POINT-of-WORK: Disruptions from Adopting “Intentional Design” Practices

Part of adopting a Point-of-Work Solution Discipline includes design...intentional design that is…of the assets used at moments of need. In a recent blog post, Chasing Productivity or Accelerating Productivity, I received a number of comments and several great questions specific to “What Is Intentional Design?” As often is the case, one blog post spawns another, and offers a chance to key on points that trigger comments and questions. Adopting Intentional Design practices is a non-disruptive disruption. Now that that is cleared up, I’d like to explain how a disruption can be non-disruptive.

Intentional Design – ID does not replace Instructional Systems Design – ISD; rather, it enhances and expands ISD by looking through a longer lens (greater magnification like a telephoto lens) to gain clarity of what lies beyond the scope of Training solutions. What we see downstream and post-training is a dynamic workplace where moments of need are as discreet as the knowledge workers who confront them. I’ve coined the phrase – Point-of-Work – and it is the source of diverse needs for both performance agility and responsiveness to the dynamics and urgency of workflow challenges.

This longer lens shapes a new perspective (here’s the disruption part…) that requires an evolved approach several key areas:

  • Solution Pre-Design DiscoveryPoint-of-Work Assessment
  • Solution Design – Intentional design to inform ISD
  • Solution Delivery – Productivity Acceleration Technology
  • Solution Impact – Utilization of solution assets & Measurable outcomes at level 3&4

Certainly, there are some disruptions implied in the list above, but sheltering all of our eggs in the Training discipline basket limits our impact downstream at Point-of-Work where measurable business outcomes are sought. Considering we are making an omelet with different ingredients, we can imagine an egg or two may be disrupted.

Solution Pre-Design Discovery

ISD roles are largely not disrupted. Storyboards are still a steady diet; however, they may actually be targeting smaller and more concise assets. The real challenge surfaces when we consider “smaller and more concise” for what reason(s). Our primary ground zero being Point-of-Work implies we must assess the attributes that are restraining consistent performance, and as history shows, not every performance challenge begets a training content solution.

While content assets will be part of any solution, the greater need for ISD pre-design clarity rests upon the context of the workflow and ALL attributes causing impeded performance. The Point-of-Work Assessment – PWA is “intentionally designed” to do exactly that – precede ISD routines and inform how context-sensitive assets are designed…based on how those assets are delivered…and how the assets impact value generation.

Solution Design

The solution product is designed “intentionally” to enable sustained performance at moments of need and most often at Point-of-Work. Those solution assets are not, in and of themselves, training assets; they are characteristically Just enough – Just in time – Just for me and accessible in the workflow using productivity acceleration technology. If designed appropriately, those very same assets are used during formal training in experiential, scenario-based exercises that mirror Point-of-Work and applied using the same acceleration technology. We “intentionally” bring Point-of-Work into Point-of-Entry (Training).

The assets designed intentionally enable immediate access with “Just enough” information to overcome a moment of need that is usually task-centric & role-specific. Under these conditions it’s easy to see how small and targeted these assets really are. Being that small and diverse and numerous based on the universe of tasks and discreet roles, another disruption surfaces. How in the world do we author these assets…how can we deliver this flood of assets…how do we keep these assets current…how do we integrate these assets into Training and Point-of-Work simultaneously…how do we ensure access to them are seamless, frictionless, and ubiquitous?

Solution Delivery

Legacy learning technology like the LMS has a role and continue to have a role, though becoming more secondary as a delivery tool. The LMS is great for launching compliance eLearning like Fire Safety courses, but not for Point-of-Work urgency like “hair on fire”. There are no business risks or urgency to perform experienced during formal training; it’s a safe environment. We’re very good at this, and we can prove our activity level and success, but only at evaluation levels 1 & 2. We will always need the LMS for this kind of tracking and training history, but Productivity Acceleration Technology offers the best Just enough – Just in time – Just for me solutions that are agile and responsive enough to address the immediacy within workflow challenges.

Intentionally-designed Solution assets vary based upon moments of need; hence the essential nature of the PWA. Some moments of need are tactical in nature and the solutions are called Performance Support. Cloud-based Digital Productivity Acceleration Platforms – PAP enable the seamless, frictionless and ubiquitous accessibility at the moment of need AND contextually inside the application workflow. Bob Mosher describes contextual delivery as successful if accomplished within “2-clicks or 10-seconds”.

What about strategic asset solution delivery where moments of need require optimized speed-to-insight essential for supporting critical thinking and informed decision-making? Cloud-based Digital Insight Curation Engines – ICE become the technology of choice. Curation is popular today but is also a source of a glut of bulk knowledge that overwhelms our knowledge workers.

Whether PAP or ICE assets are integrated, it remains foundational that they are all intentionally designed based upon accurately defined attributes at Point-of-Work that represent the source(s) of root cause behind performance deficiency.

Solution Impact

Collecting data is the rage these days, and as is often the case, more is collected than is of value. Why? Because we can. Virtually every enterprise system produces utilization data. Virtually all of them are API-capable and can pass data to data warehouse and business intelligence technology. Tracking performance data is enabled through xAPI and Learning Record Stores – LRS and all can populate performance dashboards. Both PAP and ICE have on-board analytics that track asset utilization as well as user engagement.

All this tracking capability is well and good provided a plan is in place to confirm the right data is captured and for the right reasons. Again, the PWA addresses Impact/Analytics as part of the discovery assessment to ensure our analytics addiction is controlled and…intentional.

Closing Thoughts

So…is intentional design disruptive or non-disruptive? The simple answer is “YES!” I hope you can see that intentional design is much greater than instructional design in scope and application.

  • PWA is intentionally-designed for the L&D Performance Strategists to assess their respective Points-of-Work prior to collaborating on design requirements with ISD.
  • ISD uses intentional design informed by PWA assessment findings to build asset solutions for both Point-of-Work application as well as formal Training.
  • Integration of Productivity Acceleration Technologies are intentionally designed to scale with digital transformation initiatives and on-going performance challenge priorities in keeping with start small – then scale best practices.
  • Impact and Analytics data are captured and analyzed based upon intentionally designed evaluation plans.

There is another aspect of intentional design I refuse to put into just another bullet because it is foundational to successful and sustainable adoption of a performance paradigm. I could argue it’s the longer lens I mentioned in the beginning of this post, but it’s more than that. It’s the motivation…the commitment…the willingness…the readiness…to shift from a Culture of Learning to a holistic Culture of Performance.

Let’s stipulate learning is going to take place…countless thought-leaders confirm learning happens by doing…and direct our energies toward our knowledge workers in the doing @Point-of-Workintentionally…of course.

Thanks for reading. As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments and ideas. Also, please consider joining the Point-of-Work Solution Discipline LinkedIn networking group.


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