Both the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) and the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) featured internet experts as part of their 2011 educational programs.
SSP's speakers, Mark Wahlstrom and Joe Didier, focused primarily on internet marketing and recommended expanded business use of web-based social media tools such as podcasts, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Wahlstrom offered one especially insightful and negative cultural observation about the structured settlement industry as it attempts to transition from pre-internet to web-based business models, processes and skill sets: "We do not share ideas well in our industry."
NSSTA's speaker, LuAnn Reeb, also discussed internet marketing and social media tools in the context of "business communications today". Her emphasis, however, was more on the importance of learning web-based skill sets and how web-based conversations are replacing traditional one-directional marketing techniques.
How far structured settlement stakeholders must still go to successfully transition their business to the Internet was summed up humorously by one SSP wag who asked speaker Didier at the conclusion of his presentation: "So, are you saying that this Internet thing is really important?"
Assuming the answer is "yes", neither SSP nor NSSTA has articulated any identifiable learning strategy to help members transition from pre-internet to web-based business models, processes and skill sets. At best, their 2011 educational programs will encourage some members to sign-up for Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.
S2KM comments and recommendations:
- The structured settlement and settlement planning industries currently function primarily using old (pre-internet) business models, rules, skill sets, tools and culture.
- Web-based business activity introduces new business rules, creates new business models and culture, and requires new skill sets and tools.
- In the words of Kevin Kelly, an internet business pioneer: “as innovation accelerates, abandoning the highly successful in order to escape from its eventual obsolescence becomes the most difficult and yet most essential task.”
- Lectures represent an ineffective teaching method for learning Internet skill sets and tools.
- To help their members accelerate and improve their business transition to the internet, SSP and NSSTA could:
- Place a greater educational priority on helping members understand the Internet business environment and learn web-based skill sets and tools.
- Sponsor related workshops utilizing appropriate educational venues. See, for example, The METS Center.
- Begin utilizing web-based tools (other than email and listserves) to improve committee functions and teach committee members how to collaborate online.
- Encourage more members to publish, read and subscribe to online blogs, podcasts and wikis.
- Expand (or create) references in Wikipedia for "structured settlement", "settlement planning" and related vocabulary.
- Advice for structured settlement and settlement planning stakeholders who consider themselves knowledge workers and want to successfully transition their knowledge and work processes to the internet - with or without assistance from SSP and NSSTA:
- Learn more about web 2.0 and web-based knowledge management (KM).
- Identify (inventory and/or map) your personal and collaborative (company; industry) knowledge.
- Learn how to capture your knowledge in formats you can publish and share online (publicly and/or privately).
- Identify and connect with online knowledge leaders and resources for structured settlements and/or settlement planning.
- Learn more about web-based organizational concepts such as personal KM, social networks, communities of practice (COPs) and folksonomies.
- Learn to utilize web-based cultural best practices such as knowledge sharing and continuous learning.
For visual examples of how one company captures structured settlement knowledge, see this Flickr page created by The Settlement Services Group (TSSG). Click on individual diagrams to enlarge.
For complete S2KM reporting about the SSP and NSSTA 2011 annual meetings, see the structured settlement wiki.