8 Emergent Roles in Learning

As our Organisations evolve, so too will the roles that we serve in. The shift towards a more Socially Dynamic Organisation, where structure itself changes, where learning shifts to be more contextual, personalised, co-created, in the flow, applied, will see some legacy roles become redundant, and some newer ones emerge. In a rather playful way today, i want to consider what some of the new Learning roles may be.

Social Storyteller – a role to connect the local to the global, and to interconnect between disparate communities. Not an ‘add on’ to an existing role, but an itinerant one: requires 60% listening, 20% writing, and 20% interpretation and provocation. Sits alongside, not within, existing Domain structures, so relatively unconstrained. Possibly has a pass key to join different spaces, meetings, or teams.

Learning Conductor – a specific facilitation role to integrate generative AI into dialogue based sense making and communities of practice. Specific skills in prompt scripting and storytelling. Does not play an instrument, but has focus on flow of conversations and progress – helping groups move into metacognitive state. Great communicator. Probably has a background in journalism or social psychology.

The Leaker – no, not the sort that shares secrets, but rather the person with a role of poking holes in things. The Socially Dynamic Organisation will be more permeable to expertise, and more loosely structured internally. So ideas, insight, stories, challenge, resources etc may all flow more easily internally, even to a degree externally or inter-organisationally. The role of the Leaker is to cause leaks. To work with leaders and teams to figure out exactly what they need to hold within a container, and what can be shared.

On-Call Data Visualiser – an itinerant role, available by the hour or day, this is a person who can help you understand data, and tell your story with it. Most likely from a popular science or scientific communication background. Not a marketer. Not attached to one team, but rather will help find your shared styles, vocabulary, and approach. In their downtime, works on an underground magazine that illustrates data fallacies and fictions.

Process Dis-Engineer – someone with a specific remit to spray red paint over the sticky points of processes. This person experiences the Organisation at a holistic level to find the sticky spots. To find the things that ‘have always been done’ and to ask ‘why’? Will suit the socially adept troublemaker.

Related to the Dis-Engineer is the Complexity Watcher: like a bird watcher in approach (lurks behind hedges, carries binoculars), their purpose is to find the needlessly complex and to unwind it. In particular they watch for complexity from the user perspective, and in the spaces between functions, where constraint and lethargy may lie.

The Metacognition. Like a magician, but instead of producing rabbits, they help you find different perspectives. Kind of like a coach, but available at Team level, and carries a toolkit of questions and prompts. Specific capability is to spot when jargon, context, or insight is becoming too homogenised, constrained, or certain. Probably plays a lot of video games, or is a mixed media artist. Weirdly could be a philosopher or learning scientist. Is probably constantly frustrated. As an added bonus, the skills of the Metacognition are learnable, so they probably only need a fixed term contract.

The Timesharer: has a role in helping people find time. It’s like that person who comes and declutters your house, but they do it for you at work in a non judgemental way. How? Because they will be expert in the small things that confound everyone: simple workflow and time budgeting tools and skills, using collaborative spaces and shared docs effectively, working out email strategies, and in particular helping you to disengage from spaces, communities or conversations that are draining your time. Not to mention your will to live. Uses the unsubscribe button like a pro.

I’m pretty sure there are more. Feel free to add below!

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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