The Co-operative – Leadership Development Zone
This case study shows how The Co-operative and Kineo partnered to create a Moodle based online portal as a focus for leadership development. We’ll take you through the challenge of designing a solution to reach out to The Co-operative’s top 500 leaders, through a collaborative development process to the delivery and marketing of an engaging solution.
You can read the full case study below. Want to take it on the go? Download a pdf version [872kb].
The Co-operative has been going through a period of organisational change to increase cohesion throughout the group, build better brand awareness, re-focus strategy and ultimately increase growth. The re-branding of The Co-operative stores, banks and other services is one part of this initiative that you are likely to have experienced.
Integral to this change The Co-operative identified the need to focus on its top 500 leaders as being the key instigators of change. The key challenge faced was how to reach out to such a widely varied and geographically dispersed group of time-challenged senior colleagues in a way that would truly engage them, motivate and provide the developmental opportunities they need.
The Co-operative identified the need for a single point, online portal to act as a focus for their leadership development strategy. With this in mind they commissioned Kineo to help them to realise what this could be like.
Over a period of nine months Kineo worked in partnership with The Co-operative to realise the vision of the Leadership development zone. Instead of working to a pre-defined set of requirements, both teams worked together to help define and evolve those requirements. The Co-operative established a steering group of senior leaders as well as a Community of Interest to represent different areas of the business; the purpose of which was to provide focused input, create a leadership framework, steer the overall design approach and develop relevant content for the portal.
Kineo initially provided consultative support to advise on the design, development and implementation of the new way of learning for their senior leadership population. Kineo went on to provide the interface and technical design expertise to help shape a learning portal solution appropriate to the needs of the audience.
Early concept designs for the Leadership Development Zone
Some of the key challenges we faced in realising the project were as follows:
Great communication between each team is a critical factor to the success of any project and was of particular importance here. A wide range of people required co-ordination in terms of hands-on effort, or provision of feedback and steer; this included The Co-operative project team and Community of Interest (COI) and members of Kineo’s Sheffield and Brighton offices. Strong project management from both sides was key to facilitating effective communication and co-ordinating the project as a whole. The experience and input of the COI and Kineo’s consultants was invaluable in guiding the project towards the best solution.
Working with a blank canvas
As learning portals go the project started as a concept, rather than a defined list of functional requirements. The system design was therefore born out of a response to the needs of the audience. We tried out design concepts based on the vision and suggested functionality and content, then reviewed these and iterated as the thinking evolved. We developed a prototype version of the portal, which was very well received and gave us confidence that we were on the right track.
Leadership Development Zone Prototype
Getting the message out and the leaders in
Both teams recognised that the pressures faced by leaders in a thriving organisation would potentially make them a difficult group to engage and bring together. With this in mind we planned for how to facilitate this engagement from the outset.
“We could have ended up with a well presented website with useful content that nobody looked at. This was identified right from the start as a risk by The Co-operative team behind the project and so together The Co-operative and Kineo and came up with an approach that meant there is a constant draw to the site.
The key was to identify key topics, promoted by relevant senior team members, and focus on them for a set period of time. This created focused discussions and an increased buzz which attracted high numbers of busy senior managers to look at the online content and take part in conversations with their peers. The Co-operative is using working groups to identify and help design and develop the topics and so everything on the site is fresh, relevant and important.” Mark Harrison, Kineo Director and Consultant.
The open source Moodle learning management system (LMS) was used as the portal’s technical platform. Moodle was seen as the ideal solution for the following reasons:
• Open source means a cost effective start point with no on-going user licence fees
Kineo enhanced Moodle’s content development and publishing tools to enable content to go through a creation, review and publishing process, which allows contributions from a wide range of users with the safety net of review prior to going live. Furthermore, the framework by which content is displayed was custom built to draw in relevant content. The Moodle search functionality was also enhanced to enable this.
Another area of customisation was around the classroom course booking. As this face-to-face training would be provided by a number of different suppliers we enabled external bookings to be sent via email to the relevant people.
“We chose Kineo because of their expertise and flexibility in designing, developing and implementing a range of innovative, Moodle based, learning solutions across a range of sectors. The Moodle platform allowed The Co-operative to create its own unique portal, providing leaders with a positive and engaging learning experience based on their individual needs together with a cost effective way of maintaining and developing the site.”
The project has been a resounding success both in terms of the development process and the results.
Success as a project process
Having held an end of project review, Kineo and the Co-operative identified the key project success factors as follows:
Success as a leadership development resource
The combination of the expertise of The Co-operative’s Community of Interest and Kineo’s consultants enabled the creation of an effective leadership development framework and accompanying online solution. By understanding the leadership audience’s needs, the solution was designed to meet these specifically and to be marketed in a way that would entice involvement.
Five weeks in and 42% of the top 500 leaders are involved.
After just five weeks from going live, 42% of The Co-operative’s top 500 leaders were accessing the portal, a number that is steadily growing. Involving senior leaders from inception of the project, coupled with the e-magazines and an 18-month marketing and embedding campaign, were felt to be contributing factors to this success. End user representation in on-going development will be of continued real benefit and will be what keeps the Leadership development zone thriving.
The live Leadership Development Zone
Being a flexible and scalable solution Moodle was seen as a solution which could not just meet The Co-operative’s immediate needs but also be future proof. Future enhancements that are being considered include:
Kineo and The Co-operative are continuing to work together on new initiatives. We are currently developing a showcase e-learning piece on the performance management process, which will be launched on the Leadership Development Zone, and look forward to a great on-going partnership.
“I've really enjoyed working with The Co-operative on the development of their Leadership development zone. We were able to develop a really good working relationship with the key members of the The Co-operative team, which helped us respond to the different challenges that we encountered along the way. There were quite a lot of unknowns at the start of the project, but close collaboration allowed us to design and create a final product that met their needs and timescales.” Darren Holmes, Kineo Project Manager
“The project has surpassed my expectations. The Leadership development zone has acted as a real catalyst to the formation of a learning culture within The Co-operative. Easily accessed learning at the point of need enables our leaders to be the best they can be.”