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The 3 Reasons I’m so Excited About Building the Tribe Academy (and you should be too)

Picture the scene. It's November, I’m two weeks into the job as Product Education Manager at Fuse, and FuseTribe20 – our huge autumn event is imminent. And then Steve Dineen, our CEO and Chief Storyteller walks up to me and says, ‘Next week, I’d like you to present at our Tribe 20 event and talk about the Academy.’
"Awesome," I croaked. "I’d love to…"
Was I nervous? Hell yes! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. Being asked to stand up and speak to a room of 130+ L&D pros can be nerve-racking even if you're a veteran. And it wasn’t like I couldn’t say no – in fact, I had any number of excuses to back down:

  • I knew little about Fuse
  • I knew little about L&D
  • I knew little about the audience
  • I had little time to prep
  • I was still struggling to remember the names of my colleagues, let alone all of you!

…and the list could go on. But I didn’t say no, I said yes – and it's all down to three things. They’re what makes my role the most exciting in the world. Better yet, they can make any role as exciting as mine.
So, just how did I turn my nerves into excitement, and excitement to opportunity? Let me explain.

Reason #1: Don’t Stop Me Now

At the beginning of 2019, I watched the film Bohemian Rhapsody with my family. It was what happened in the days, weeks, months after the movie that fuelled me to join the Fuse team. Immediately after the movie, Ashton, my 13-year-old son, rushed upstairs. A few minutes later, there was the familiar whirl of the printer, a rustle from the pen pot, then more thunder as he rushed back to his bedroom.
An hour later, we heard parts of the iconic Freddie Mercury piano score from Live Aid. We laughed as we figured he'd found a YouTube video to watch. We were mistaken.
Ashton – who had never touched a piano in his life – had dragged our old keyboard out of storage and, with the help of YouTube tutorials, had started to learn Bohemian Rhapsody. Our jaws dropped to the floor.
They dropped further when a week later, he said that he’d ran out of keys; he’d already reached the limitations of that old keyboard, which now had the names of the notes scrawled in Sharpie ink. Ashton had pooled the resources he had available and found a way to learn what he wanted to learn on his terms; what my wife and I had shrugged off as a very enthusiastic teenager, turned out to be one very self-motivated learner.
He's since got a full-size keyboard, learned many other songs, played in public, taken on a lead role in his school's production of ‘School of Rock’, and is now producing his own music.

The best part of this (apart from being a proud Dad) is that Ashton had shown me the future of learning, and it had raised the question:
If this is how Ashton chooses to learn today, what will he expect from his employers in 5-7 years?

Reason #2: One Vision

I've had my fair share of different roles over the past 20 years, ranging from running complex back-office banking systems to marketing B2B enterprise software solutions and driving digital transformation. These roles were all made possible by:

  • Someone passionate enough to help me (a mentor/coach);
  • Practical guides being accessible to me (online academies);
  • Open communities to share ideas (improve collectively).

When I met Steve for the first time, he outlined his vision for Fuse. He explained that L&D teams are being displaced by Google and YouTube because of the rate of change. Steve went on to explain how he sees this as an incredible waste because there is still so much untapped knowledge inside these organisations. And he's right.
Take a moment to think about that.

When was the last time you Googled something?  
Why did you Google it? When Google returned your search results, what did you choose?
Why did you choose content from page one versus page ten?
Google and YouTube are fantastic learning tools. They'll present the best videos, blog posts and tutorials at the time of need. Still, they're designed for a generalist audience; they'll never be able to show learners the best way to demo your products, or how to use a piece of your equipment. So what do your learners end up doing?
They pick up the phone. They wander round to someone's desk. That someone is at lunch, so they drop them an email or an IM. They look for an expert. Maybe they find one, and that expert helps… that one time. Then the knowledge is lost. 
This happens multiple times every day, across various departments, in every organisation.  Learners muddle by and continue to go direct, watch quick how-to videos, and read blogs rather than sit through a lengthy e-learning course.
Meanwhile, L&D are left banging their heads against the wall: they know that they can help transform the business, but they're just seen as the eLearning course providers – in other words, irrelevant, invisible and often unmeasurable.
If learners expect a Google and YouTube experiences… how do you go about creating those experiences in your organisation?
If your employees are your customers… how do you apply marketing techniques to ensure they're engaged and always have the most relevant and up-to-date knowledge?
If your knowledge is trapped in your experts… how do you run an effective interview and make them feel valued, yet deliver practical advice?
And if you need to demonstrate the value of L&D… how do you design, measure and run data-backed experiments to prove value, rather than influence?
These are all questions we aim to answer in the Tribe Academy. Not by preaching theory, but by involving each and every one of you in building a global community tackling these realities head-on. This is Steve’s vision, but it’s not just his alone:
The Tribe Academy is a shared vision to make – and keep – L&D relevant in the Age of Search.
And the Tribe Academy is happening. It’s already underway, and we’re already making that vision become a reality. Here are a few of the activities that are already in flight.

Masterclasses from L&D leaders

We've begun teeing up interviews with progressive L&D leaders and guests. They'll be sharing their own journeys about how they've approached learning transformation, their practical experiences and what they'd do differently given what they now know.

A community to solve real-world problems

The Tribe Academy is being built as a place to ask questions and get answers, not just about Fuse, but about learning transformation in general.  We're building communities to inspire new ways of thinking, develop ideas, and to ask for help.

Practical education & resources

We've founded the Tribe Academy on a simple principle: Less theory, more practice. The Tribe Academy is being built as a knowledgebase, containing bite-sized practical lessons with downloadable guides and resources so that you can hit the ground running on anything from video production, to running your first learning experiment during employee onboarding.

Personal development & networking

Finally, the Tribe Academy is all about collaboration.  It's about connecting you as L&D leaders and professionals, and we'll be doing it through exclusive online webinars, events and sessions with our Steve Dineen our CEO, our Partners, and guest speakers.

I'd ask you this: If you were just getting started in L&D, what advice would you offer your younger self? Maybe you are just getting started - what help do you need? Let us know how we can help?

Reason #3: I Want It All 

You can breathe now. 

I have rattled on for long enough, and all I have left to say is none of this would be possible if I didn't have a thirst to learn from you all. I love learning, and the world is moving at such a pace that I think we all need to find our inner passion for learning; the half-life of skills is decaying day by day and the pressure is on to keep them fresh.
For me, this is the most exciting part of my journey at Fuse. I've stepped completely outside my comfort zone of marketing to customers, to help provide a completely different type of value.
My vision is that in learning from you kind L&D folks, I impart some of the dark arts of marketing. Tips and tricks that will help you attract, engage and delight your most valuable customers – your employees.

Finally, a quick ask… 

I'd love to get your thoughts on what you'd like to see in the Academy. So if there's something specific you're looking to learn, about learning, then please let me know in the comments.
P.S. More news on the Tribe Academy will follow soon. For now, make sure you've signed up so I can keep you posted about our progress.

I'm really excited to be working with and learning from you all.

Thank you for reading 😀

Ade Risidore
Feb 07 2020

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