Page launches the Learning Lab to educate future communications leaders

Win CAPEx support from the Board
Page (formally the Arthur W. Page Society), the global membership organization for chief communications officers, engaged Get Real in February 2020 to develop the business case and strategy for an online learning offer to be launched in 2021. Get Real worked with the executive team, internal stakeholders, and external learning specialists to identify an online learning need that would align with its mission and be a viable business opportunity. The engagement culminated in a board decision in June 2020 to adopt Get Real’s recommendations for a Learning Lab targeted at members’ teams and proceed to implementation. The Learning Lab is now a vibrant and growing online learning community offering masterclasses, mentoring, podcasts, courses, videos, and articles to more than 500 senior communications professionals.

At a glance

Board approval sought
100 companies
in the Lab in Year 2
1500 learners
studying in the Lab in Year 2

About The Page Society

Headquartered in New York, Page is the premier global membership organization for Chief Communications Officers and other senior communications executives. Its members are CCOs within large corporations, the chief executives of leading PR agencies, and communications educators. The Page mission is to strengthen the enterprise leadership role of the CCO to help them transform business for the better, and for more than 30 years it has been delivering on that mission through research, events, and education.

The full story

Decision to be made

Page prides itself on being a “learning organization,” defining that as a double-sided commitment: on the one hand continually researching and evolving the leadership role of the CCO; and on the other passing that insight on to its members and future leaders.

Until recently Page had interpreted its mission as defining and evolving the role of the CCO. However in recent years that remit expanded into one of improving the capabilities and strategic insight within communications teams. Strong teams and great leaders are reciprocal.

With little experience educating at a level below the leadership function Page opted for external decision support and called on Get Real to accelerate its deliberations. The brief was to define a learner community, participate in the creation of a curriculum, and build a business case, using an entrepreneurial start-up mind-set. And to do all that in a 12-week window. The Go/No Go decision point would be Page's June 2020 board meeting.

Our Approach
Open up the problem

We kicked off with a two-day sprint at the Page headquarters in New York in February 2020. The goal was to draw together all the stakeholders in one room to frame the problem and to reach consensus on potential solutions to be investigated. The process carefully followed the classic two-day Get Real model: expert interviews, framing a stretch goal, prioritizing concerns, and generating solutions that would meet Page's strategic objectives.

Validate problem-solution fit

Immediately post the sprint we consulted with key members, CCOs from major corporations and agencies around the world. This was done via a structured and scored interview process, with one Get Real consultant conducting the interviews and another, along with internal stakeholders auditing the interviews.
Next, the sprint and member interviews informed a survey that went out to all members in March. The statistical analysis of the survey results gave clear indications of how the members wanted their teams to learn, what they wanted them taught, and how much they were prepared to pay.

Product-Market Fit

Following the sprint we created product roadmap experiments to validate the market opportunity and to work at getting the empirical evidence of product-market fit. Essentially in these experiments we were asking:

  1. Could Page attract a market at a viable cost?
  2. Is that market interested in what it would be selling?

Throughout the Scrum we did desk research covering:

  • A competitive analysis of existing learning programs for communicators and how a Page offering would be distinct;
  • The market opportunity for building such a program, including to whom each program will be marketed and available;
  • What the business model would look like, including staff resources, expenses and revenue;
  • The resources required to deliver, both internal and external.
Actionable Plan and CAPEx Support

At the end of the process we delivered:

  • A narrative business plan;
  • A set of three year financials; and,
  • An investor deck

These were presented to the Board in June 2020 and a decision to proceed was made with a commitment to investment.

The Outcome

The Page Learning Lab launched in April 2021, on time and on budget, using the Stream online learning experience platform from LearningPool. At launch it offered over 100 learning experiences across 12 streams including Brand Stewardship, Corporate Culture, Societal Value, and Communications Technology.

Since launch the Lab has expanded to include masterclasses in which Page members pay forward their experience, badged learning paths, and has seen rapid growth in its content library. In 2022 it will extend its offer again to offer mentorships, creating opportunities for communications professionals to interact with and learn from peers in other organizations.

The global communications community has responded positively, with major corporate participation and over 500 learners in its first year.

Where we helped
Planning Problem Solution Fit Adopting Agile Ways-of-Working Value Proposition Customer Voice Product-Market Fit CAPEx Decision
Evidence based decision support

Talk to our Realists

We help you make better decisions

Alistair Hodgett
Alistair Hodgett
US & Ireland
Paul Healy
Paul Healy
US, UK, & Ireland
Paul Geraghty
Paul Geraghty
Remote & Ireland