Patterns of flow

What if you build it and they do not come?

Reda Sadki Design

We understand the yearning to find a low-cost or no-cost way to spontaneously create a thriving community of practice in which participants engage intensively, volunteer undue amounts of time and effort to keeping the community alive, support other members, and make use of the resources and sharing that emerge. I have seen many ambitious projects assume that establishing a digital platform will, in and of itself, enable the processes that are needed. This almost never happens, except in rare circumstances when a fortuitous but accidental sequence of events has prompted stakeholders in exactly the right order, at the right time, and at the point of need. In our experience, a significant upfront investment is needed for a community to be forged successfully. This investment is not required for the technology platforms but, rather, to support the intensive design and facilitation required to crack the complex equation between motivation, demand and …

Colorful paint splash

Imagining a new kind of community of practice

Reda Sadki Design, Writing

Busy managers may enjoy connecting socially and exchanging informally with their peers. However, they are likely to find it difficult to justify time doing so. They may say “I’m too busy” but what they usually mean is that the opportunity cost is too high. The Achilles heel of communities of practice is that – just like formal training – they require managers to stop work in order to learn. They break the flow of learning in work. Incentives or perks may help substitute for intrinsic motivation, but these will be counter-productive, if only because they establish expectations that are difficult to meet over time. Instead, we earn trust and establish relevance by providing services in ways that save time and help solve their business problems. During the inaugural phase, this is similar to a ‘conciergerie’ service, at the beck and call of the managers who just need to ‘push a …

Peter Paul Rubens. From 1577 to 1640. Antwerp. Medusa's head. KHM Vienna.

Experience and blended learning: two heads of the humanitarian training chimera

Reda Sadki Design, Events, Learning design, Learning strategy, Thinking aloud

Experience is the best teacher, we say. This is a testament to our lack of applicable quality standards for training and its professionalization, our inability to act on what has consequently become the fairly empty mantra of 70-20-10, and the blinders that keep the economics (low-volume, high-cost face-to-face training with no measurable outcomes pays the bills of many humanitarian workers, and per diem feeds many trainees…) of humanitarian education out of the picture. We are still dropping people into the deep end of the pool (i.e., mission) and hoping that they somehow figure out how to swim. We are where the National Basketball Association in the United States was in 1976. However, if the Kermit Washingtons in our space were to call our Pete Newells (i.e., those of us who design, deliver, or manage humanitarian training), what do we have to offer? The corollary to this question is why no one seems to care? How …