Learning innovation: the next frontier in building capability

Have you incorporated virtual or augmented reality into your learning programmes? What about a reverse mentoring scheme? These are just some of the innovative methods our clients have adopted this year to help them achieve ambitious capability development goals. Here we share some tips from our work with clients who have boldly gone there…

Customer Reality becomes Virtual Reality

Our client, a huge telecoms business with a large marketing team felt their marketers had become too focused on operations. They wanted them to reconnect with their customers to create stronger growth. They wanted people to recognise the impact of their individual role on the customer experience, and to encourage the behaviours that would create enduring customer focus among the team.

Our brief was to deliver a face-to-face learning workshop – with all the benefits of bringing teams together, overcoming the silos that all too often develop in large organisations – while also providing participants with a visceral customer experience.

We created a Virtual Reality experience. Participants experienced first-hand a customer choosing a fast food restaurant, joining a queue and ultimately getting frustrated and leaving before ordering. This powerfully primed participants to reflect on what influences the customer journey and experience. Take, for example, the loyalty message on the customer’s cell phone that backfires as they stand frustrated in a long slow line to order. By making this virtual reality rather than say a film, not only did it have memorable novelty, but it also handed control to the individual participants. They chose where to look, they focused on what they wanted to observe – and so unlocked another customer truth: there is no single experience, and as a marketer you cannot assume your view is the only reality.

In addition to the VR, we developed an Augmented Reality customer journey in which teams could jump into the customer’s experience at many different moments. For example, they listened to a call with a customer service representative; they watched a customer attempt to activate their new SIM card and saw their YouTube review.
Both methods brought the voice of the customer into the workshops in a fun, intriguing and sensory way. Learners were truly engaged, and throughout the day were rewarded using a gamification approach, for modelling the right kind of customer centric behaviours.
Top tip? Be willing to experiment. Give yourself, as our client did, the time and space for a pilot so you can optimise the user experience and build confidence before rollout.

Reverse Mentoring – make it so!

This client, a leading global consumer goods company, wanted to create a reverse mentoring programme. Their goals were to build the know-how of senior leaders in analytics and digital, and to create an opportunity for their millennial mentors to influence the culture of the business.

The concept of reverse mentoring has taken off in recent years, originally championed by Jack Welch. But creating a successful approach takes planning, structure, and competency-building among both mentors and mentees. Here are some of the elements we used:

- A self-discovery tool with diagnostic questions around the use of social media platforms, ensuring mentee and mentor had a share view of the starting point
- An engagement pack that guided the paired participants on contracting between themselves at the start of their journey
- Support for the mentors, a forum for their questions and advice on directing the flow of the conversation over time with their mentees

When learning is child's play

Another consumer goods company we work with, in the baby products market, had a goal to immerse their marketers in a deep knowledge of their consumer segments. They wanted to find a creative way to inspire their teams to keep exploring consumers’ lives.

Inspired by the fact that play is one of the main ways children learn, they wholeheartedly embraced the concept of play as a way to steep marketers in the lives of their consumers. Teams took part in a series of “playdates” all designed around a different mode of play, that helped them learn about consumer mums. These included competitive play (bingo), dramatic play (role play) and constructive play, to name a few. The latter was an extremely ‘sticky’ learning experience for participants who had to rush around a kitchen getting ready for the day ahead and packing a day bag with a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old clamouring for attention the whole while!

The secrets of success? Fun was an essential ingredient in making this an absorbing learning process, but learners were also prompted to reflect on their experiences with the help of take-away cards that explained the context behind each stage. And for peace of mind, a dress rehearsal gives everyone the opportunity to ensure a seamless and hitch free event!

Learning isn’t about gimmicks, but it is about memorable experiences. Experimenting with new techniques is inspiring for learning creators and participants alike.
So, what’s your final frontier? Are you ready to go there?


BRAND LEARNING: Inspiring people. Lifting capabilities. Growing organisations.