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.
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.
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:
- Could Page attract a market at a viable cost?
- 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 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.