If someone were to ask us about the industries and markets that are involved in Smart Cities, our first impulse would be to think about physical technologies, or about industry-based actions. Certainly this direction of thought isn't flawed: if we invest in something, we all want to see tangible results – an argument that the Smart City sceptics usually raise to oppose further funding. This is why industries such as the optimization of energy, robotics, domotics or urban remodeling have been some of the most successful areas within Smart Cities over the last years. Their overall cost, functionality and results are easier to measure over a shorter span of time.
But what about Smart City actions, or areas of activity, that could be branded as ‘intangible’? Take Open Governance, for example. One could argue that the technologies and new procedures that are implemented to achieve this openness do not yield economic results and that its achievements can remain, for the most part, unnoticed. However, the rise of social media and mobile technologies has forced governments and institutions to be more responsive than ever: citizens nowadays don't just enjoy being in touch with their representatives, but rather they demand connectivity from them. Education, on the other hand, is a field where digitalization is not broadly demanded, Perhaps that is because the population has grown too attached to the old ways of teaching, though the implementation of disruptive technologies could do wonders. In India, for example, some states suffered from a low ratio of teachers per capita, and technology arrived to save the day. Now, teachers can stream lessons in up to up to three classrooms at once, and video conference applications allow them to take questions and answer them in real time (providing that the children aren't too noisy, of course!).
Citizens nowadays rather demand connectivity from their representatives
Education, however, is not limited to youth, and not necessarily bound by the walls of a classroom. Continuing education is a very powerful option for those who are already part of the workforce but desire to increase their skills. Continuous education is also used by companies that want to provide additional training to their employees, resulting in a more versatile workforce. The implementation of these training programs even allows companies to reallocate some of their personnel to new positions and departments instead of spending time and money hiring new workers. In an age of ever-changing economies, where traditional jobs disappear or take new shapes with each passing month, learning beyond our college years has become more important than ever.
The importance of continuous learning is clear, but what are the best means to deliver ongoing education? The solution must be reliable and accessible on-the-go to match our fast-paced lifestyles. Ideally, the solution would provide flexible and modern tools that allow users to easily locate desired content, track their learning progress and collaborate with peers or industry experts.
Such a platform is already available to us, and its name is BlueBottleBiz.
Founded in Madrid in 2012, BlueBottleBiz is a worldwide collaborative learning platform, where publishers and members come together in an effort to create and share business-related content that grows individual and organizational talent. BlueBottleBiz’s digital library features an impressive collection of nearly 30.000 resources (books, journals, and training videos among others) that are provided by reputable publishers and content providers and revised periodically, resulting in a gallery of first-rate content that aims to stimulate business development and skill improvement.
BlueBottleBiz saves busy executives from having to search for quality content on the Internet by compiling the most reliable and up-to-date business content into one, central platform, based on the recommendations of industry experts. With this curated content, members (individuals, employees, executives and other content providers) can add their own comments, offer insights and ideas, as well share content with peers or customers within the platform or externally on social networks.
BlueBottleBiz’s executives firmly believe in the power of ‘collaborative learning’: an environment where authors, organizations, content builders and members can interact freely with one another in a platform that guarantees content quality, as well as data protection of all platform members. The platform’s collaborative tools make learning more of an experience and less of a job requirement. “Companies are starting to realize that ‘closed’ learning management systems do not support true collaboration. Instead, executives are looking for innovative platforms to help support social and informal learning. The good news is the future is here, and we are already delivering a truly collaborative experience through BlueBottleBiz, ” states Mike Conner, Chief Evangelist at BlueBottleBiz.
The landscape of business changes constantly, and we can no longer rely on what we´ve already learned in the past to keep us ahead of the curve. Knowledge development and training must be an ongoing process. With rapid changes among organizations and industries, BlueBottleBiz –the collaborative learning platform for business professionals– proves to be the leading source for continuous learning.
BlueBottleBiz applies the principles of the sharing economy to the learning industry by combining expert content, network and collaborative tools into a central platform that empowers everyone to learn and grow together. The company understands how time-strapped today’s businessmen and women are, and to help solve the issue of not having enough time to learn, BlueBottleBiz created “Discovery Paths”: customized learning modules that allow anyone to delve into a new theme in a short amount of time. These Paths can be configured to last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes, delivering the most meaningful content to individuals and making learning simple and efficient.
Discovery Paths serve many different groups in unique ways: authors can use them to introduce their line of work and share published content to new audiences quickly; companies can use them to efficiently outline key items for a new learning strategy, as well as share expert content with current and prospective customers; and business schools can use them as their main way to deliver digital lessons to students.
With Discovery Paths, BlueBottleBiz empowers content creators of all types to share ideas and concepts paired with expert content – some of which may be their own.
Charles Jennings theorized proposed what he called ‘the 70:20:10 model’, where he explains that today´s society operates on a model where an individual acquires 70 percent of useful knowledge by informal learning through experience, from peers and clients, as well as personal readings; 20 percent through formal on-the-job training by coaching and feedback from bosses; and 10 percent through formal education (Universities, Masters degrees…). Companies often devote most of their training resources into boosting the learning process at the workplace – but if we know that the majority of one´s learning happens informally, why not build a platform that provides some structure to informal learning while still allowing freedom for open feedback and collaboration? This idea, this challenge, is at the core of BlueBottleBiz.
“We believe in empowering all individuals on every occasion, to make better business decisions” (Marcelino Elosúa, founder and CEO)
When asked about the contribution of BlueBottleBiz to the innovative, interconnected spirit of Smart Cities, Marcelino Elosúa (founder and CEO) said:
“BlueBottleBiz is spearheading the collaborative learning movement because we believe in empowering all individuals on every occasion, to make better business decisions. To achieve that goal, our platform offers a guided discovery to a world of business knowledge. The power of immediate, direct and accumulative feedback provided by multiple real-world users of a knowledge resource cannot be underestimated. That feedback triggers swift improvements of specific learning resources by allowing our members to recombine and to change whatever is not working properly, for example in a new Discovery Path. Uncensored feedback and suggestions in a connected society with access to specialized knowledge – selected, curated, and improved by an expert and professional network with the help of innovative collaboration tools – has incredible potential. What the movement of Smart Cities is doing for the citizens, BlueBottleBiz is doing for the global business executives: using technology to help create a better, more intelligent world for all.”
By Jorge González-Páramo
Communications, Content & Partnership at BlueBottleBiz