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Social Learning and the Modern Collaborative Workplace

Part of a three-part webcast series on social learning


Kerry Brown, vice president of enablement, SAP Education

Many of you may have tuned in to our first webcast on September 13, focused on social learning and the modern collaborative workplace. The series features Marcia Conner, renowned expert on social learning, columnist with Fast Company magazine and co-author of The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media and myself as host of the webcast.

For those of you that may have missed it but would like to learn more, we wanted to provide a recap of the first webinar and provide dates for the remaining webinars in the series. The intention of the series is to help advance the conversation and understanding in the community regarding social learning, i.e. what it is and what it means for us, how it changes the way we work now, as well as enable our audience to better understand the space we work in.

The series gives people a sense of what we can do with the tools and innovation available to us now – we talk about it and the term gets used, but the challenge is how to make the different applications and innovations more tangible. SAP StreamWork is an easy way to explore that new genre of learning. It allows us to quickly show value and engage within an organization in new and different ways and for organizations to interact differently with each other. It’s a method to introduce a new way of working that we are all quite comfortable with outside of the workplace and how that can be introduced at the office. We’re all familiar with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and similar social channels at home. We’re able to share, learn, find and solve with these new tools in ways we never could have imagined 15 years ago. Now, the expectations of the enterprise are catching up to the expectations at home. SAP StreamWork is a safe and easy way for businesses to collaborate, providing a functional format in a workplace setting.

During the September 13 webcast, our discussion centered around how to define social learning, the impact on  folks who are responsible for social learning in a company and examples of how organizations are using social learning to change their business practices. Our featured speaker was Ben Brooks, vice president and practice leader of Human Capital Performance at Marsh. Ben spoke with us about how people can get over the fear of managing this more flexible way of learning along with recommended ways to get started.

For years people have shared information that wasn’t filtered (water-cooler chatter, on-the-job training, etc.) and it’s true that we don’t always pass along the most accurate information; instead, it’s human nature to pass along what we know. But now, we have the appropriate vehicles required to capture and share information more quickly than ever before, as well as the ability to catch the mistakes, as we have documentation on our side. Today, we can self-police and hold ourselves accountable. In fact, most users of Wikipedia are consumers; it’s a very small percentage who review and update to ensure accuracy, making great information available to many.

I believe corporations rely on SAP as a foundation for how to run their business from a data, transactional, reporting and information perspective. In the same way that foundation allows them to innovate and thrive, SAP StreamWork creates a more fluid and collaborative environment, extending that foundation beyond the data that drives their businesses and providing a more personal way of engaging with SAP. It allows collaboration within and outside of the walls of an organization, creating much more interesting alternatives of how to work and grow. It enables collaboration, decision-making, shared development and social learning with no upfront development.

This is business in the moment – organizations are looking for what they need when they need it in order to effectively run their businesses. SAP StreamWork gives the user or learner just that, whereas in the past they had no access to any sort of tool-set or reinforcement.

To keep up with the series, please join us for our two remaining webcasts. The next will be held on October 18 with guest speaker Susan Miller from Brown Shoe and will focus on training. We’ll explore what it means to the training department when we fully embrace new tools, approaches and methods, and we’ll discuss how that will change the way people learn and how we manage innovation within a company.

The final webcast will be held on November 8 and is entitled “Learning 2020.” Our guest speaker is from General Mills and we’ll be looking further ahead at organizations leading the charge toward what could be possible, and talk about our expectations as individuals. We’re just catching up to that in the workplace due to security and other factors, but there are a handful of organizations that are already achieving this. This conversation asks, “Where could we be? What could the future look like?”

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