Manageris @ Paris, France – March 2011 to June 2014
The challenge we solved was the creation of cloud-computing enabled virtual coaches designed to motivate executives in large established organizations to engage in sustained personal development.
In my innovation role at Manageris, I worked closely with organizational learning experts, global human resource professionals, and end-user executives in corporate firms to develop a new breed of digital coaches and management toolkits. These digital platforms were designed to foster more open and nonhierarchical values, and result in increased levels of intra-organizational trust. To continue to enjoy competitive advantage, organizations need to transform their structures, processes and cultures in ways that generate favorable conditions conducive to group participation and creativity.
Presently in France, where 95 percent of employees are trained in classrooms via offsite programs, digital tools are normally either simple document repositories or passive e-learning modules. Such 'add-ons' are included in the overall price of a training program and often offer little strategic value to the training providers, the sponsoring organizations, or the trainees themselves.
Working with a German insurer and a French bank (Allianz and Société Générale), our team designed and implemented a digital coach to motivate busy executives to continue their development beyond the classroom and practice what they had learned in the real-world. This led to the creation of an initial prototype that was tested and refined repeatedly with pilot groups over a 9-month period.
We discovered the following keys to successful adoption:
Make it stick — leverage the momentum directly after an offsite training session and foster quick-wins in under 3 minutes that drive new behaviors
Make it relevant — connect practice actions to everyday management challenges
Make it personal — provide timely feedback to executives on individual progress and regular encouragement via personalized emails
Make it flexible — offer a balance of structure and freedom and non-linear learning paths
Make it easy to play and deploy — empower corporate buyers to experience the virtual coach first-hand
We discovered the following reasons for the incomplete transfer of learning:
Low motivation — executives often do not realize their personal and professional self-interest in culture-building and leadership development
Work overload — executives tend to be “too busy” to give these initiatives their attention
Distaste for e-learning — executives are inclined to be hesitant towards online experiences because of their previous disappointing exposure to e-learning modules
Biases towards status quo — corporate buyers are often risk-adverse and choose to invest their dollars where they have previously done so
Today the virtual coach, available in English and French, is marketed through a joint partnership between Manageris and Korn/Ferry International (specialized in providing leadership and talent consulting services). The business model is based on a per user subscription fee in addition to an initial set-up fee per organization. Twenty thousand executives have experienced the service since January 2013 — with a 95 percent satisfaction rate.