POINT-of-WORK: Optimizing the Wasteland of Lost Wisdom and Insights

How many times has a colleague sent you an email with an attached article they found relevant and insightful with the suggestion that you read it to gain those same insights? And how many times have you set it aside because you did not have the time to slog through the entire article to boost your own wisdom and uncover those nuggets of insight? How many of those lost opportunities to gain insight get lost in the stack of “to read later” documents? How many well-intended exchanges of “wisdom” and “insight” never get consumed or applied at Point-of-Work because the velocity of workflow demands divert our attentions to other more pressing priorities? Are we guilty of creating and perpetuating a wasteland of critical, actionable information?

These questions illustrate a common problem that limits productivity acceleration at Point-of-Work. My “to read later” stack has exceeded my ability to read later, and the sad reality is that if I had had access to the relevant nuggets of insight buried within, I could’ve have scanned the insight and made an informed decision to apply the insight at first opportunity…and never have to read the whole article to extract it.

The time is upon us to converge actionable information and insights at the moment of need and at the Point-of-Work. This is not always a training issue, nor is it a job aid or an instruction set, it’s sharing of human wisdom and intelligence gained through actionable insights. This represents a paradigm shift to embrace new best practices that enable a new point of connection at the moment of need. Sadly, this is out-of-scope of our existing training paradigm and out of our realm of thinking. That’s a problem!  

But consider this…could or should L&D have a role in optimizing this wasteland? In my opinion, I believe it is the next generation of learning. John Burge and Bob Danna of Pandexio describe it as “Empowering the Next Generation Workforce” through to use of a, “insight-powered, critical thinking engine called SmartSnips. Why not equip L&D instructional designers with the enabling capability to become “intentional designers” and embed insights inside a searchable, moment of need infrastructure?

Sounds like a great idea, but how do we define “intentional”? That answer is based upon assessing Point-of-Work to map ecosystem requirements specific to those attributes of the work environment restraining sustained human performance. Certainly, some of that may be knowledge and skills oriented…some of it may be performance support needed directly in the workflow…and some of it requires insights and wisdom-oriented assets. Without assessing the Point-of-Work to discover these performance restraining attributes, we default to doing what we do today – develop training. We leverage instructional design frameworks to design instructional content. That’s not wrong…it’s just not enough! The ecosystem is bigger than knowledge transfer through training and we have a responsibility to overcome the limits of the existing paradigm to address Point-of-Work aggressively.

I’m convinced our wasteland is not optimized because we are paying to much attention to “knowledge and skills transfer” …a.k.a. Training. It’s more than that, and it lives closer…if not in the middle of…Point-of-Work.

It’s a fact that every organization has a dynamic learning performance ecosystem in place today. The question that matters most is simply “How optimized is it?” Our job…L&D’s job…must evolve to address “the rest of the learning performance ecosystem”. We take steps to innovate knowledge and skills transfer…we converge learning with work with contextually delivered performance support. We cannot stop there…the third leg of that stool points us toward enabling accessible, relevant and effective moment-of-need wisdom and insights into the arsenal of performance enabling tools to apply at Point-of-Work. Is your L&D org at a state of readiness…are they optimized…to address the rest of the ecosystem?

As always, I welcome comments, thoughts and ideas should any insights shared here trip your trigger. Also, remember the recent LinkedIn Network Group – “POINT-of-WORK Performance Support Solutions“. Join us to share discussions and insights with other colleagues on the journey to optimize our respective ecosystems.

Thanks for reading!


Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker
(317) 437-2555
Web: Living In Learning