Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't "educate." Incent.

The purpose of "education" is new behavior.

In a school the desired new behavior is the ability to solve problems. The best evidence for logical thinking is writing. The best evidence for problem solving is emitted when students are given proximate problems that they successfully solve.

In the world of commerce the desired new behavior is either making a purchase or solving the proximate problem of getting more and better revenue. It's much easier with people who have made the time to show up. That's the evidence that incentives are in place.

The most reliable way to induce new behavior in both the school world and the commercial world is with
A. a well defined problem,
B. a clear path to get from here to there and
C. appropriate incentives.

It is not about a transferring a body of knowledge. It's mostly about not being distracted by the noise and knowing what to do next.

Correctly conceived and implemented long term incentives do wonders to focus attention. "What to do next" can often be captured in a simple list.

Free Advice:
For the next gathering that is meant to "educate".
1. Spend 15 minutes getting to a well-defined problem.
2. Spend 15 minutes brainstorming about possible solutions.
3. Spend 15 minutes making a list of what each person in the room can do on Monday morning.

If your purpose is to sell boxes - of machines or software - hand out one page Paper with a minimum of graphics with the following items:
1. the most appropriate use case you have
2. the all in cost of different options and
3. the estimated time to install
4. A person's contact information to continue the conversation. Email and mobile are best.
Given the possibilities of VDP this should be easy to implement. If it's too hard to have the Paper at the meeting, give them a link, let them fill out the info, deliver a PDF that eliminates No 1 in the list above.

Hint: Use cases should Not be in the form of "Challenge" . ."Solution" "Result". Instead they should be in the form of vignettes. To see what really good vignettes are like read Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change How the World Learns . If you have a Kindle you can download it in 60 seconds. If you don't have a Kindle, check out the video. until you get a chance to read the book.

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