How often, during the past spring, did we talk about adaptability? We discussed it in private life and at work because, if you talk so much about resilience, you also had to talk about how important it was to adapt. Adapting to the difficulties of quarantine and the alienation of not being able to go out, adapting to work remotely not by choice but by obligation, adapting to work remotely while taking care of the children who have to stay home from school.
The moments when it was necessary to move forward despite everything, were several and different for each of us. The more adaptable, flexible, strong and resilient we have been, the more we were able to face our fears and helped those around us to cushion the blow of the lockdown.
How has adaptability at work materialized? Certainly not only by getting familiar with video call tools. We had to transform many of our habits giving them a different, new, digital and – why not? – better shape. I am part of a team that deals with a diversified range of activities, I would like to reflect upon certain ‘transformation’ success stories and highlight the importance of keeping them alive.
The new potential of online events
In nature there are many species of birds that have adapted to urban life. Some of them, such as the blackbird, have developed a stronger song that allows them to be heard above the noise of city traffic.
During the spring of 2020, a program was about to take place that offers students of engineering faculties the opportunity to develop digital skills as well as to interact with Siemens professionals. It is called Siemens Accademia Digitale and in the two previous editions this program was held in presence in our headquarters in Milan.
This year, the initiative found itself at the mercy of lockdown, quarantine and the mandatory social distancing that – even after the most critical phase of the emergency – would have prevented us to carry out the meetings in person. The colleagues who organized the Academy promptly transformed all phases of the program into a fully online version. The result? Diverse participation in the program throughout the country and beyond! In the previous years, the largest attendance was from Northern Italy, this year we received registrations from all over the peninsula and also from Italian students based abroad for their master study path.
The transformation of the event from “in person” to online has brought no changes in content. The topics were approached in digital form, using those technological tools that during the lockdown have become indispensable and with which the company was already equipped. We were thus able to make our voice heard above all the limits that the emergency imposed on us, reaching a goal, if possible, higher than what we could have done with a program carried out according to the canons of the “old normality”.
Learning: Forced online conversion? Rather let’s talk about evolution
Online training in the company already existed long before the Covid-19. The possibilities offered by digitization are known and recognized, having available technologies helps, but that’s not all: the focus remains the experience of the participants and their continuous acquiring of skills.
What were the possible choices? Cancel the courses waiting to return to normal (yes, but when?) or build new alternatives completely online? The latter choice turned out to be a winning one. The digitization of training – in addition to maintaining the high quality of available resources – has allowed us to improve the accessibility of the learning and the balance with other work commitments. It is therefore necessary to redesign and focus on current priorities.
It was an unprecedented laboratory, which opened the way to various experiments and also requires listening to the preferences of those who live the learning. Preferences that allow us to re-think and re-design the available learning offerings. The first feedback has been very encouraging, and the results will help us to define new ways of training, more versatile, sustainable and inclusive.
How to summarize the experience in a few words? Keep adapting, it leads to more Impact!