ISPI is rolling into Orlando, Florida, April 8-13, for THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011. Join Harold Stolovitch and Saul Carliner on April 10 as they launch our new Research-to-Practice Day! Then, get ready for three powerful days of learning and networking as we reflect on the work, worker, and workplace. Join Elliott Masie, Joseph Fiskel, Philip Kirby, Andrew Hill, and all your performance improvement colleagues. For more information, visit www.ispi.org/ac2011.

Elliott Masie Photo

Flip Happens! Changing the Process for Performance!

Elliott Masie, The Learning CONSORTIUM

Joseph Fiksel Photo

Resilient Today, Sustainable Tomorrow

Joseph Fiksel, Center for Resilience at The Ohio State University

Philip Kirby Photo

Performance Improvement Through Brilliant Process Management

Phillip Kirby, Organization Thoughtware International Inc.

Andy Hill Photo

Lead Your Team to Greatness the John Wooden Way

Andy Hill, Past President of CBS Productions

Recently, Glenda Feldt, CPT, EdD, had an opportunity to sit down with Elliott Masie. Below is a reflection on their conversation.

Upcoming 2011 ISPI Conference opening speaker, Elliott Masie, will share with us what he calls “Flip Happens! Changing the Process for Performance.” He will reveal ways that organizations are now changing their approaches to employee learning, to leadership development, and to knowledge capture and collaboration. Elliott has an impressive bio on his webpage and on ISPI’s conference webpage, but we thought it would be fun for our attendees to know more about him.

Elliott’s hobby is:

  • extreme snowboarding
  • collecting technology
  • bird watching
  • stamp collecting?

He describes his hobby as a technology historian. He collects technology from the past, present, and future, including a 1940 switchboard and many versions of computers. Elliott likes to study items from the past, stating, “the past predicts the future.”

What is the greatest risk Elliott has taken?

  • sky diving with a former president,
  • trying out for the Olympic team,
  • walking away from the business world to have a year of reflection
  • extemporaneous speaking at a meeting in Africa.

If you guessed either #3 or #4, you would be correct. Elliott described arriving at a large meeting in Africa on what was then the new topic of AIDS infection. He expected to be an observer and learn from folks who were most informed about this disease. His surprise was that those attending were expecting to hear from him! Since he was not an expert in the disease or its medical implications, he guided his audience into activities on training and learning that they could then use to deliver their message to the people of their country.

Before social networking was an Internet success, Elliott was designing his own friendship and colleague networks, across occupations, ages, and national boundaries. He describes a current network of friends from ages 9 to 96 and some as far away as Dubai and Brazil. Elliott believes it is important to set about the intentional finding, building, and investing in friendships.

An unusual background paved the way for Elliott’s career and life. He is a combination sociologist and technologist. In college he learned about the study of human societies and the behavior of individuals in society and had “very rudimentary mainframe computer programming.” At the time these appeared to be disassociated fields of study. But then Elliott had an epiphany! He pondered how to leverage these new technologies to help people use the evolving technologies to do work in our society. He moved into discerning how the raw materials of technology can be the supports to improve human performance. At the time Elliott was pursuing this thinking, he said, “Most technologists had no feel for how to make technology a part of work and most sociologists were suspicious of technology.” He worked on merging technology and performance, helping to build and organize an industry around computer training, beginning with Microsoft and Novell certification training programs. After taking a one-year sabbatical of quiet time, Elliott moved his focus to this: “How do you use computers to extend learning?” From the forefront of the creation of this new delivery called e-learning, he worked with organizations to show the impact and affordance for using technology to provide learning to workers in the workplace.

As he looks to the future, Elliott is interested in metacognition and its role in learning and performance improvement. He asks, “If people knew more about how they learn, would they learn better? What are the implications for high school, college, and blue-collar worker training? We’re not just talking about individual learning styles, but how do you know what you don’t know and want to know.” He is looking at ways to encourage organizations to move away from compliance-driven learning (which makes up a large portion of e-learning products) and move toward performance-enhancing learning activities. He is interested in emerging technologies like Skype, blogs, gesture-based computing (think Xbox Kinect) and how these may be utilized to improve learning.

It is a rare opportunity to learn from a futurist and groundbreaker in a field as broad as learning and e-learning. ISPI is bringing this renowned speaker to the THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011 in Orlando, Florida, to share his knowledge and humor and to influence how we approach workforce learning and emerging technologies. Elliott, we are looking forward to hearing your message.