No doubt you’ve worked with many sharp, competent people in learning. Here are my choices of five innovative people with exceptional expertise.
Research-based expert: Peter Orton’s learning innovations at IBM — Edvisor, IBM QuickViews, QuickCases, online simulators and IBM’s 4-tier blend — have won every major industry award and are used throughout IBM and by IBM’s external clients. Orton believes fervently that learning interventions must be based on solid research findings. The research tactics he uses include interviews, focus groups and surveys, as well as rigorous scrutiny of refereed journal articles, conference papers, academic programs and other publications of scientific rigor providing evidence on a particular design element.
“Our job is to change learners’ behavior to improve business results,” Orton said. “Sometimes it’s a distraction how jazzy and innovative a program or application may be. What matters is, does it transfer skills and knowledge to the workplace?”
He is exceptionally smart, deeply researches a topic, writes a paper on his findings and then applies the lessons to innovative solutions.
Productivity guru: David Allen, chairman of the David Allen Co., is a world-recognized expert and speaker on workplace workflow productivity. Allen trains people to master workflow, projects and priorities — all critical skills in today’s workplace. His book, Getting Things Done, has sold more than a million copies and has been translated into 30 languages. His latest book is Making It All Work. Allen delivers many speeches, and his team offers seminars and follow-up consulting. His method has been used by organizations such as BMW America and Microsoft. Allen has redefined time management and personal productivity with his straightforward, effective workflow methods. I admire his intellect and capacity for developing new ways to spread the word. At the very least, I recommend you get a copy of his book.
Results-orientated teams: Will Ellis of Common Ground Consulting works with VP-level teams to drive results. He has provided organizations such as Honeywell, the FBI and the Department of State with team-building and innovative learning experiences. Ellis found what works best for building teams is to start with a one- or two-day team-building event so all members have a shared commitment to the goals. He then attends the quarterly or monthly team meetings, facilitating action planning based on those business goals.
He follows up on previous action plans for maximum accountability. His strength is in providing team-building events, and he does not hesitate holding people’s feet to the fire on their action plans in a way that results in long-term, sustainable change. This is an individual consultant you can trust.
Mind-body developer: Richard Strozzi-Heckler of the Strozzi Institute takes a unique approach to leadership and mastery of self by working with the body, as well as the mind. He is not well-known but has a unique approach that incorporates physical practices with conceptual learning. Strozzi-Heckler has worked with Cisco Systems, Pfizer, Barnes & Noble and several U.S. Special Forces teams, and trains executives on how to excel by emphasizing embodied practices to align their commitments, body, language and meaning.
His work is difficult to describe, but I can say from personal experience that his work is among the most unique and powerful I have experienced. Strozzi-Heckler has authored several books and offers a number of public programs for individuals.
Instructional design champion: Ruth Clark of Clark Consulting is a respected instructional design expert with a commitment to teaching trainers a strong, evidence-based methodology. From getting people started in training to testing and evaluating e-learning, Clark has helped organizations apply sound instructional strategies for many years. Her public seminars include needs assessment for performance technologists, ways to leverage the virtual classroom and the design of scenario-based lessons. She is known in the industry as an expert in applying cognitive instructional methods to traditional training and e-learning.
Clark has said that she feels learning professionals need to first understand the way the mind works during learning before developing a course. She is a professional who drives professionalism in others. She also is one of the brightest, nicest professionals I know, and she has made a major impact through her seminars and books.
These five people have had an impact on me, and I hope you find them to be valuable resources in your work.
Thanks to Janet Clarey who provided valuable research for this column.Filed under: Technology