The idea for this post came about after a meeting where our company owner talked about training key people in a company to make sure that they could get more use from their equipment. I mentioned to him that this was exactly what I aim for when I run my training sessions with our customers and that I even had a name for them.
Through all the training sessions I’ve completed at many businesses and schools across Australia, I’ve noticed that there are those in a session that will be far more engaged than others. It’s very apparent that they are keen on using the interactive tech that I’m training, and their colleagues often will talk to them during a session to get their thoughts or ideas on how to use them in their context.
During that training I often note who they are and call them the “Tech Champions” who can take up the challenge of leading the way in creatively using the screens in their work.
It’s true that learning to use new tech can be difficult at times, especially when you are busy with other things and don’t have the time to dive in to figure it all out. Even harder is to find ways to use the tech creatively such as the case with interactive screens being a display, beyond what they might initially seem to be. Then your expensive new purchase with so much promise ends up underutilised or even discarded before realising its full potential and becomes another piece of equipment shoved into storage or the scrapheap.
This is where a Tech Champion in your workplace becomes extremely valuable in helping to increase the uptake and engagement with your new tech purchases.
These are the three key reasons why having a Tech Champion is so important to getting the best from your technology use in your work (and it can be any type of tech you get, not just interactive screens!).
They can inspire others to take up the tech use by seeing what they are doing.
This is probably the most important point to having a Tech Champion. Seeing your peers using the tech in creative ways is one of the simplest ways to try using the tech in the same ways yourself. Watching how engaging a presentation can be, or how easy it is to get students involved in a creative session can help drive the want to learn a little more about the tech involved and how to get more from it. As the Tech Champion is fully aware of the challenges faced in the day-to-day work and understands how the organisation works, they will be doing things relevant to the wider group that anyone can benefit from seeing and trying, instead of seeing an abstract example during a training session from the supplier.
They become the local source for support.
Seeing as the Tech Champion is close by, they can also become the person that can help when things might not work in the way you hope. This eliminates the length of time it takes to get help on issues that are often minor and can be resolved quickly and easily by someone with a little more knowledge due their deeper involvement in the tech. It also helps reduce frustration with using the tech in the users part but may increase it on the Tech Champions part if it isn’t their main role. To help alleviate problems like that, giving the champion extra time to help these by shifting their workload may help in keeping the champion excited to continue doing what they do.
Training can be done by a train-the-trainer method.
Not everyone can attend training sessions when the new tech arrives and is installed ready to go. This can make arranging PD for these very difficult, and in some cases almost impossible. Having a few key members of staff that are willing to be the Tech Champions can ensure that there is a good level of knowledge within your teams that can then be shared amongst other staff members similar to a train-the-trainer situation. By giving them the time and opportunity to train other staff members, there is more flexibility in running training sessions and they can be staged over a longer period than what the supplier may be able to offer (usually only 1-2hrs if you are lucky).
The best part is that you usually don’t even need to nominate someone to become the champion as it often happens quite naturally. This has the benefit of being their choice, rather than something foisted upon them meaning they will be more likely to want to be the champion with all the benefits it brings your company or school. Further, it also benefits the champion as they continue to build skills that will enhance their careers as well as their day-to-day work, so in the end, everyone’s a winner.
What do you think about having a Tech Champion where you work? Let us know in the comments below.