WOL Courses

A new 6-week course to help you Work Out Loud – June/July 2016

I am a great fan of Working Out Loud – John Stepper’s published approach to working in the open, transparently and with authenticity.  As he describes it:

Instead of networking to get something, you lead with generosity, investing in relationships that give you access to other people, knowledge, and possibilities. Part of the process is learning ways to make your work visible and frame it as a contribution.

The core community framework that sustains Working Out Loud is the Circle:

Circles help you develop a mindset and habit you can apply to any goal. These small peer support groups are now in 16 countries and in organizations ranging from multi-national firms to universities to humanitarian groups. The thing they all have in common is wanting their people to feel intrinsically motivated to be more collaborative and effective.

John’s book covers this well, but really there is nothing better than experiencing the power of WOL Circles in person.  Obviously you could just go ahead and set up a circle in your workplace (I’d love to assist you if so), but a better plan is to be part of a training circle in order to understand the potential, and the pitfalls, of Working Out Loud.  The good news is that there is such an opportunity coming up in just a few weeks:


You will both experience a Working Out Loud Circle, where you will decide on a goal to work on over the 6 weeks, and will be supported to use a step-by-step process to move towards this through expanding your networks, deepening your relationships and increasing your influence.

As well as being part of a Working Out Loud Circle, this course will give you the tips and tools you need to be a WOL Circle facilitator in your workplace or community.


The course runs over 6 weeks, each Thursday from 4 – 5.30pm. We’ll stay in touch throughout using Slack, a free App that you can use on your smart phone or computer. The Slack group will be open for 8 weeks – a week before the course to meet people, and for a week after the course ends.

All you need is a computer with internet and video connection, and a headset/headphones to take part. You need to participate in all 6 sessions.



  1. By experiencing a WOL Circle for yourself – with 4 or 5 other people (as part of the 90 minute sessions)
  2. By practicing facilitating a WOL Circle meeting
  3. By hearing directly from John – his top tips and insights on how to lead WOL Circles
  4. Through the weekly question and answer sessions, both online and through Slack
  5. Through reading and using the new updated WOL Circle guides
  6. Through reading Working Out Loud by John Stepper. This will be sent to you as soon as you sign up and pay.
  7. And by joining a growing international WOL community who are sharing their experiences and learning as they go

The course is being run by John Stepper and Helen Sanderson Associates, and the dates for the sessions are as follows:

Thursday 9 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 16 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 23 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 30 June – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 7 July – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)
Thursday 14 July – 4pm-5.30pm (BST)

The course cost is £350 including VAT, and you can register via EventBrite.

I will be attending myself, and would love to work with you in the WOL Circle that will result! See you there?

Free self-paced IBM Connections 5.0 Workshop

More good news from IBM’s Paul Godby – this time discussing a new self-paced workshop, explicitly for IBM Connections 5.0:
[titled_box title = “IBM Connections 5.0 workshop”]In the IBM Connections 5.0 Workshop, you will learn about the new and existing capabilities of IBM Connections and IBM Connections Mobile. You will learn how to implement external collaboration in your environments and gain an understanding of both the internal and external user experiences in these deployments. If you are an administrator or a developer, you will also learn about the following topics: UI Customization, Mobile UI Customization, iWidget Development for Profiles, and Activity Streams Integration using the Social Business Toolkit SDK.[/titled_box] The course is written for the Connections 5.0 Softlayer device that will be available soon, but could be run against a Linux-based self-hosted server if required.

Here’s the full course detail:
[titled_box title = “IBM Connections 5.0 workshop detail”]Description

New capabilities in IBM Connections V5.0 make it easier for a company’s employees to work with customers and business partners on projects. Enhancements throughout IBM Connections V5.0 make relevant content more accessible, encourage brainstorming on new ideas, and organize the content that is shared in communities.

IBM Connections V5.0 adds new capabilities that make it easier for a company’s employees to collaborate with customers and business partners on projects and share relevant information. With IBM Connections V5.0, external users, such as customers and business partners, can be invited to a shared file and an IBM Connections community. Communities that have been opened to external users are identified as such to the members of the community.

Event highlights

  • Learn about the new and existing capabilities of IBM Connections and IBM Connections Mobile
  • Learn how to implement external collaboration in your environments and gain an understanding of both the internal and external user experiences
  • Learn how to customize the IBM Connections user interface as well as the Mobile App
  • Learn how to create iWidgets for the Profiles application
  • Learn how to use the IBM Social Business Toolkit SDK to post third party events into the Activity Stream


  • Review existing IBM Social Business resources and websites
  • Review previous IBM Connections Workshop materials on the IBM Greenhouse
  • Previous experience with WebSphere Application Server applications
  • Previous experience with a Linux-based operating system
[/titled_box] The course materials are available from a wiki page on the IBM Greenhouse (so you’ll need to be registered for that site).

Social Business App Dev Workshop: access IBM Connections development course materials at no cost

On occasion, IBM runs an excellent two day Social Business Application Development workshop, which takes users through the Social Business Toolkit SDK, and how it can be used to create applications that leverage IBM Connections content.

Sadly these workshops have not been scheduled yet in 2014. However, the course materials are available for free download from the IBM Greenhouse to be used on a self-paced basis:

SBT WorkshopThe Social Business Toolkit (SBT) SDK is a set of extensible tools and resources for developers who want to incorporate social capabilities into their applications and business processes. Social capabilities include features and functionality that tap into the power of social interactions, business networks, community-based problem solving, and more.

This two day workshop will demonstrate how to use the capabilities of the SBT SDK to integrate social data (from IBM Connections) into existing applications. In this workshop, you will learn how to install, configure, and begin using the SBT SDK. The development exercises in this workshop will cover topics such as the SBT SDK JavaScript and Java APIs, and how to build and deploy a SBT SDK J2EE application on WebSphere Application Server. You will also learn how to integrate into the IBM Connections Activity Stream and develop iWidgets.

Event highlights

  • Learn how to create your own social application development sandbox
  • Learn how to build socially enabled applications using the SBT SDK JavaScript and Java APIs
  • Learn how to build and deploy iWidgets
  • Learn how to integrate into the IBM Connections Activity Stream using OpenSocial and Embedded Experiences
  • Learn how to leverage existing IBM resources to build and promote your applications to clients

Materials: Social Business Application Development

This course is recommended for any developers that wish to utilise the SBT or bring social content into their own applications. Kudos to IBM for making this available to all…

Do you train your users on how to use Windows?

I asked this question at a customer workshop last week, where they were discussing the possible rollout of Windows 8 across their ~20,000 users…

Do you train your users on how to use Windows?

Why the question?  For two reasons:

1. Windows 8 is going to be a significant new user experience for most employees.  Remember, you cannot disable the ‘Metro’ UI (yes I know, Microsoft isn’t calling it that anymore, but the rest of the world is), and so (at a minimum) every time a user wants to change settings or even restart they will need to shift into new areas of the interface.  Of course, there is no Start menu either…  For the average ‘Office and Email’ user, that is going to take significant adjustment, particularly if the standardised business applications will still require the old Windows desktop, but web access and built-in applications use ‘Metro’.

Also, much more importantly…

2. Many new employees will never have used Windows as their primary computing interface.  Whether they are Mac or Linux devotees that have never used Windows on a home PC or at their educational institution, or else tablet/smartphone users that have never needed or wished to sit in front of a ‘traditional PC’, then the experience of using Windows for accessing their work is going to be an alien one.

I’m not suggesting that this is necessarily happening in large numbers today, but over the next 3-5 years I believe that a significant minority of individuals will be entering the workforce without the expected framework of reference that previous use of a similar version of Windows has given in the past.

In both cases, for these users to achieve maximum productivity, I believe that proper Windows training will be essential.

So what’s your plan?

Will you begin to train your users in how to Microsoft Windows and specifically, Windows 8?

Also, will your oganisation look to shift away from a reliance on Windows toward platforms that more closely matches their previous experience?

Interesting times ahead…