As a thought experiment, what would organisational learning look like, if we became Deliveroo?
There are some similarities in the ambition. We want to deliver:
- learning “in the workplace” – we go to them, at their convenience, they don’t come to us. Same as Deliveroo.
- “just in time” learning – we provide it exactly when the customer wants it, not too early, and not too late. Same as Deliveroo.
- a wide choice of learning – for all tastes and appetites, not from a restricted single menu. Same as Deliveroo.
On one level we could just give everybody a lynda.com subscription and let them search for a useful video any time they felt the need. But that’s like keeping the Domino’s leaflet by the phone. It meets some specific needs, but a continual diet of pizza (video) would get monotonous. I’m talking about actual face-to-face delivery.
I’m not, however, talking about lycra-clad skills trainers bombing down your office corridors on road bikes, sachel of training materials + portable flipchart on their back, to deliver a short skills workshop at 10 minutes’ notice. Although I do like the image. Maybe that’s the way it happens at Google.
But how about, slightly more feasibly:
- having a menu of, say, 30 short workshops across a range of generic skills and common organisational requests (“can you help us to get a project going?” “we need something on time management” etc)
- having a team of facilitators who can deliver them at short notice
- having an app for teams to order them (ok, maybe a helpdesk number, or an email address)
Let’s say your team has a big proposal going to the Board next week. At your team meeting on Monday, you realise you need a refresher on presentation skills. You call the L&D team and the facilitator agrees to turn up on Thursday morning – to run a two-hour session based on some generic learning, but also giving you a chance to practise and to get instant feedback on your presentation.
If this seems like science fiction, then you are living in Restaurant World: you have set opening times, you have an a la carte menu which changes every now and then, with occasional specials, and people have to make reservations. They come to you, of course.
But if this sounds like what you already do, how about the more radical versions of Learning & Deliveroo:
- could you deliver within an hour?
- could you provide recipes of such clarity, and ingredients of such quality, that teams could run their own sessions without worrying about your availability?
For those worrying about the pay and health of the lycra-clad facilitators, hanging around anxiously, drinking coffee, toying with their Sharpies and watching the L&D app for incoming requests for performance appraisal refreshers, I think they would actually be in a happier place. Being to able to see your impact on, and relevance to people’s work is pretty motivating. Having to adapt material quickly is fun. Running down the corridors keeps you fit.
I may have overlooked some practicalities around contracts, pools of available facilitators, and whether the best people in the field hang around with nothing better to do than wait for commissions. That’s OK, this isn’t a reality-based blog.
What do you think? Could we learn from Deliveroo? Or from any other apps, for that matter?