10th December, 2020
By Peter Kirkby
Oxford is launching a new 'smart' commercial hub that delivers blended working and learning, called OxfordLIVE.
It’s clear that ways of working and travel aren’t going to go back to where they were anytime soon, and more likely never.
So there’s a growing realisation that the ‘plasters’ we all put in place to make things work since March need to become more permanent solutions if we’re going to have the impact and results we need.
“we’re getting better quality output and faster”
For an organisation like ours that’s used to spending lots of time with clients and their teams to co-create and deliver solutions, this has meant some big change, even if we’ve worked virtually as a company since we were founded 35 years ago.
What’s probably surprised us most is that the impact we’re having virtually is often greater than when we were doing lots of face-to-face. This is particularly true of things that benefit from a bit of space and the right pace like growth planning and learning - rather than artificially compressing it onto a one or two day workshop because ‘that’s when we’re all going to get together’.
Spacing it over a few days with say 2 hour sessions and focused work in between means “we’re getting better quality output and faster” as one Australian MD remarked. More ‘new better’ than ‘new normal’.
"More ‘new better’ than ‘new normal’"
But the challenge we’re hearing clients talk about is how to make sure there is a more systemic and manageable way of driving engagement and impact.
In this virtual world, it’s sometimes proving harder to really sustain the quality of things like plans that are needed, or drive initiatives through the organisation, or build the capabilities that teams and people need. There’s also the logistical pain of managing lots of virtual interventions and across different time zones – workshops felt far easier!
So ad hoc plasters might have worked for the last 9 months or so, but now it feels like we need a more permanent and systemic fix.
We think we’ve got something that can help - a smart commercial hub that delivers blended working and learning which we call OxfordLIVE.
It’s a one stop shop for:
- On-line working collaboration and co-creation of things like global / local growth planning and longer-term strategy
- Blended learning journeys which combine self-learning, virtual classrooms, expert coaching and peer-to-peer learning
- All the resources and help that people need to do these things as and when they need them
OxfordLIVE combines our expertise in cracking strategy, planning and capability challenges with a learning system powered by industry leader, CrossKnowledge, the most awarded learning system at the 2020 global Brandon Hall Awards.
What makes OxfordLIVE different is the:
- Structured combination of in-person facilitation and coaching with social and self-learning
- Flexibility in the creation of working or learning journeys - no fixed number of ‘steps’ or interactions
- Ability to integrate a wide mix of resources - video, text, documents - from both internal and external sources (e.g. TED)
- Granularity of the tracking and measurement to give rich insight for engagement
- Access to a huge library of soft skills development from leadership, to empathy and negotiation skills
And the reason we’re finding it works for the systemic impact people are looking for is because it delivers ‘blended working’. There’s been ‘blended learning’, but what this new approach gives us is the ability to insert help and learning into the daily workflow, exactly when it’s needed and most impactful, since working and learning are happening in the same place.
Within this, it:
- Drives engagement for better working and learning
- Encourages sharing socially for effective collaboration
- Helps content to be applied so that there’s more doing vs just knowing
- Enables continuous improvement through tracking and measuring actual behaviour
Beyond this, for those people sitting centrally who have to coordinate the delivery of this sort of stuff, it makes managing email lists with clarity on who done / not done what for example, super easy. It’ll also work with any existing platform you have.
We started the OxfordLIVE journey well before COVID hit since we saw the difference it could help make in clients.
What we hadn’t expected through COVID was that collaborating on and delivering the right things virtually could sometimes have more impact than face-to-face.
What it’s taught us and some of our clients is that things like OxfordLIVE are less about helping the ‘new normal’, and more about creating the ‘new better’.
To find out more about how OxfordLive can help with your strategy, planning and capability challenges, please get in touch.
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