A few days ago I read Jane Hart’s post sharing what she calls The 10 Tools Challenge. I love the idea and will definitely be participating. In short, the challenge consists of four parts:
- Choose 10 new tools to explore this year. The tools should be something that you can use personally or professionally.
- Commit to the challenge publicly. Blog about it, tweet about it, post a facebook post about it… you get the idea. I’d also suggest adding a comment to Jane’s post to identify yourself as part of the challenge community.
- Share your thoughts and experiences on exploring each new tool.
- At the end of the year, share your reflections on the entire experience.
Most of the reflecting and sharing would likely be best suited for a blog, so as Jane suggests in her post, if you don’t already have one, perhaps a blog would be one of the tools to start with.
I love opportunities like this. They provide a great structure for expanding our knowledge and skills. They also provide a great opportunity to reduce a risk I find we often fall into in Learning and Development.
Too often we find ourselves trying to fit the proverbial square peg into the round hole. When presented with a problem, it’s human nature to use the knowledge, skills, and tools at readily at your disposal to try and solve it. The problem is, many in our industry have a very limited selection of tools from which to choose from. We have competency in some well-established methods (such as building a classroom-based workshop or and elearning course) so we usually apply those tools to almost every problem.
In addition, in today’s business climate most of us don’t have the luxury to look at a problem and research different tools that best address the performance issue. We live in a world of NOW. By the time the performance need comes up, it’s already too late to try and find a tool that can be leveraged as part of a solution.
That’s why I like a challenge like this. This challenge involves looking at tools that could benefit you in your personal or professional life. As we look at these tools, natural connections will form to the past, to projects and tasks that might have been easier or accomplished more effectively had the tool you’re exploring been applied to it.
That, to me, is the real value of this challenge. At the end of this year you’ll be familiar and skilled with at least ten new tools. That’s ten new tools that your brain will automatically apply to future problems. It enhances your ability to apply the right tools to the right tasks.
Personally, I’m going to use this challenge to formalize some of what I’ve already been planning for 2013. I’ve got a passion for curation as a growing competency in learning and development, and while I’ve grown familiar with popular tools like Scoop.it and Storify, there are countless other curation tools to explore.
I’m sure at some point during the year I’ll explore other non-curation tools as part of this challenge; after all, we should always be looking to explore things outside of our comfort zone. But for now, I’m looking forward to accepting this challenge and diving into a few lesser-known curation tools.
I hope you too accept Jane’s challenge. I look forward to learning from the reflections of those that do.