storm“ or a riot/protest of some sort? The company should react very diplomatic to ease the situation but this will not be easy. Hence it will be better to be aware of possibly arising troubles before, to be able to have a proper solution at hand.
    If the implementation was successful how can adidas now keep the spirit up and still encourage workers to self-organize their learning habits and be involved by posting and commenting using the platform. Again theories have been developed to help organizations understand the principal use of a platform such as the „90-9-1“-Principle or the Forrester ladder. Both target at participation inequalities not only on regular platforms but especially for enterprise platforms (apply for both). Both theories state that the majority of platform users will be „lurkers“ who will not post, comment or like but only look at the content (around 90%). Around 9% will be intermittent contributors who post or comment irregularly, but only 1% of the company will be considered heavy contributors. Since the blogs, comments, etc will most of the time will be done by only 1% of the company it will not be representative for the entire community. The management has to be aware of that as well of the fact that they can not expect every employee to interact in an internal social network.
    The implementation of the new social network will have major influences not only on the short term but especially on the long-term development of adidas.
    By encouraging a culture of life-long, self-driven learning in a collaborative environment, adidas will eventually change the traditional approach of traditional learning assessments to a more flexible and more efficient way. The workplace will not be as hierarchically structured anymore, because the different hierarchical levels will interact more and develop a more democratic approach to solutions. What initially started out as a top-down approach might end up as an bottom-up incentive. The implementation could encourage also proactive behavior of the employees by motivating not only extrinsically but also intrinsically (the strategy of rather having pull factors than push factors).
    If people adapted well to the new system the company could also consider to open up part of discussion rounds to the public. For example if a new design is approved by the market researchers but has not been tested on the real market, adidas could use the network in a separate space to have employees and customers interact. Again one has to put certain guidelines on how to address customers and write responses properly that they do more good than harm!
    To sum it up, the new social platform offers a variety of possibilities but also challenges. In the long-term, I am sure a successful implementation will serve adidas as a major asset to keep being competitive in the market by reducing costs, increasing efficiency and having highly skilled and motivated employees in a learning environment.

  57. Hi,

    I have been referred to read this post by Professor Andrea Back, St. Gallen University, for the module “Seminars in Advanced Management: Management in the Digital Economy”. Here are my thoughts in response to the post:

    Introduction: Moving from Web 1.0 to 2.0

    The bursting of the dot com bubble in 2001, marked a turning point for the web. This saw a turn from what we knew as a “static” Web 1.0, to Web 2.0 – one that is interactive, engaging and always on the go.

    Web 2.0 was defined by O’Reily in his article “What is Web 2.0: Design, Patterns, and Business Models in the next design of Software”, as “a set of economic, social, and technology trends that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet—a more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects.”

    This Web 2.0 has become so pervasive into the lives of humans, that it has become hard to tell the difference between an online and offline self. Such is reflected in an article in the Economist “The new local” which discusses the intertwining physical and digital world. (See: http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21564992-physical-and-digital-world-are-becoming-increasingly-intertwined-new-local) People like us, in this day and age, do not go in search of libraries and books now, for the abundance of information can be found on the web at ease (and that too, with a click of the button instead of walking down isles in the library, finding the book and then looking for the page!).

    This is not just applicable to individuals. Companies and organizations have hopped onto the bandwagon of this Web 2.0, and are making the best use of this platform. The failure to do so would mean that the organization is out of the ‘rat race’ and is left behind. It would also be good to note that the use or, the integration of the internet/web in the workplace has placed itself as a “global mega trend” 2011 thus leading to successful companies.

    As such, I would agree that on a macro scale, the step towards a Global Corporate University by Adidas, is indeed, the right move.

    Web 2.0 and the Gen Y Generation
    It was also commendable that Adidas did not see itself as static, but instead a dynamic and changing company that moves and evolves in accordance to the demands and demographics of its employees. More so, Adidas has a strong 64% of its population who are Gen Y, and should place more focus on catering to their learning abilities and needs in order to achieve a successful organization.

    It is researched that demographic changes is combined with a paradigm shift of working habits among the Generation Y. For example, work is no more contained on the desk, but now has become one that can be taken to the park, at home, or anywhere else. Fix employment has now seen a change to the idea of “Wikinomics”. But most notably, the there has been a switch from the idea of the team of experts, to the wisdom of crowds.

    However, I would believe that the corporate university of the future, which Adidas aims to achieve with the Group Corporate University, should not just look at catering to the current Y generation. Instead, it should be able to cater to the booming Z generation who will be entering job market soon. Thus, I would recommend that the platform created should be self- sustaining (due to a huge number of employees), engaging (so as to “lock” the attention of these individuals) but more than that, highly informative (which would give the employees a great incentive to log onto this platform or tool).

    What Should a Learning Organization Look Like?
    Successful Case Studies

    The Group Corporate University follows the idea of a “Learning Organization” which is a concept that was coined by Peter Senge. It encourages the organizations to shift to a more interconnected way of thinking. Organizations become more like communities and that encourages employees to feel a higher level of commitment. The idea of “power to the people”, gives the employees a sense of involvement, lesser bureaucracy (shift from top down management to bottom up), which in turn increases learning and productivity as employees work harder for the organization they are committed to.

    There are a few companies and organizations that have implemented this idea of a learning organization. In my home country, Singapore, for example, the Ministry of Education banks on systems thinking and learning. Teachers have an online platform where they are able to connect knowledge, idea and practice. (See: http://www.academyofsingaporeteachers.moe.gov.sg/cos/o.x?c=/ast/pagetree&func=view&rid=1073031). Teachers teach each other and share experiences in hope to help other teachers with their research or day-to-day teaching experiences.

    Another successful company would be Swiss Re, a reinsurance company that operates in more than 20 countries and has a presence worldwide. Swiss Re deployed an internal employee collaboration and business networking solution across its global teams to increase cohesion and deal with the complexity of combining diverse expertise in the design of products and solutions. They were able to meet their goals of improved collaboration, increased cohesion and most importantly, able to combine diverse expertise in the design of their products and solutions.

    I would also highly recommend that you take a read on the case study of Vistaprint. It is a SME (Small Medium Enterprise) that was able to use the similar idea of the learning organization molded with the wiki concept. The ease of bookmarking, adding information and collecting information gives users a platform that they can always turn to allowed the organization to move up to greater heights.

    Caveats & Challenges
    As mentioned, I strongly encourage the use of a platform like Wikipedia which was adopted by Vistaprint. This means, the Global University Adidas wishes to achieve will be toying with the concept of ‘wisdom of the crowds’- the aggregation of information in groups results in ideas and decisions that are often better than that which could have been made by a single member of the group. Combined with the concept of crowdsourcing, I believe that this would increase the employee learning curve as well as increase efficiency in the organization.

    However, this could also pose a few challenges:

    1. 90-9-1 model of participation
    90% of the people are most of the time lurkers, who just browse through the web and its resources and do not contribute. There is only 1% of the population who contributes. Thus, with this University, Adidas should find a way to encourage rich posts. An idea would be to award “badges” or “ratings” to contributors, similar to that of Airbnb (See: “Verifications” https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/3195977)

    2. Understanding the adoption curve
    The main issue I believe in adoption would be the rate of adoption between gen X and gen Y, and the ease of incorporating this into their lives. The technological adoption curve states that there will be a considerable number of early adaptors (majority gen Y) and laggards (majority gen X). One way to overcome this would be get gen X to contribute to the development, and then provide rigorous training before the launch. They could also be tagged with a gen Y employee to create creative user content so that they get used to the idea.

    It would also be interesting to note that adoption depends on social, demographic factors such as culture, age, country of origin and personality. For instance the “Blackboard” that most universities use, has a low pick up rate among students because the platform itself does not provide an incentive for them to spend time on. This is uncontrollable, but it would be intriguing to note the type and rate of pickup of Adidas Global University in relation to social-demographic factors.

    3. Privacy, Copyright, Abuse of platform
    If the model of Wikipedia is used as a basis, the issues of privacy, copyright infringement an abuse (pornography and profanities) could potentially arise. This can be overcome in two steps. Firstly, legal, compliance and privacy risks from employee managed content can be mitigated by educating the Adidas employees about the nature of Web 2.0; emphasizing the company’s code of conduct and policies through a platform policy; not allowing anonymous information on the platform (system can be linked to their e-mails so that it is not anonymous); making available “report abuse” functionality (akin to Facebook); and instructing users to manage business records systematically in separate business systems. Secondly, there should be a creation of a “community” like that of Wikipedia, where privileges are given to administrators (long time and good contributors), editors and writers in terms of managing and uploading content.

    In such ways, I believe, with the power given to the employees on an intuitive, user friendly, comprehensive/informative platform, the Adidas Global University would definitely be successful.

  58. Hello everyone,

    I am writing this post as a part of the course “Seminars in Advanced Management: Management in the digital economy”, taught by Professor Andrea Back, from the University of St. Gallen.

    I will present how I think a learning organization and a Corporate University should be structured by indirectly, or directly, answering these four central questions:

    - How should a learning organization be built up?
    - How do we bridge the generational gap?
    - How do we get the whole organization to participate? (Especially management)
    - What is my vision of a Corporate University?

    I will start with a presentation of the concept of “Web 2.0”

    “Web 2.0”

    During the last five to six years there has been a new concept called “Web 2.0” that has been very popular in both academic circles and in the media. To be able to discuss how to create an organizational culture that is truly empowering and will entice the people working in it to participate in the teaching of others, it is important to understand what this concept of “Web 2.0” actually means.
    Many organizations are stuck in the mindset of the “old” web and have not embraced the new and more open “Web 2.0”. Tim O’Reilly has published various articles where he discusses this topic and the main themes that he considers to constitute the concept “Web 2.0” are:

    - A network on a platform that spans to different connected devices
    - The software on the platform is continuously updated and gets better the more people use it
    - By using the platform people contribute by consuming and adding data that gets “remixed” by the other users, and in the process the information gets richer and so does the user experience.

    Further reading: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/4580/

    These are the concepts that need to be central in an organization’s attempt to create a so-called “learning organization”. If an organization cannot collect and redistribute the information and knowledge of its members, it cannot truly be a learning organization.

    A real learning organization – Wikipedia:

    The best example of a true learning organization that has used technology in new ways is Wikipedia. The organization embodies all the ideals “Web 2.0” because not only is it a flat organization run by its contributors and with only one paid staff member, but also does its success depend on the number of people contributing. If no one would write, and change, Wikipedia’s articles, the site would have no value; people “equally teach and learn” on Wikipedia.

    The generational gap:

    As stated in the post, 64% of the employees in the Adidas Group belong to the so-called “Generation Y” (defined here as people born after 1981). And the generational gap is going to be an obstacle for the implementation of a new system of organizational learning based on a platform of “Web 2.0” technology.

    The employees from the different generations have grown up with different relationships with technology and this makes the younger generations more apt to adopt new technologies, than the older one (of course this is a generalization that does not account for all cases).

    As seen in the presentations by Andrea Back, “Generation Y”’s, or milliennials as they are also called, have different expectations and desires in the workplace and do, therefore, require other things from their employers. An observable trend is that young people entering the workforce are more used to working in teams, being “on-the-clock” 24/7, and expect to have a different relationship with managers and co-workers, than the older generations did.

    Using my own experiences as a millennial, I can see this very clearly in the difference how I act in the workplace, and outside it, versus how my parents (both Generation X’ers) do. As we have all worked in the same big, international company, it is a good way to contrast different behaviors. I use my smartphone to read and answer emails, this while I “am on-the-run” at work, during breaks and after work. My parents have both refused to accept the smartphones offered by the company, to not have to be on-line 24/7. They see their bosses as superiors and do only have working relationships with them, while I see me boss more as a colleague and a “coach” than anything else. From university, I am used to working in groups with the teacher directs us to “put us on the right track”, which is very different from how it was for my parents time in university, when the education was more focused on just accepting what the teacher said and write the “right answers” during the exams.

    To reach these different generations, different strategies are needed to get different employees to adopt, and embrace, changes in company culture and in technology used at work.

    The Swiss Re case:

    When the Swiss reinsurance company Swiss Re implemented their social business software platform called “Ourspace”, they faced many of the same challenges that the Adidas Group would face trying to create a Corporate University. However, the challenges might have been tougher for Swiss Re because the platform was to be a more integral part of the business than the Corporate University. The biggest challenges for them were getting top management to adapt to this change in corporate culture, moving away from the hierarchical towards a more flexible and ad-hoc organization.

    From their case study, we can see that to be able to implement such a new and drastically different platform there is a need to have committed advocates from the start, promoting the change in the company structure with full-heartedly. It is also very important that top management adopt the change from the beginning, and therefore the objectives of the platform must be stated clearly. For the more skeptical managers to adopt the change, benefits must be shown in possible cost-savings and efficiency improving terms.

    Further reading: http://www.jivesoftware.com/customers/case-studies/swiss-re

    My vision of a Corporate University:

    In my opinion, the creation of a Corporate University is something that needs to be built around the concepts related to the new web of “Web 2.0”. It needs to be a platform where all employees can interact on the same level, otherwise organizational hierarchies will just be reproduced on the virtual platform, and the initiative will be all in vain. When employees feel empowered to speak their mind and talk to management without feeling intimidated by the difference of position in corporate hierarchy, they will be much more likely to suggest things that could be useful for the company.

    It is also important that the platform is simple enough to be used by the more reluctant users. If the platform is too advanced people of the older generation might feel that it is not something for them, and a lot of experience and knowledge that would be very useful in a Corporate University could be lost.

    When the majority sees the benefits of the initiative, that is when a true learning organization of the future can be created; and that is when the mantra of “I learn, we grow” can be realized.

  59. New ways to learn and teach

    These days sometimes we see internal problems in a company because of some factors related with communication, education, personality of the employees and so on. The purpose of this article is to give several ideas to solve those problems by showing that there are other ways to improve in a company. These ideas are about learning and teaching. All the people in a company, no matter who is he or she, would have to teach and learn at the same time.

    Firstly, there has to be an attitude to learn and teach. This attitude has to be collaborative, all workers have to see the same final goal of the company: its growth and expansion by doing ethical business. What they should avoid is bad atmosphere between them. There has to be a good and respectful communication. These things can be improved with additional programs such as courses in communication skills or related topics.

    Another important point is that when you are teaching something to somebody, you have to “teach to think” in order to “learn to think”. What is useless is doing one thing without knowing why you are doing that thing. Because only by saying: “my boss told me I have to do this” is not valid. Perhaps your boss in wrong, you have to think yourself when you are doing something WHY you are doing that thing and think if it is ethical, good for the company…

    According to attitude, nowadays people in a company need to adapt to changes. This globalized world is changing every second; we need to be ready for any kind of unexpected problem. Speed, sense, decision-making capacity and peace are some of the characteristics required for adapting to changes. If any employee is good at this what he has to do is to transmit those skills by teaching others in a humble way not by believing that he is the best in the company because he will be hated.

    Besides, it is important to highlight that every person in the company, in this case Adidas, has to believe in its mission, in its values, which include to be committed, innovative, consumer focused, global organized and dedicated. It is very important to believe in what your company believes and why you believe it. By doing this you are learning as you are teaching other people why you believe and a good leader is the one who leads, the one that is followed because people believed in what he taught.

    Also, to improve the overall aspects of the company it would be a good idea to make surveys to evaluate the overall of the company, to organize events such as going three days to some place just for having a good time, to organize dinners or informal meetings to get to know each other in a better way… all this would create constructive criticism and a closer relation between all the members of the company. This relation is needed more and more these days to avoid problems of communication and knowledge of the company´s purposes. That relation has to be as a family, we spend more time at work than in other place so we have to give it all to accomplish this.

    So, to sum things up, in order to learn and think first there has to be a good work atmosphere, positive attitude of the workers, group dynamism, conduct, competencies such as leadership, confidence, motivation… and then put into practice the things mentioned along the essay.

    I hope these ideas are useful for adidas and if you want to clarify some things, please contact me.

  60. 64% of Adidas employees are of the Generation Y. This “Y” fact already gives Adidas a head start in their pursuit of a collaborative, learning workforce. Generation Y includes the people who have been well established in the world of Web 2.0, something Adidas is experienced in. This generation is leading a shift in the work environment. Instead of your typical Monday to Friday, 9-5, Adidas employs the generation that is constantly at work, not from the office but from home, cafes, parks, etc. Virtual teams have replaced face-to-face interaction, and social networks have been integrated in work fields resulting in a slow but persistent diminish of hierarchical structures. With the kind of employees Adidas has, a great tool that should be utilized is the “wisdom of crowds” over the old way of hiring a team of experts to solve an issue, such as what is being demonstrated right now with this blog and my response as one of many. Adidas’ current workforce is an asset for moving forward to develop an environment that employs constant teaching, learning, and growing.

    With that being said, the next step is to figure out how to utilize the characteristics of the Generation Y workforce in order to create this “I LEARN, WE GROW” culture. A workforce interested in sharing knowledge and growing together needs a platform where ideas can be shared with one another. First and foremost, provide the organization with intranet. Next, create a social interface via the intranet where employees can browse and post ideas, instructions, information, news, etc. Users should be allowed to edit or create new posts. This platform will essentially be the “meeting room” of the organization, however, with no established hierarchies. Everybody is equal; nobody gets a seat at the head of the table because it is round. Provide seminars to introduce this concept and encourage employees to test it out before the interface is launched. Create message boards with the potential of eliminating the use of e-mails. Enable users to receive and send private messages if necessary as long as they are all using this one central platform. This will encourage integration.

    The company by name of Swiss Re, one of the world’s leading most diversified reinsurers, implemented such a change after 150 years and called it Ourspace. Swiss Re recognized the need for change within their organization, in particular more efficient exchange in expertise and quicker sharing of knowledge. They developed a goal of “Play as One to Win” and began searching for ways to increase global and local collaboration amongst their organization. Their solution was to provide Jive Social Business Software by the name of Ourspace, which includes several virtual communities where people actively participate in knowledge sharing, discussions, blogs, etc. There is a community manager who oversees the process and activity of the virtual community, which also ensures that leaders are participating in the community in order to ensure better integration and collaboration. In less than two months, Ourspace enabled cross-functional collaboration between all of its global and local regions.

    Another success story is related to Wikipedia, used by a company called VistaPrint. This company’s success posed a problem due to their lack of resources. The company experienced tremendous growth in a short period of time and was required to immediately hire several employees to handle their demands. However, with the rapid growth occurring, nobody had time to write procedures down to help train the employees. They tried several different ways to share information with the new employees but none of them were successful. Then they used Wikipedia, where all of the employees could collaborate together to share knowledge, teach, and learn from one another. New employees were paired with old employees to share expertise and new ideas. There was a team in place to keep the content relative and useful in order to avoid clutter. Wikipedia, collaboratively used by millions, solved the company’s problem by creating a teaching and learning culture for the organization.

    One of the main challenges an organization faces while undergoing such significant change in their systems is the reaction of the employees. Although the demographics of Adidas employees will most likely be very accepting of such a change, after all, Generation Y is all about Web collaboration, it is still a change. Normally, when change occurs, people may initially deny it, their productivity may fall, but eventually they learn to accept it, adapt to it, and find opportunities to grow with it. Also, as this so-called Generation Y increases in work populations, such as apparent at Adidas, and begin to take first-roles as business leaders, the generation X, who are mainly still in power, may begin to feel threatened. As a result, they may resist the change. Current leaders should be valued for their knowledge and encouraged to share it with new employees using these platforms. Another issue may arise if the social platform is monitored too closely. Deleting posts or denying people’s opinions to be shared may create a barrier for the building of a teaching and learning culture. A well-crafted Work Policy can eliminate the necessity of monitoring social activity on the intranet. Instead, efforts should be made to maintain the website keeping it organized, functioning, and easy to use.

    In essence, the strategies mentioned above should encourage collaboration amongst Adidas employees in order to enable them to constantly teach each other, learn from another, and grow together. Ultimately, it should lead to the type of working environment Adidas is seeking – I LEARN, WE GROW.

    Hope this helps.

    Rangina Hassan

  61. From my point of view, a true learning organization should look like an organization that create a culture that continuously encourages and supports employee to learn, to be critical, and to take risk with new ideas without being worried about making mistakes. A true learning organization should enable its employee to learn from experience and experiment, and share the new knowledge throughout the organization in order to use it every day in every kind of situation.

    My vision of a Corporate University of the future is an organization that would make fall the barriers between executives and workers: an executive should be able to learn from a worker and a worker should be able to learn from an executive, without feeling that there is a hierarchy, this is my vision of a Corporate University of the future. For example, a worker should be able to present new ideas without being judged because he does not know the cost that it would entail for the company and an executive would be able to explain to a worker that he has an allocated budget for some things and he cannot exceed this budget in term of yield for the company. This is not the case in every single company today but it should be.

    The main challenge of corporate learning is the fact that executives and workers cannot waste time because of the constant competition, particularly in this sector; they do not have to forget their own objectives if they want to be competitive in this world that is continuously evolving, again more now with new technology. Executives and workers need some time to speak together and to understand what the job is for each one, and then find solution together to make it easier and better for each one. Implement this is not an easy thing to do because executives have objectives in term of sales and income, and workers also have objectives in term of production, so they do not have a lot of time to spend together and to discuss about possible improvements. This is where Web 2.0 interferes… Because both executives and workers do not have time to talk to each others, the concepts of learning organization and Corporate University are relevant to this kind of activities, new means of communication could enable executives and workers to discuss all together about different problematic in order to improve productivity in both side of the company. Organize meetings and all this kind of things takes a lot of time and make waste time and money to the company whereas discussing regularly in one-to-one by using new technologies in a good mean to make fall the barriers between executives and workers and a good mean to improve results in term of productivity on the one hand, and in term of sales and income on the other hand.

  62. It is a fact that every day, more and more companies are interested in to continue forming their employee while working. So many companies pay courses to their employees, and others, such as Adidas, created a corporate university.
    From my point of view, any company that wants to succeed must offer learning methods to their employees, so I think that the idea of a “Corporate University” is very good. I think it, because when someone leaves the University prepared for the workplace, really knows nothing. I mean, is a genius of accounting, finance, statistics, biology … etc, but he or she only knows how to pass an exam. So now needs a corporate university that teaches them how to put their knowledge into practice in the work and business place.
    Firstly, I believed that the most experienced employees could give talks to young people, in order that they can take advantage of the experience and thus increase performance. This not only makes young people to learn, but also, older employees may become infected by the desire to learn and to work of the young people. Therefore, with this method all of our workers will increase their productivity.
    By the time, we have mentioned that it is young people who should receive these courses, but do not fall in the mistake of thinking that only these, who have less experience, should receive the courses. Since it is very unlikely that the oldest are kept informed in to changes in accounting legislation or know how to use modern technology. Therefore, a corporate university should offer courses open to all employees on the uses of software, accounting, finance, marketing or everything related to business daily activity. In this way, employees are always learning new things and motivated to carry them into their work.
    Moreover, any company with a corporate university should want that their employees to learn and improve their performance, so, it should promote these exchanges with other companies in different countries or send to work in a division that our company has in another country. This measure takes our employees to learn how things are done in other places and other businesses and they can use it on their return. The exchange of personnel with other companies can make that these other companies copies us but we should not be afraid of this, because the fact that we have been copied is a good sign, as it means that we are doing it well.
    One of the challenges of corporate universities is to ensure that employees do not see it as a boring obligation, but as an aid. For this, attend the courses should not be a must at the end of the workday, but is offered via Internet courses. These courses could be made by everyone in their home when they feel more comfortable. Not only this but also, these courses should count as working hours, so that if an employee makes a course of 40 hours, the company should reward him with 40 hours of vacation. With this way, you get employees to learn, but doesn’t hate the company because of the imposition of such obligations and end up going to another company.

  63. Marc Gòdia Ribera
    October 31, 2012 11:32 am

    Hello everyone,
    I am writing this post as a part of the course “Seminars in Advanced Management: Management in the digital economy”, taught by Professor Andrea Back, from the University of St. Gallen.
    First of all I think it is mandatory to express how appropriate these initiatives are, especially in the current economic situation. Redefining limits and rethinking structures, as many experts point out, are going to be the key concepts not only for success in the long-term, but only for survival. The business frameworks are changing at a great pace. Maybe few years ago, a company could find innovation as development as a complement of their activity. However, nowadays, being able to adapt to the upcoming characteristics and channels not only of the market, but also of the consumers and employees (for many experts the main asset in a company); is a synonym of survival.

    Therefore, I personally think that developing this kind of initiatives are really helpful in order to work towards this direction. The main problem that many companies find when they try to innovate, is how to the deal with all the stereotypes and taboos that surround its activity. Indeed, the mass market, either influenced by a negative and external campaign, or after a wrong communication and marketing policy carried out by the very same company, tends to categorize and prejudge many companies before acquiring a substantial knowledge and experience from it. This is a fact, which can’t be denied or ignored, and operates not only in business but in many other fields, as it flows from a natural tendency from the human being to precategorize everything. Seen that, the only way to tackle this phenomenon is through pedagogy and constancy. Social media, social networks and in general all new technologies, offer a great opportunity for changing this pre-conception and widening the consumers mind. In that sense, using a tool such as this learning social-platform for all employees can be very useful to broaden the company limits. Sometimes many people tend to reject the great unity that exists between sport and culture, and by developing this corporate university, I think Adidas will certainly gain a competitive advantage, and , apart from the great benefits that a free flow of knowledge through such an international company would imply for employees and consumers; will be leading this new conception of sport, but something else, that will dominate in a close future time.

    Introducing social, peer-to-peer based learning in both person and online, and co-delivering it with targeted educational partners, as said in some previous comments has to be the aim of this initiative. However it is important to bear in mind, that even this great projects do not have the capability to destroy the barriers historically established between human groups. I will develop my point. Traditionally, this huge world-wide corporation, which are settled down in many areas all over the globe, and which are compounded by many departments and areas, lack from an effective and formative communication between them. Effective communication can only be achieved when a affective relationship is projected between the subjects. And a social-network or a certain company-policy, eventhough it can be useful to initiate the process, will never be able to culminate it. Therefore, and assuming that personal relationships is sometimes a too complex world, I think that the best option to skip this constrain, would be the following. If each department would record their meetings and then upload them into the platform, all the firm’s employees could acquire immediate and in depth knowledge about what is going on in the different branches and departments. Always bearing in mind the confidentiality that some topics require, that would enable also all employees to give his/her opinion about what is being discussed and create synergies among the different parts of the whole firm.

    Of course the 90 9 1 rule will operate, and many people interested will perform only as a passive reader, but this gathering of information of the firm processes does not necessarily have to be complementary for the department. If it operated correctly, we could reach the idyllic context of a operative and cooperative company, at a very low cost.

    Furthermore, there’s another point of view which needs to be taken into account. This new platform can’t be just limited within the company, but it has to be open to the mass-market consumers and potential clients. Athletes in particular but all sport-performers in general, do especially appreciate a value among the others, when it comes to make the decision on what product to purchase. This value is confidence. A sport performer will first look for the advice of his/her coach or colleagues before purchasing any product, and the more essential this product is, the more influence will these pieces of advice have upon the person’s desire of purchase. In other words, if the athlete has to buy a chronometer, the recommendation obtained by his or her coach will not have the same value as the recommendation obtained when the object that has to be purchased are a pair of trainers, which indeed play a very important role on the performance that this athlete will display while competing. Sometimes, these pieces of advice are not only established in personal relationships, but also through social networks. A quick glance through the net will enable anyone to see that many runners (just to personalize in one kind of sport-performer) have created their own internet-platforms where they set their training calendar, and of course share information about their progress. Many conversations in these platforms normally have to do with sports material. Therefore, if Adidas decided to open its internal network to its target users in the market, it would be able to both reach more potential consumers and have an influence upon its consumption desires.

    Following this argument, I think it is also necessary to see what the competitors in the market have done. Indeed, the direct comparison, as usually happens with Adidas, is with Nike. The American brand launched in the last decade a revolutionary social network named Nike Plus, whose aim was basically to make it possible for runners all over the world to share their trainings, challenge each other and monitor their progress. In a quite short period of time, the previous initiative became extremely popular worldwide, and nowadays it has become one of the main relevant places for advertising at no cost the company’s products. Just copying this model wouldn’t work for Adidas. The key is on innovating, but the idea is already there. What about extending it to other similar kind of sports? Maybe cycling or swimming… What about creating a mass platform, such as Nike +, for the most popular sport on Earth: football? What about giving the chance to many individual sport-performers, who don’t have a personal coach, to contact virtually with an expert from the company that would orientate its activity and also give valuable recommendations on what products to purchase in order to perform better on his/her discipline?

    Here I’ve just mentioned some ideas which could be interesting, but, of course a much more in depth analysis needs to be carried out in order to see the current and the future situation of the company, and whether it is worth the initiate such a revolution in this area. In a sense, Adidas has already started to walk towards this cooperative model, by opening to everyone the possibility to give an opinion about how this process should be. I just hope that my little pieces of advice will have some utility in the future, and will help the company to expand and be even more successful than it is nowadays

  64. This post is also in response to an opportunity presented by Professor Andrea Back of St Gallen University, teaching the module “Seminars in Advanced Management: Management in the Digital Economy” as a guest lecturer at the Universidad de Navarra.

    I will begin by outlining a classical definition of a learning organisation, how this model could be adapted utilising web 2.0 thinking, and finish by presenting my vision for a corporate university based on personal online learning experiences.

    What should a true learning organisation look like?

    Classical Definition

    When considering what a true learning organisation should consist of, Senge’s ‘classical’ definition provides some guidance. This definition is based around the five core concepts of systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning. Summarising these quickly: systems thinking emphasises the assessment of individual business models in the context of the greater business as a whole. Personal mastery recognises that the learning system will only be effective if the individual is receptive to and embraces the learning opportunity. A mental model or culture needs to be established that encourages openness and trust. A shared vision is important in providing focus and motivation to ensure that the skills learnt would benefit the business and add to its competitive advantage. Having a culture of team learning is also important, as it provides a platform through which personal learning can be transferred into organisational learning.

    For a more detailed analysis see http://www.infed.org/thinkers/senge.htm

    Web 2.0

    Two decades after initial publication these concepts are still of great value to the organisation however to determine what a true modern learning organisation is, and by this I take it to mean a truly effective learning organisation, the developments associated with web 2.0 and the opportunities presented need to be considered. Accordingly the question that must be asked is how can social business software facilitate the development of such a learning organisation? In my opinion social business software can be most effective with regards to the ‘team learning’ concept, as it can provide a connection between teams in different geographic locations and can allow for more flexible work options. Utilisation of the wiki principle would allow for the compilation of and easy access to collective intelligence from the various business functions, and from this base the business would be able to more quickly and effectively adapt to challenging business environments. This fits nicely with the Adidas corporate mantra ‘Together we win’. As a multinational organisation the rapid transfer of knowledge will be especially important to Adidas as the process of globalisation continues and the world becomes increasingly interdependent.

    Vision for a Corporate University of the Future

    When considering the concept of a ‘Corporate University of the future’ I am basing this on my own experiences as a university student. I have not yet had hands on experience using social business software, nor have I participated in any ‘corporate university’ programs. However a number of my subjects have attempted to incorporate social services into the learning experience using such tools as Moodle, Blackboard and LORE, and from this experience I believe there are a number of issues that should be kept in mind when developing an online learning platform, some of which could be of value to Adidas.

    The first problem I have encountered is related to group participation. The 90/9/1 principle or 1% rule demonstrates that some people have a natural tendency to participate in an online context whilst the majority is less inclined, observing and occasionally contributing. In all my subjects that have utilised online social platforms there has been forced or strongly incentivised contribution, and the degree of success has been directly related to the type of culture that was developed and encouraged by the professors from the beginning. The least successful implementation was for a language course utilising a university-specific online platform. People would post responses to set questions, and other students would be encouraged to correct and comment upon classmates work. Although this could be considered a crude application of the wiki principle, the forum was not strongly regulated and this meant the most confident students dominated the discussions and were often quite negative with criticism. Furthermore, during class the teacher would display the responses and as a class we would go through them, which further discouraged and often embarrassed those students who had made mistakes. So instead of fostering a caring environment where information and learning passed freely, it promoted the creation of barriers and hindered overall learning development.

    In comparison, the course I’m currently studying uses the platform LORE, which for the Facebook generation is relatively intuitive to use. Compared with some courses the information sharing that occurred over the platform was highly effective and provided a strong compliment to the classroom material, and I think the success of this comes down to a few factors. Firstly, the professor was highly active and would provide personalized responses to each post. Not only did this foster further conversation it also provided valuable feedback (I.e further learning opportunities). Also the guidelines for operation and etiquette were much clearer and this resulted in a more effective and supportive learning environment.

    The second significant problem I’ve come across arose from being overly connected to the online system when making decisions. Some courses have used live platforms on which discussions, negotiations and problem solving activities were based. Set times were scheduled for such activities, and during these periods almost constant attention to the system was required. The use of such a system was effective when canvassing ideas and brainstorming, however the problem was that the requirement for constant connection discouraged deep thinking, which then lead to rash decisions and comments that were later regretted.

    Utilising social software in group work and virtual teams can be a effective way of learning and problem solving, however my vision for a corporate university would include a strategy to ensure that in the rapid fire world of online communication time is taken to actively reflect upon and think deeply on certain matters. Also ensuring offline time is taken could help to prevent information overload, which can negatively impact productivity.

    So to conclude, web 2.0 can be most effective in facilitating team learning in the context of a learning organisation. This possibilities are great, however in order to ensure success the implementation needs to be carefully managed, including the development of a encouraging online culture and a system that encourages deep offline thinking.

  65. Mitchell Bradley (AUS)
    October 31, 2012 1:14 pm

    A true learning organisation is an organisation that invests in not only its human resources but actively attempts to maintain that knowledge within the organisation and diffuse it throughout. The “cloud system” that has been talked about in some posts presents a great idea and would be a great way to remotely log into the system for such a global organisation. Getting the 90% “Lurkers” to participate in the system is an issue that will need to be looked at as with most websites and social platforms the 90% lurkers ratio applies. @Steve‘s idea of “Learning credits” and the “Gamification” idea are great incentivising ideas and could provide real interaction (especially if it could be transferred into something tangible), but will people only be doing the bare minimum to achieve these credits or will they be truly learning and immersing themselves in the learning system, also brings into question of whether job security, promotion and perceived “status” will be a factor in participating in the system.
    The centralised learning system could also be a great way to streamline communications between employees and promote corporate culture in a less rigid informal setting than the current company Intranet and will give topics for employee interaction and idea formation/growth. This could also provide a link between upper management and employees, think of the possibility of doing an “Online Advanced Management Seminar in Web 2.0”, where the CEO Herbert Hainer and a normal worker are both participating and interacting. This would be a powerful motivator, infuse the organisation with different backgrounds/views, link different countries subsidiaries and promote an excellent corporate culture within the organisation.
    The extent of the program is something that intrigues me, as will it only be extended to direct employees or could it be extended to the greater supply chain. It could be a system that provides great value to the workforce of suppliers especially from lesser economically developed countries e.g. Indonesia, where education of the workforce could be of real benefit to not only the organisation but the community and could help Adidas from not only a supply chain stand point but the wider communities views on their actives in such countries, giving the system both an Internal and an external effect.
    I think that this is a great idea and that it will be a great success as the Adidas slogans says “Impossible is Nothing”
    In Association With:
    University of Navarra, Spain (Host)
    University of Technology Sydney, Australia (Home)
    Prof. Dr. Andrea Back University of St. Gallen
    Seminars in Advanced Management: Management in The Digital Economy 2.0

  66. This is written in response to an assessment task for Seminars in Advanced Business Management – Management in the Digital Economy, at University of Navarra presented by Prof. Dr. Andrea Back from the University of St. Gallen

    First of all I think that this blog carnival idea is a very interesting way to employ the crowd sourcing/wisdom of crowds concept, so far it looks like that it has worked very well and some valuable information has been posted by many professionals who are willing to share their knowledge and contribute to the Adidas organization.

    From my point of view a true learning organization should be one where information is readily available, it entices the “student” to want to learn and to make them feel that the learning that they are doing is not only valuable for them but also for the organization. Structured learning, where the information is pushed to the individual or organization, leads to an environment where they feel forced to learn. Informal learning is the process by which an individual or organization pulls information towards them because they want to and are interested. Having enterprise 2.0 within the organization where an employee can find almost any information about the organization at will, and upload personal knowledge to share with everyone within the organization. This flow of information from top down and bottom up is a key factor to creating a true learning organization.

    Once this is set up it is a matter of getting individuals within organization to contribute. I think that the gamification idea (from @Simon) is a good start to incentivise/motivate employees to start to contribute, however, will this lead to employees contributing the bare minimum or will they contribute more? If this only leads to bare minimum contributions there needs to be other ways in which the organization can incentivise/motivate its employees.
    I would be very interested to know what everyone thinks is the best way to incentivise/motivate employees to strive for continuous contribution and use of such as system. For me the best outcome of a true learning organization is where learning is a part of work and work a part of learning.

    The challenges of corporate learning are the fact that a majority of employees see it as an extra curricular activity outside of work, which these days can be hard for employees to cope with in this increasingly digital age and screen culture. No matter where you go these days your work goes with you (laptop, smart phones tablets etc.) emails will always be received and “important” phone calls will always come through. For that reason corporate learning (also continuous improvement) need to become part of work, as mentioned above for true learning organization, this and corporate learning are closely related and as can be seen in the material posted by @Charles Jennings on slide 18 of: 8 Reasons Why You Should Focus on Informal and Social Learning.

    @Charles Jennings – very interesting slide show on Slide Share, I completely agree with the content. Currently being a university student and having done a few internships, where the work combined with learning motivates and excites you, it fuels a passion which seems to fade when working full time in an organization where there is no informal learning or incentive for continuous improvement. I can also relate to the 80:20 principles and Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve as part of this.

    Hopefully you can get something out of this contribution

    Regards,

    Joris Meijboom

  67. Anasthasia Francois
    October 31, 2012 6:51 pm

    Creating a learning dynamic into an organization can have a lot of benefits for the company. By integrating learning-focused in the daily work life and make it an habits for employees, it can have significant positive effects in terms of efficiency, productivity and creativity.
    What I imagined first, is a company platform adapted.

    The creation of a collaborative learning platform interlinking 4 mains dimensions: the information, the knowledge, the collaboration and the communities.
    This platform would enable the share, personalization, enrichment of information between employees from top to down in real time. Information should be relayed, enriched, and aggregate (through comments, notes…) by other employees. It would enabling better reactivity and also pro-activity.
    Finding affinity through data and information, in order to give the most relevant, complete and value-added information.
    Integrating web 2.0 tools such as wikis and tags would encourage an effective knowledge management by the employees.
    Then, I think that the fact that each employee has a personal profile could help as it will make it more personal and focusing on what each employee could bring to the other and the company. Employees should actively collaborate through the platform about project management, workshop or online co-creation.
    Following the 90-9-1 principle, 90% of users would be lurkers. In order to make the employee willing to participate and encourage the creation of a sharing dynamic, I think the system of rewards can be interesting as it can motivate each employee give a contribution.
    The key of success of this learning platform is the participation of each employee, this is also a challenge as some of them (especially the generation X and anterior) are not really comfortable about new tools. An awareness campaign about the new learning platform and its benefits should be lead in order than a better use and maximum optimization of the platform by every employee.
    I would like to insist on the fact that it is not only a question of changing tool but more about creating a dynamic of learning in the company by the help of this sort of learning platform but also with strong offline culture of learning as well.
    To conclude, I think creating a learning focused environment in daily work life would definitely help Adidas and its employees being more successful.

    Anasthasia Francois

  68. My dream is to be part of Adidas but how can l be..l am currently doing my first year in Public Relations and Advertising in Cyprus. l have visions l know will be help Adidas to be more connected with their customers…l need HELP…please..

  69. My dream is to be part of Adidas but how can l be..l am currently doing my first year in Public Relations and Advertising in Cyprus l am from Zimbabwe. l have visions l know will be help Adidas to be more connected with their customers…l need HELP…please..

  70. [...] “Open Corporate University” stecken könnte. Damals hatte nämlich Christian Kuhna im adidas Group Blog dazu eingeladen, sich mit Vorschlägen an der Gestaltung der zukünftigen Corporate University zu [...]

  71. Great idea to have an open corporate university

    I would add the gamification and the motivational aspect into your corporate learning, I would recommend to integrate PBL (points, badges and leaderboards) into your coporate initiative, so that learning content and contribuation gets rewarded and keeps the momentum.

    To set things up is relatively easy, but to keep people engaged is the real challenge.

    If you would integrate a gamification framework into your university you could as well secure the quality of the learning by peer assessment.

  72. The challenge is embedded in the objective: “…….an environment in which all employees equally teach and learn”. But let’s face it: it is not only about concepts. We have made extremely good experiences in setting up a structure in which “traditional” learning is interconnected with all kind of social media learning and at the same time mixed with our ellaborative box of sytem and process related building bricks. A number of these building bricks together are forming finally a “new way of learning and development”. Have a look on one of this concrete buiding bricks for a randomly chosen subject related corporate goal, which is currently discussed in depth: http://youtu.be/BFUBZflXZCo

  73. @Simon: we have used badges/ rewards and gamification techniques historically with dis-engaged youths for government funded projects, but more recently with a cosmetics company for their staff training.
    I think playing on human beings’ naturally competitive nature is a great motivator and adding team scores and rewards to promote working together and collaborating is also really effective. We would love to get involved with your capabilities incubator! http://www.desq.co.uk

  74. Check out the ‘wonder why boards’ and the philosophy and tools behind them at corporate facilities and services at Adidas. There are very good initiatives within Adidas…

  75. in terms of “learning credits” we thin of using the concept of gamification by providing “Badges” to learnes (see the Mozialla Open Badges Approach https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges as an example). Does anyone have experience in implementing badges in formal/informal learning environments?

  76. Thanks for the link to Cluetrain Manifesto – sounds very interesting! Wondering which of the 95 theses will become personal favorites. Still not too sure what the Learning Campus is gonna mean in reality, but then that’s why I check out articles like this.

  77. Hi Emily, thanks for your comment – and happy that you like the Cluetrain Manifesto as much as I do! If you’d like to know more about the Learning Campus, please check our latest article on this blog that was published today on how we’re bringing this to life! best regards – Christian

  78. […] new vision, which Adidas calls its “New Way of Learning,” requires leaders to become actively involved in learning and even to embed learning, teaching and […]

  79. Hi all,
    here’s the latest on the adidas Group’s learning initiatives and it’s newly launched Corporate University.
    http://www.adidas-group.com/en/group/stories/smarten-people/
    Enjoy.
    Best,