Experiment Cycles

This piece is to be created last The purpose is to communicate the platform strategy with laypeople It should be no longer than 2-3 paragraphsIt may be text based and / or visual

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Chapter Overview
The VPS Academy is an investment in capacity building, made through the VPS Innovation Strategy.

The VPS Academy is focused on building a platform for collaboration, capacity building and innovation culture.
  • Through Platform Design we seek to build the capacity of VPS to understand the dynamics of platforms, and the ability to design, launch and evolve your own. 
  • Through Platform Activation we seek to build a network of people who are actively engaged in peer learning.
  • Through Impact Evaluation we seek to develop an evidence-based understanding of the effectiveness of our shared work, capture progress and use it to evolve the platform into the future.

Activation Cycle 1: Onboarding

This experiment is focused on the development of a platform which supports recruitment, engagement and activity of participants of the VPS Academy.

It is built on the evidence that for learning platforms to be effective, we need to craft the right invitation and establish the infrastructure to enable interactions. [link to evidence]


By crafting an invitation which appeals to specific 'jobs to be done' gathered through research, supporting Producers to tell their story, and building a searchable website with a simple signup process, will result in at least 50 sign ups in the first 2 weeks, if supported by the VPSCIIN mailing list.

Primary activities for cycle:

  • Recruitment of people (alumni) to share their professional experiences and wisdom
  • Supporting alumni to tell a story of self, and their experience
  • Recruitment of people who wish to learn from their peers in VPS
  • Create a searchable and discoverable library of all the alumni
  • Create a dedicated communication channel which enables transparent group communication and one-to-one communication


Experiment Sheet for Activation Cycle: Onboarding

Activation Cycle 2: Social Capital Building

The second experiment is focused on the nurturing of interactions between participants to grow trust, engagement and valuable interactions.

It is built on the evidence that for learning platforms to be effective, we need to build social capital between the participants. [link to evidence]


“In an organization focused on scalable efficiency, the focus of learning is on sharing explicit knowledge. In this kind of organization, individuals are the primary focus of learning. But if leaders shift their focus to creating new tacit knowledge, then that kind of learning is best done in small workgroups that bring together people with diverse skills and perspectives and that help them to form deep, trust-based relationships with each other so that they can feel comfortable trying new things, even if they might not work, and reflecting collaboratively on what worked and what didn’t work.
These small workgroups can learn even faster if they are connected through networks with other workgroups. That way, they can draw in others and seek advice and help when they are confronting new situations that challenge the individual workgroup.”

- Hagel & Seely-Brown https://hbr.org/2017/08/help-employees-create-knowledge-not-just-share-it


By matching Consumers and Producers, based on their experiences, problems and skills will see a greater number of interactions (both physical and digital) occur on the platform.

With this experiment our tactics focus on:

  • Matching of alumni and learners and facilitation of first interactions
  • Facilitating new connections through the communication platform
  • Allowing self organisation of participants through the communication platform
  • Sending an email series to highlight key content to participants,
  • Support the development of reflective practice by participants


Experiment Sheet for Activation Cycle 2: Social Capital Building

Activation Cycle 3: Collaborative Capability

This experiment is focused on the development of collaborative capacity individually and collectively to enable participants to collaboratively develop new knowledge and solutions in new contexts.

It is built on the evidence that for collaborative culture to grow, we need to build participants’ hard and soft collaboration capability.

“But when we recognize that the environment around us is rapidly changing, skills have a shorter and shorter half-life. While skills are still necessary for success, the focus should shift to cultivating the underlying capabilities that can accelerate learning so that new skills can be more rapidly acquired.These capabilities include curiosity, critical thinking, willingness to take risk, imagination, creativity, and social and emotional intelligence. If we can develop those learning capabilities, we should be able to rapidly evolve our skill sets in ways that keep us ahead of the game.
Scalable learning requires us to challenge our conventional beliefs about learning, beliefs that were fostered in much more stable times. If we truly understand the new forms of learning that our rapidly changing world requires, we will need to be prepared to re-think all aspects of our organizations, including our strategies, operations and the ways we organize our resources.”

- Hagel & Seely-Brown https://hbr.org/2017/08/help-employees-create-knowledge-not-just-share-it