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Dennis Kennedy

Dennis Kennedy is an award-winning leader in applying the Internet and technology to law practice. A published author and...

Tom Mighell

Tom Mighell has been at the front lines of technology development since joining Cowles & Thompson, P.C. in 1990....

Episode Notes

Learning has changed dramatically in recent years, but many law firms continue to use antiquated professional development tactics that lack real impact for learners. Dennis & Tom talk with Kelly Palmer about how she helps professionals broaden their definition of learning to develop meaningful pathways for building skills. She discusses her book, “The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed,” and shares an outline of the four stages essential to creating a culture of continuous learning.

As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.

Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.

Kelly Palmer is chief learning officer at Degreed.

Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and Colonial Surety Company.

Mentioned in This Episode

A and B Segments: Interview with Kelly Palmer

Parting Shots:

Transcript

The Kennedy-Mighell Report

Lifelong Learning Building Your Firms Skills for the Future

08/17/2020

 

[Music]

 

Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode 267 of the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor

 

Tom Mile: And I’m Tom Mile in Dallas.  Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors.

 

Dennis Kennedy: First of all, we’d like to thank Colonial Shirt, company bonds and insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bonds you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialshirty.com/podcast.

 

Tom Mile: And we’d also like to thank ServeNow.  A nationwide network of trusted pre-screened process servers.  Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves embrace technology and understand the litigation process.  Visit servenow.com to learn more.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And we want to mention that the second edition of our book, The Lawyers’ Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies, is available on Amazon.  Everyone agrees that collaboration is essential in today’s world.  But now, more than ever before knowing the right tools will make all the difference.  As I like to say at the start of our recent podcast, what are difference another week or two makes.  And the unexpected just keeps happening.  In our last episode, we had a great guest.  Dr Heidi Gardner, and talked about smart collaboration.  And I highly recommend the episode.  In this episode, we’re excited to be interviewing another very special guest.  It’s part of our goal of adding regular interview shows to the podcast.  Tom what’s all on our agenda for this episode?

 

Tom Mile: Well Dennis, in this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, we are thrilled to have as our guest, Kelly Palmer, who is chief learning officer at Degreed and co-author of the book, The Expertise Economy.  And as usual, we’ll finish up with our parting shots that one tip website or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.  But first up, we are so pleased to welcome Kelly Palmer to the show.  Kelly is currently Chief Learning Officer at Degreed, where she helps employees build the skills they need now and for the future.  Kelly’s also served as Chief Learning Officer at LinkedIn, Vice President of Learning at Yahoo and Senior Director of Learning Products at Sun Microsystems.  So, I think catching on a trend here of what we’re going to talk about today.  And I think importantly for what we’re going to discuss, she is the co-author of, The Expertise Economy, how the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete and succeed.  Kelly, welcome to the Kennedy-Mighell Report.

 

Kelly Palmer: I’m thrilled to be here today.  Thanks so much for having me.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And we’re thrilled to have you here.  So, Kelly, I’ve reading your book very recently.  I just found out about the treasure trove of tips and techniques on the new world of lifelong learning and an inspiration to me.  In fact, I feel like I should be spending even more time learning and trying out many of the tools you describe in your book.  Do you want to start us off by talking about the expertise economy and what the term means to you?

 

Kelly Palmer: Absolutely, I think that, you know, I joined Degreed about four years ago and as you mentioned, before that I was at LinkedIn and at some other tech company.  So, I’ve been in Silicon Valley my whole career.  I changed careers halfway through.  Got into the learning field and then was really surprised by how antiquated learning is in corporate environments and I was especially surprised in Silicon Valley, thinking that, you know, for some of these tech companies, how would they be doing corporate learning and a lot of what I saw was lecture-based classroom learning.  Which we know now isn’t very effective.  So, the expertise economy, when I joined Degreed was an idea that Degreed’s co-founder, David Blake and I had about really talking about how learning has dramatically changed and how the corporate environment hadn’t really kept up and how technology now is making new things possible.  And so, we talk a lot about Trends in the Workforce and those trends really causing us to need to think completely differently about how we learn and build skills for the future.  And then, of course, with what we’ve been going through over the last four or five months, what we’ve seen is an acceleration of everything we talked about in the expertise economy.  So, now we were talking about remote working there and virtual learning experiences and now all of a sudden people — a lot of people who have been a bit reluctant to move to those areas are moving there.  But in general, I would say the expertise economy is at its core about realizing that the skills people have and need for the future are going to be what’s most important moving forward in in the future of work and we don’t often talk about people in terms of the skills that they have.

 

(00:05:14)

 

We often talk about — like you introduced me, the companies I’ve worked for, the titles that I’ve had, but do you really understand the skills that I have and what I can bring to the table?  Probably not.  So, that’s what all about.  Is really looking at skills as the currency of what the future of work is all about.

 

 

05:32

Dennis Kennedy: So, one of the concepts that you discussed, that I think is extremely important in organizations is that of building a culture of continuous learning and I think that — I’m going to try to weave in our connection to the law and law firms when we talk about this.  I think that a lot of law firms would generally understand the concept.  They would generally kind of agree that continuous learning is important.  But I also think and based on my experience in the world of information governance, where I work with a lot of organizations on how to get control of their records and information that having that culture is hard.  It’s challenging to develop that.   Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean by a culture of continuous learning and maybe what are some steps that law firms or other organizations can start to take to begin to develop one?

 

Kelly Palmer: Absolutely.  So, in the book we describe four stages to a learning culture, if you.  And for the legal profession, I think that that step one is pretty evident.  That’s compliance learning, right?  And most companies with they don’t have any learning at all, they have compliance learning.  And so, even if you don’t know if you have a culture of learning, you at least have that.  Even in California, the very least companies are required to have sexual harassment training as — even if you don’t have any other compliance learning.  The next phase has to do with learning or training around your tools and technologies.  How to do your job.  Then, you move up to, you know, do you have strategic initiatives where you’re actually trying to help people build skills.  A lot of times it’s around leadership and management.  Most companies focus on strategic initiatives to help their leaders and managers get better at managing employees or building a strategy.  The last level and I think where people should strive to be is continuous learning.  And the difference is that what we really need, given how fast the world is moving and look at how fast things change all the time.  If culture of continuous learning means that you’re learning every day as part of your job in the flow of work and one of the things that makes it seem so difficult to have a culture of continuous learning, is people’s definition of what learning is.  Oftentimes I’d ask people, well, what learning did you do this year, and if they’re not doing a compliance training, specifically or sitting in a classroom, they don’t think they’ve been learning.  But the reality is that we’re learning all the time, every day from a variety of sources.  So, I’d say the biggest thing people can do is broaden your definition of what learning is and then — that’s a starting point for figuring out how do you create that culture of continuous learning.

 

Tom Mile: I think that’s right.  Just real quick Dennis.  I think that’s right because, if I bring it back to lawyers, when they think about learning, they think about continuing legal education.  They’re required to get so many hours per year.  We’re going to attend a conference.  We’re going to go online and watch a seminar.  But it’s all lecture.  It’s all — although here in the State of Texas, I can read court opinions and read magazines to get some of my credit, which is another form of learning.  But don’t I think that lawyers don’t stray beyond that standard definition of learning.  Which I think would make a lot of difference in the case of the law firms.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And in some ways the current state of continuing the legal education almost seems like it’s — even a more primitive stage than compliance training.  But that’s a subject for another day and time.  That’s one of my pet peeves about the legal profession.  So, Kelly, we got the chance to speak briefly a few years ago after you spoke at MasterCard in St. Louis when MasterCard rolled out Degreed and to me, that was kind of an “aha moment” because I really felt that I got the potential of Degreed.  And so, it is an innovation in corporate learning and especially in the way it connects your learning and what you emphasize before.  Skills to your career path.  So, I think it’d be really useful for our audience just for you to talk about and maybe describe the degree platform and what people are using it for.

 

Kelly Palmer: Yeah, absolutely.  So, since I got into the learning field, my focus has been on education.  The intersection between education and learning and technology.

 

(00:10:00)

 

And so, in the past, the only technology that most companies thought about using for learning was something called the learning management system.  And interestingly enough, an LMS or Learning Management System, supports antiquated models of learning.  So, you can either track a compliance training there.  So, that legal can say, yes, our employees have all completed this training or it can help you register people for in-person classroom training.  So, imagine this new world that we’re in with work and how people actually learn every day going back to broadening your definition of learning.  So, I when I ask people — so, when you go home and you’re not in the work environment, how do you learn new things, what do you do when you want to learn something new.  And I always get the same answers.  People say, well, I Google it or I watch a YouTube video or I watch a Ted Talk or — there’s a variety of quick ways that people find learning.  So, Degreed, really was brought out of this notion that look, there’s learning all the time every day.  How do we help people recognize that that’s learning and track it in terms of the skills that they’re building.  So, that was the first part of our journey is.  Let’s make all learning available to everyone so that could be podcasts and videos and it can include the more traditional types of learning.  But it includes all types of learning.  So, you can see — so, whenever I read an article, I can click on a button and add it to my Degreed skills profile so I can keep track of all the learning i’m doing.  If I’ve read a book or if I’ve listened to a podcast, it’s all in my Degreed skills profile.  So, that was the first part of degrees vision.  Was just to bring — make all learning matter bring all learning into kind of a portfolio.  The next part of that journey was then to say okay, now we want to tie learning to building skills.  So, what are the most important skills, what skills do you want to focus on and can I have learning that’s tied to building those skills.  Because just learning for learning’s sake is great, but I think most people have career aspirations.  They’re trying to either get better at the job that they have or they’re trying to get ready for what’s next in their Career.  So, being able to focus on where your skill gaps are and tie that learning to what skills you’re trying to build is, is the next part of Degreed’s vision.  So, we actually have a way to measure skills and show people progress through data analytics.  And the last part of our journey has been about then what’s the next logical step.  It’s about helping people match their skills to opportunities or projects.  Like the best way people can learn is say you just learned about data analytics and then, say, you never were able to apply that or I often talk about Italian.  If you’re learning — I’m learning Italian.  I continuously learn Italian, but if I don’t have a chance to speak it to anyone, it’s just all in my head.  So, this idea that — then you can match with the skills that you’ve learned to actual projects or stretch assignments at your job to actually practice those skills and then sometimes even get a new opportunity inside your company based on the new skills that you build.  So, in a simplified way, it’s learning to build skills, then to match you to opportunities in your company to actually apply those skills.  So, that’s what Degreed is all about.

 

Tom Mile: So, the last part of what you talked about, about how to actually apply it.  I’m going to make a tortured connection to my next question here.  Which is one of the topics that we — that Dennis and I are obsessed about.  We wrote a book about it, is collaboration and I’m always grateful when I find a collaboration aspect of any topic that we want to discuss on here and what I’m intrigued about is and really hadn’t thought much about until I read your book was the idea of peer-to-peer learning as a collaborative effort.  As a way as a method of collaborative learning and I’m sort of intrigued by that because I think it’s something that probably takes place in more advanced law firms where they really have an idea of a kind of mentorship and they’ve got teams that are working with each other on things.  But I kind of want to hear what your definition of peer-to-peer learning is and why — frankly, from what I get from the book, it may be one of the most effective ways of learning that you recommend.

 

Kelly Palmer: I love peer-to-peer learning because I really believe that that’s where the real true learning happens.  And one of the things we write about in the book beyond the chapter on power of peers is how we really learn you — diving into it.  Not everyone needs to be an expert on the whole learning process but one thing that I think is really important for people to understand is the difference between gaining knowledge and building skills.  So, all the things that I mentioned earlier about getting learning wherever you are, when you need it and so that’s like self-directed learning through books, podcasts, videos, articles, so forth.

 

(00:15:01)

 

That’s about gaining knowledge but there’s another part which is about building skills.  And building skills is not just about getting knowledge, that’s just the first part of it.  The other parts of building skills have to do with actually practicing the skills that you’re building, getting feedback, and then reflecting on that feedback and continuously going through the loop.  So, there’s a couple ways that you can actually practice and get feedback but I think the most effective ways are through your peers.  Right?  So, if you’re — for example, I think I give an example in the book about presentation skills.  So, say you want to get better at presentation skills.  If you practice your presentation in front of someone else or a group of peers and then you get feedback and then you actually reflect on what you did and then you try it again and you keep going through that loop until you actually get better and you master the skills, that’s what we call the learning loop.  And that part of collaboration is so often missed.  So, what’s the easiest thing that you can do in a corporate environment or the first thing that people think about when they think about learning, oh, let’s put them in a training class, let them listen to a lecture, let them take notes and how much we know by studies that most people don’t remember what they’re being told and so, how ineffective is that yet we spend billions of billions of dollars on that.  Instead, if we use that as a framework to say knowledge is the first component but then the next part is like even having a discussion with a peer about something or having to explain something to some somebody else helps you understand the topic much better.  And then, of course, you’ve got to put things into practice, get feedback and reflect.  And you can only do that with other people, now you can do that with say a manager, but imagine the hierarchy that exists between that.  So, peers, you’re on a level playing field, you can have these frank discussions about things and then actually make some progress in building your expertise.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And it’s what I like about.  If you have a platform that helps you identify who’s interested in the same things, who’s worked on the same skills, who the experts are, who are willing to help, that’s a phenomenal resource, instead of just relying on word of mouth and probably going to the wrong people.  So, one of the things that I liked right away about Degreed is — and I don’t know whether this is your term or just something I made up but it’s — this notion of learning paths, which I thought of just as leaving breadcrumbs for people.  And so, I had a paralegal in India who started — and I used Degreed to say, okay, here are the things that you should learn and here’s kind of a rough sequence of it.  I was kind of the go-to person on open source licensing and I put together a path to say here’s the things you start out with and here’s a video, here’s some articles to help you get up to speed and we’ll identify those experts and that was fascinating to me.  So, I don’t know, maybe you can talk a little bit about that notion of how you can kind of set up this sort of learning path for others which is kind of like this little mini curriculum that you said.  It’s like little guided tour into a topic.

 

Kelly Palmer: Yeah, I think it’s the way of the future for learning is what we call it’s their learning pathways or curated content is another way we’ve been referring to that and I’d love to give the example of — when I was at LinkedIn, was the the first time that I realized the power of getting subject matter experts in to create content pathways.  I had a JavaScript engineer who came to me and said look, I’ve just taken a bunch of courses and I’ve read some books on JavaScript.  I basically taught it to myself but I think it could be really useful if I shared how I learned all of this stuff with my peers.  Again, getting back to the power of peers and I’d love to create a content pathway of all the resources, all the learnings, even exercises.  Here’s how they can practice, here’s how they can — here’s my tips and my tricks for how to actually code and it was an “aha moment” because realizing that L&D or Learning and Development often thinks like they have to be the ones that provide the learning.  Yet they always work with subject matter experts to to put that together.  Why not put the power of curating content or creating pathways to the subject matter expert?  So, that’s the idea behind it and even most recently like when the pandemic hit and people started having to work at home, one of the biggest issues that we found from a lot of our customers was is that there were a lot of parents at home that were trying to all of a sudden do work remotely and homeschool their kids.

 

(00:19:59)

 

So, I actually jumped in and said, I’m going to create a homeschooling, curated content pathway.  Here’s the best resources that I can find for parents on how to approach.  And so, that’s the idea.  It’s like put together great content.  Whether you’re a subject matter expert or whether you’re doing research and you can get all of those topics.  Together, that’s a great way to help people through the sequence of what they need to do and what you were describing was kind of like onboarding.  It’s like how do you help people, new employees get up to speak quickly on their job, on the company culture, on a variety of things and then you can give a list of things to do.  Whether that’s things to read or even tools and ways to practice and then, ultimately, pathways to help build skills.

 

Tom Mile: Yeah, I was also — just to jump in a second time.  I was also thinking how great this would be and for people who are working on black lives matter, anti-racism issues to just have this really great curated source that you could work your way through and then identify people that you could talk with.  I know there’s just sort of burn out by people who are being asked by their white friends, what they need to do and how they need to do it and this could be like a handy way to handle that issue.

 

Kelly Palmer: Absolutely and I think it also goes to the notion of the flipped classroom, which can be very effective.  So, we talked earlier about how ineffective lectures are because they only go part of the way but imagine that you start with curated content which is about the knowledge but when you get people together even through a Zoom video or some sort of collaborative environment, if everyone’s already got the content part, the knowledge part, then where do you spend your time on?  You spend your time on collaborating on discussing the content, solving real work problems together and look at how much better your time is used if you do it that way.  A lot of kids are doing that in school, right?  Where teachers are saying, instead of using classroom time for actually giving the content, let’s use the classroom time where kids really need it.  That’s when they’re trying to practice or do their homework.  Parents are often stuck at home trying to help kids do their homework when it actually should be the opposite.  They should be in the classroom where the teacher can help them practice with their homework and they should be doing the other part at home.  So, some people call that the flipped classroom.  I love the idea both in formal education and in the corporate world.

 

Dennis Kennedy: So, let’s talk about maybe the nerdier part of this and I’ve always — I mean, I think it applies in most areas of business.  if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.  And I think that metrics and learning management is important but can you give us kind of an idea of how you would measure in track skills, how you would use metrics in hiring promotion and upskilling and other decisions you might need to make in an organization?

 

Kelly Palmer: Yes, and I love this topic because, again, if I go back to the antiquated models in corporate learning typically, the only way people would measure learning is numbers on how many people participated, how many people completed this compliance learning or how many people went to this class and it has nothing to do with whether or not people learned or not.  So, we have to stop thinking that that’s measuring learning because it’s not.  In the new world of learning and work, I think that the way we’re approaching it with Degreed and we’ve actually built this into our technology is that we start with skills measurement and we have three levels of skill measurement, three levels of rigor.  So, at the lowest level of rigor, it’s saying go ahead and self-assess yourself on a skill.  So, I could take presentation skills as an example and say, I give a lot of presentations, I might give myself a score and I can even ask a manager or a peer to rate me and it’s on — we’re using The Lumina Foundations.  Model it’s levels one through eight so it’s an industry standard.  The second level of rigor is saying you’re going to spend 20 minutes and do what we call a skills review.  So, you’re still doing it yourself but you’re actually saying you know what, I rated myself this on presentation skills but let me tell you why.  I’ve actually been a keynote speaker at this place, this place, this place and these are the rate — this is the feedback that I’ve gotten.  You actually talk about the work that you’ve done or actually how you’ve actually demonstrated these skills somewhere else.  The last level is certification where we actually go through a very rigorous process of certifying people based on peers and algorithms in the background but also based on the work that you’ve done.

 

(00:24:59)

 

So, given that as a starting point, when you say, okay, I’m going to assess skills, you now have a baseline by which to measure progress.  So, if you’ve got a score of where you’re doing and you’re saying okay, I want to get better at this skill now and now I’m going to go do more learning or practice or whatever — how tie learning to those skills and then I’m going to reassess myself later on and show the progress.  Now, you can do that at the individual level but let me give you an example of how powerful this can be at the company level.  There’s a couple of companies that we’re working with like Unilever and Cisco that are using this model to say, look we don’t know what skills our employees have in our company, so we want to set a baseline, have people assess skills.  Not every skill that they have but actually identify future skills that are most important have people assess their skills and then we’ll have a baseline and then we can show over time how our employee bases is building skills.  There’s a consulting firm that decided actually to upskill 25% of their workforce in data science and data analytics skills so they can start with this baseline by saying, look this is how many people had them when we started and then, our goal is 25% of our workforce increases their skills in data science.  If you have no data science it’s easy to measure, if you have some, you’ve already assessed your skills but imagine a CEO being able to say that.  We’ve upscaled 25% of our workforce in data science and data analytics skills over the last two years.  That’s their goal, that’s what they put in place and compare that to saying what we had 25% of our workforce, take a leadership program or some compliance courses.  I mean, who really cares if they’re not building skills.  So, that’s how we’re thinking about measurement and how impactful it can be to a company’s business strategy.  So I, hope that helps.

 

Dennis Kennedy: Excellent, no, that’s great and we’ve got a lot more questions for Kelly Palmer but before we ask anymore, we are going to take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.

 

[Music]

 

Tom Mile: And now, let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report.  I’m Tom Mile.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy and we are joined by our very special guest, Kelly Palmer, co-author of the Expertise Economy and chief learning officer at Degreed in Innovative Education and Learning Platform.  Kelly let’s focus on some of your insights into the legal profession.  In your book, there’s a great story about Emily Foote in how she looked at legal training and training in general and created a new approach to training that that mirrored a mentoring approach.  Sort of focused on practice and the learning process.  You would do as you were actually learning something and it’s about as far away as you can get from the current continuing legal education programs and approaches that we see these days, would you share that story with us?

 

Kelly Palmer: I’d love to.  And Emily was one of my favorite interviews that I did for the book.  She actually was a was a teacher.  She went through teach for America Program and then she, I think started some of the KIPP schools and then decided to go to law school.  And while she was in law school, she had one particular professor that took a different approach to actually learning and instead of just lecture based learning and taking tests the way we’re used to, he actually had this model where he actually used the learning loop that we talked about earlier and that we described in the book where he for example took a case study and instead of describing what people should do first off, he actually had people in the classroom start developing this case, discuss it and then go away and then come back the next week with their findings actually.  They actually started developing.  Some of the coursework and pairing up with peers to have discussions around it.

 

(00:30:02)

 

But each week would go on and they would get further down creating this legal case that he was and it was an “aha moment” for Emily because what she said was this is the most effective learning I’ve ever had because instead of just getting lectures about what I should be doing, we’re actually being asked to do something and then, come back and discuss it.  So, we’re actually practicing, we’re getting feedback, we’re reflecting on that and then we’re going and doing a little bit more.  So, then she got an opportunity with this professor, creative technology platform, that actually modeled what the professor in law school was doing and this platform is called Practice.  And so, basically, she followed that same model where you actually — it’s a video-based platform where you actually pair up with peers and you practice using video.  You send your video to your peer.  They look at it.  They give you some feedback.  You reflect on it and then you do it again.  And so, it was it was very effective.  They got a grant to do it.  They actually were very successful and the company got acquired.  I think a year and a half or two years ago by Instructure and it’s being used by some — interestingly enough, I think you mentioned this it’s being used more by commercial companies.  I think Domino’s and Comcast were some of their first customers.  But it may be that — but it started with the law field and how we could actually change the way the legal profession thinks about learning.  And so, that’s a story there.  The only other thing I wanted to mention about that.  In the book, we also talk about the medical profession which is also very similar where it’s all about lectures and I interviewed a doctor that said we’re moving completely to what they called action-based learning and like realizing that medical students were going through three years of school with lecture based learning before they actually got to apply what they learned through their residency or however they’re applying their skills and he said that’s crazy.  We’re going to start having people do things like almost immediately and give up this lecture-based model.  So, I think that there are forward-thinking leaders in both the legal and the medical profession but it’s slow-going and it’s slow-going sometimes even in the court in tech and in the corporate world.  So, I think what my goal is to get a hold of these forward-thinking leaders to have us change the way people think about learning and to start being champions for this new way we should be doing things.

 

Dennis Kennedy: Well, Tom and I both have often been considered, sometimes reluctantly as the subject matter expert in certain topics during our careers and I think a big issue for experts is that often you’re the only one and it’s difficult to get people to help you and it can be added to your job so you’re kind of doing a job and a half and you’re maybe not being compensated for all this extra expertise that you get and you often get pulled in at the last minute.  So, I think that’s an attractive place where this type of learning and the degree platform and it’s new approaches to learning can make sense.  It’s just to kind of help you retain the experts and to kind of take some of the burden off of them because the experts — me as an expert, I want to find like the proteges and the next ones who can take over the stuff and are probably smarter than I am about, you know, ultimately about different things.  So, what are you seeing along those lines?  Is that being an unexpected benefit that people have found?

 

Kelly Palmer: Yeah, I think its actually part of our vision for Degreed in the platform is to be able to say there are experts in the industry, there are experts in my company that I want to learn from and I want to follow.  And so, the platform is set up to where you can actually connect with experts in certain areas and you could follow them.  They could be your peers or they could be somebody that’s completely out of your field but I think that that’s the power of the of the platform.  If you understand who’s specializing in certain things, you can follow them.  And then, as we talked about earlier, if you’re a subject matter expert that’s getting asked a lot about your expertise because you’re the only one that has it, we have a guy at Degreed who’s a data science expert and it’s a relatively new field.  There’s not a ton of experts in that area.  So, he uses the platform.  Create a curated content list of things that he most often gets asked about.  Here’s the best resources for you to learn more.  Here’s how you — if you want to dive into this you can.

 

(00:35:00)

 

But then people can also follow him and say I want to see what he’s learning every, I want to know what articles he is reading or what books he’s reading or who else he’s connected to because that will help me understand where I should go.  So, there’s a variety of ways that you can use experts in the platform but it’s very effective right.  If you can do use technology to actually follow people — I know being a chief learning officer, I have a lot of people in the learning industry that actually follow me on degreed for exactly that to see what I’m learning, what skills I’m building and if they are a chief learning officer or they aspire to be in this field, they can follow me as an expert.

 

Dennis Kennedy: Well, speaking of technology, let’s wrap it up by talking on something that’s the focus of this podcast which is technology.  I completely agree with your approach that technology should not drive your learning strategy, but that it should be part of it and that you should have — I think you describe as a learning technology ecosystem.  What would the best way for a law firm to think about doing that?  What kind of thoughts do they need to have about putting in place the right types of technology to enable whatever their learning strategy winds up being?

 

Kelly Palmer: Right.  So, unfortunately, not a lot of companies put together a learning strategy.  And so, then, they start by looking at technology and saying what kind of technology can we get that will help us.  Ii would encourage people to step back for a moment and say what is it that you’re trying to do.  How are you trying to help either your employees, your managers or your leaders with learning, and so, we talked about a lot of that today.  It’s like, do you want people to be able to learn from peers, do you want people to be able to learn from a variety of sources, what are the key things that you’re trying to do to help people learn and then go see if technology will support that.  Because that’s – it may seem very simple and fundamental but interestingly enough, a lot of people buy the technology and then say, okay, how can we use this best for our employees the other way around and then they may be disappointed that things don’t turn out exactly the way they had hoped.  So, if you’re learning strategy is about collaboration, helping people be continuously learning all the time, if you want a platform that helps people understand what skills they have and what skills they need, if you want a platform that gives you data and analytics about what people are learning and what skills they’re building, if you want a platform that will also allow people to connect to projects and opportunities at your company.  if those are all the things that you have on your list as part of your strategy then, Degreed would be a great technology for that but you actually have a great way to say, okay, those are the things I want to do, what other technologies are out there and now what’s the best one that I want.  So, that’s how I would approach it and that’s why I always say, figure out your strategy first and then see how the technology helps you.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And with that, we want to thank Kelly Palmer for being a guest on the podcast.  Kelly, please tell us again about your book, tell us where people can learn more about you or get in touch with you?

 

Kelly Palmer: That’s great.  So, the book is called, “The Expertise Economy”.  It’s available on Amazon and we also have a website called expertiseeconomy.com.  You can go there.  You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.  I always love to hear from people.  So, don’t feel shy.  Connect with me and you can also follow me on Degreed and even if you’re not a corporate customer, you can sign up on Degreed and follow me and see what I’m learning every day and my email is [email protected] in case you want to drop me an email.

 

Dennis Kennedy: Thank you again so much.  Kelly, this is great.  It’s sort of one of the things I just pulled out at the end is I think that I’m starting to think less in terms of knowledge management, the classic sort of thing in law and more in terms of learning and for a variety of reasons.  It just feels more active and more aligned to what we’re doing.  So, I’m thrilled about that insight because I’m going to be doing some thinking about that.  But now it’s time, of course, for our parting shots at One Tip Website, our observation.  You can use this second this podcast ends.  Kelly, we’re going to ask you if you have a parting shot for us?

 

Kelly Palmer: I do and I think one — through our research, what we found is that what people say is the biggest obstacle to learning is that they don’t have time or they don’t make time for learning.  So, my big tip for everyone is s to set aside just to start 15 to 30 minutes a week.  Actually, schedule it on your calendar and devote that to learning and it can be any kind of learning to start.

 

(00:40:01)

 

And again, broaden your definition of what learning is.  That means that you start realizing if you’re reading an article, you’re learning something, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re actually learning something, you’re reading a book so forth.  So, start by creating a weekly habit of learning, blocking out that time in your calendar and realizing all the different things that can be learning in your life.

 

Tom Mile: Excellent, great tip.  I’m going to have the technology route and mention that this this week that we’re recording this, Google announced a whole lot of pixel phones that are coming out.  For those of my iPhone friends who are looking for something a little bit — less expensive and are willing to mosey over to the android side of the fence.  They introduced the Pixel 4A, which what the reviews are saying is that $350 is the best mid-range phone that you can currently buy and for $350 that’s not a bad price for a for a phone these days and those of you who don’t want to pay the thousand dollars that most of the flagships are commanding these days, the Google phone — as a pixel user, I can tell you it’s one of the best phones I’ve ever used in my life.  So, go over to the Google Store, take a look.  They’ve got a couple of phones that are coming out in the next couple of weeks or months and the 4A is the first one.  Dennis?

 

Dennis Kennedy: So, I have two, of course, but one you’ll understand when I give it and that is that in my most recent news it’s just been announced that I’ll be the interim director of Michigan State’s Center for Law Technology and Innovation.  And so, I encourage you to take a look at the website there as we continue to build that out and so, I’m super excited about that, but the tip I have is — actually, I think a lot of people are going to find it useful, except for Tom, who only uses Google phones.  But this is something called re-incubate camo and so, we all have the problem these days of not having the best webcams and they’re super hard to find.  Especially, the Logitech ones that everybody recommends.  So, what Camo does, it’s an app for your Mac that will allows you to turn your iPhone into a webcam for video calls and video content.  Costs $40 a year and all of a sudden, it’s super easy to use.  The people behind the company reached out to me just when I mentioned it on twitter.  So, they seem responsive and for $40 is maybe a good webcam these days cost $300 if you can find one.  So, it’s a great approach to take to maybe simplify the webcam issue and take advantage of the great camera that’s right in your phone.

 

Tom Mile: And since Dennis issued the challenge, I will say that those of you who have android phones who want to make a webcam out of it can use the IV cam app, which is in the Google Play Store and that will get you the same functionality that Dennis mentioned.  So, that wraps it up for this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report.  Thanks for joining us on the podcast.  You can find show notes for this episode on the legal talk networks page for the podcast.  If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our show in iTunes or on the legal talk network site where you can find transcripts of our shows as well as archives of all of our previous podcasts.  If you’d like to get in touch with us, please reach out to each of us on LinkedIn or leave us a voicemail.  Remember, we like to get voicemails for our B Segment.  That number is 720-441-6820.  So, until the next podcast, I’m Tom Mile.

 

Dennis Kennedy: And i’m Dennis Kennedy, and you’ve been listening to the Kennedy-Mighell Report.  A podcast on legal technology with an internet focus.  If you like what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts and we’ll see you next time for another episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.

 

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Episode Details
Published: August 14, 2020
Podcast: Kennedy-Mighell Report
Category: Practice Management
Podcast
Kennedy-Mighell Report
Kennedy-Mighell Report

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell talk the latest technology to improve services, client interactions, and workflow.

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