When Galileo declared that the earth orbited the sun, he was found guilty of heresy and placed under house arrest until his death. Of course, we now know the sun is at the center of our solar system and view Galileo as the father of the modern science. Michael Pruitt, an Engagement Manager at VMC, talks about why conventional wisdom can actually be an obstacle in creating digital snacks.
We’ve established that when we create content using the digital snacks methodology, the risks and waste go down after each iteration because we’re routinely learning new things. When waste goes down, so does cost. But, one benefit of the iterative process that isn’t always apparent is the valuable unlearning that happens during the first sprint of 25 or so snacks.
Unlearning helps retrain the writing team and helps them adopt the digital snacks paradigm moving forward. Typically, the writers’ experience with technical training is producing conventional manuals. They’re comfortable writing start-to-finish tech pubs following a more traditional, linear model. That’s their “habit.” If you’ve ever tried to give up a “bad habit,” you’ve learned that you don’t just get rid of the old habit; you replace it with a “good” one. You force yourself to exercise every time you want to plunk down and watch TV. Or, you reach for a glass of water instead of that sugary, caffeinated cola. It’s awkward and uncomfortable at first, but soon, you settle into your new, healthier habit and automatically go for a run after work or grab a glass of water.
When the team starts creating the first 25 snacks, they’re still working from their old paradigm. Initially, they do have to make some assumptions; at that point, while they’re are informed on the topic, they’re not yet experts. Once they finish the first snacks and get feedback, though, the team changes their mindset and moves forward with the next iteration more informed and more adept. Basically, the team is retrained, moving from a traditional publishing model to the more efficient digital snacks model – and this retraining comes at very little cost.
Because humans are creatures of habit, unlearning and retraining can be a tough, costly process if there isn’t a clear strategy in place. With content creation, what are you doing to make sure that all your stars align?