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Creating Self-Learning Cultures

By Ken Sinclair

Our February column was entitled “Growing Our Only Asset — Our People.  How do we motivate them to be curious and passionate?” This post generated lots of interest and comments from the industry, much of which was captured on social media. Thanks for your interest and input. Please read “The Amazing Response to February Column.”

To achieve the ability to grow our assets — our people — we need to create a self-learning culture within our companies and communities. But how do we create them? How do we use them to increase the value of our only assets — our people? For the last year, I have been exploring ideas in my editorials on how we might achieve this. Some of these editorials are: “Autodidacticism,”  “Creating Your Collaboration,”  “The 'I of Me' of IoT,” and “Education for Your Vocation.”

I have become obsessed with the question of how do we grow our industry younger and create self-learning cultures because I believe this is our only future. I have also learned that these younger minds need not learn everything we know because much of what we all have done as an industry and a lifetime is create standards, protocols, and best practices. They only need to know which of these worked well and move on from there. Experienced folks in the industry need to relearn how to teach in the IoT world.  We need to learn how these younger folks learn because they are our only asset for growth. We need to get inside their heads, learn how to use all the communication mediums of our time ... yes, the complete myriad of social media platforms ... never thought I would say that, but it is true.

Another self-learning-culture effort of ours in a collaboratory outreach had its third year in Chicago at AHRExpo: Connection Community Collaboratory. The Chicago event went very well. The videos created by ControlTrends.org capture the wisdom and insights of our panel of thought leaders. They continue our journey from our far side of the IoT world to the daily communications of the young folks’ phones, passing valuable information and wisdom on fresh and current issues depicted on one of the communication mediums of today - YouTube and Vimeo.

I have just recently committed to working through the evolving learning system of a young consulting company as the next new employee, so that I can learn to think younger, learn to try to think like them. I will share my thoughts about this journey.

My first look and touch at their online training has been an amazing eye opener for me. No wonder we have such a large skills gap; we have no idea how their cultures work and interact.

I will keep you posted on my journey but the first step for us all is very, very clear. If we want these young minds in our world we need to stop thinking old traditional thoughts about how we are going to teach them with our war stories, and learn much more about their world and how they are likely to learn.

I have started and posted an unfinished article, “The Need to Know, Show and Grow,” that I will post in several social media posts and see if I can get the industry to help finish.

I came across a web site called the BigThink, it seems to deal well with identifying some of the tasks necessary to create a self-learning culture. Their material and web site, although promotional, raise many good questions we all need to address as an industry.

• How can we develop learning programs that will result in better recruitment, retention, and employee satisfaction?
• How can we convince key stakeholders that these programs will lead to company-wide success?
• How do we secure the resources needed to implement these programs?

Part 2: The Next Big Thing In Building Automation

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posted on 3/2/2015