3 Strategies for Fast Learning and the Importance of Continued Learning

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Ok, this is Bill Murphy. We’re here with another Innovation Insider, powered by RedZone. I want to talk about a couple concepts I’ve written up on the board for you today.

One is this, I want to teach you a couple of strategies of how you can learn really fast in areas you don’t know a lot about, and how you ca n leverage some of your talent in your organization to help you learn fast. With some of the new technologies that you have to learn at scale, for example I have a customer who needs to learn about artificial intelligence. They need to learn about artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, neural networks, and how this happens. How artificial intelligence works with these algorithms. How do you do that? If you don’t have the talent, you’re not going to buy the talent, you don’t have the budget for it, you necessarily even have a project, but you have a potential problem that might be solved.

Go to meetup.com. How many of you have been to meetup.com, and actually gone and go to the meetups, to where all the developers are. Go to the meetups where all the makers and the people that are actually building those technologies are. It sounds different, and it sounds odd, because you did it when you were in your twenties, but now you’re in your forties. I think you should go do it. I do it myself now. I go and I sit as a fly in the wall in the back. Listen to these guys. They’re smart as heck, they’re coming out of the universities; they’re really hustling to put their technologies out there. You can learn, you can listen, and here what they have to say. The largest VR community in D.C., I connected with the top guy there. The top guy there is brilliant. He has a small, little company. I’m not even sure if the company is making any money, but I’ll tell you what, he knows all the current technology and he’s connected deeply. Block chain is another perfect example. How can you use block chain? I know how to use it with security, but how do you use it with your business? Use it for smart contracts? How do you build applications with block chain? Patch into the community and figure that out; and that’s just you going to meetup.com. It’s a wonderful way to do that. You can send your team there and they can write reports, and kind of go on hunting missions. They would love it. You could just get written summaries as well, that’s another good idea.

Another is, I learned today – not learned it, but it was a young CIO I met with; super ambitious, but sometimes I run into these meetings and the guy’s new. He’s a newbie. He’s literally just landed. He doesn’t have the title of CIO, but he’s the highest ranking IT professional in the organization. You can tell by the maturity of the organization, it was a serious organization, it’s well known, everybody would know it. It’s just that their IT group was not as mature, but he would take meetings to learn. I said ‘no problem, I’ll teach you’ and we went down my little path of teaching; but he takes meetings to learn, and that’s a great way to have your team really examine and become students of the marketplace. That’s a little thing I learned today which was really interesting, the concept of going back to taking meetings. You can even limit those meetings in time, so you have 20 minutes, or you take 10 minutes for the meeting, or can have Skype meetings. You can have all types of meetings to make efficient use of your time. Consider that as an option to learn.

One of the biggest pieces when I run the CIO Innovation lunch series, which I’ve been running now for 20 years, one of the top, if not the second or third biggest trait is ongoing learning. It’s a passion for learning. You might lose your hunger for making money, you might lose your hunger for different areas, but don’t lose your hunger for learning. That’s one of the key traits that I find with the high performance CIOs. Not the Bs, and the C+s, and the Cs, I’m talking the B+s and the As. It’s ongoing learning. What’s the difference between a B+ and an A? Usually it’s just behind the wheel time. They’re just newer on the job, and they haven’t gotten their chops cleaned as much as an A, but they’ve got the energy, and they’ve got the passion to be an A, but it’s ongoing learning. It’s that deep desire to want to learn.

The other piece is, I brought it up in the last segment, was being romantic. Being romantic about the way things were. Being romantic about the way things were is really just fear. That’s why I’m layering in some of this education, and learning, and being aggressive, and offensive about going and digging up the technologies. Not that the vendors are bringing it to you; forget the vendors. The vendors have a vested interest. You go on a hunting mission to look at the exponential technologies, the VR, the augmented reality. Look at how these things can impact. Look at biotech, biomedicine, block chain, nanotechnology. Go find those meetups and learn. Sometimes cross domain learning is just as important as right in your domain. It all will help you not be romantic about the past, and embrace future, and not let fear subvert getting into an offensive gear where we’re still being generative, and creative, and innovative in our own thinking patterns.

Alright, until next time this is Bill Murphy with the CIO Innovation Insider.

In this CIO Innovation Insider, I wanted to share with you 3 strategies that you as IT leaders can use to continue to learn, and learn quickly. Both on subjects within your niche, and subjects outside it, and how you can leverage your team to help you learn fast as well.

Major Take-Aways from This CIO Innovation Insider:

  1. 3 strategies for continuing learning quickly
  2. The importance of having a passion and deep desire for learning
  3. The importance of seeking out new technologies to learn them at scale

Resources:

  • Meetup.com – A great resource for finding experts in all sorts of knowledge areas and learning from them