How to Triangulate Nuanced Issues with Video

In the companion blog post, I described an idea for a new way to explain nuanced policies, concepts and practices. In this post, I explore how current software and hardware tools might be applied to make the process faster and easier.

Construction Process(s)

There are several ways to approach this problem. One way is to build them directly in targeted projects. Alternatively, the construction process can be integrated into a larger, more diverse, more permanent production capability … and there are probably options in between.

Single Topic Project

If you just want to build a gallery of best practice answers for one topic and publish it on a website, I would recommend some variation on the following process:

  • Select 4 to 6 knowledgeable operating personnel to self-record answers to questions about the policy or topic.
  • Develop a set of reasonably specific questions that ask for respondents’ personal definitions of their responsibilities and job boundaries (ethical, technical, etc.) with respect to the policy in question. The questions should encourage them to relate personal experience, operating style and values, but also to keep the answers fairly short.
  • Record the answers as informal video sessions. It might be as simple as a video “selfie”, done with a smartphone, webcam or screencast software like Camtasia or BB Flashback (my personal favorite).
  • Encourage contributors to use any informal props’ that make answering easier. That will help with people who are camera shy or tend to get tongue-tied. Encourage them to hold up diagrams, flip charts, product samples, books and reports, and to ‘talk with their hands’. PowerPoint slideshows might be allowed, but probably not encouraged.
  • Contributors should be allowed to submit more than one “take” if they are unsure which is best.
  • The resulting clips are uploaded to, from which they can be easily referenced and embedded in documents.
  • Assemble the raw videos for each answer in a web page gallery.
  • Task expert(s) to review the gallery and select a subset of the clips that constitute an approved summary of best practice.
  • Organize the selected clips in a table and add supporting guidelines and cues. The designer can add any features that make sense
  • GalleryDesign
    Publish and use. The most obvious place to use this would be in a social business platform. This material would work very well in a wiki and it could be referenced in blogs. Another option is to link or embed it in eLearning and make it part of courses that are delivered through the LMS.
Video Triangulation System Design

Anyone can probably do a single project if they are persistent. That might serve as a useful prototype and learning experience. However, I am convinced that if an organization discovers value in this approach, they will want to make a LOT of this type of material. That is a much bigger challenge. Then, the organization will need to assemble a stable process to generate, manage and distribute these types of documents. I believe a robust system can be assembled fairly easily from three technology toolkits:

  • Smartphones, tablets and screencast tools
  • and (optionally) Dartfish Desktop Software
  • Social business platforms such as: IBM Connections, Yammer, and Jive

These tools would likely be organized in a system like the one shown below:

  • Contributors (1) use mobile devices and other tools (2) to record short video clips where they share their answers or opinions on the questions supplied by the policy developer (6).
  • The video clips are uploaded to (3) and/or Dartfish Desktop (4).
  • As new content is entered into the system, each video clip is thoroughly cataloged and meta-tagged (5). This makes the clips searchable and reusable.
  • The policy developer (6) can review old tagged materials (5) from the database and examine new materials that were commissioned from the contributors (1) to assemble a gallery of expert comments to support the policy.
  • When the gallery has been developed, reviewed and approved, it is available for distribution (7).
Knowledge Retention and Re-Use

As content flows into the system, it would be routinely cataloged and meta-tagged. If desired, the speech in the video clips can be transcribed and added as notes to the clips that are archived in the system. The categories, meta-tags, keywords and associated text are all searchable in the Dartfish technology.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to anticipate that many issues and policies will only change incrementally. There may be some new considerations, but older aspects will remain. A system like the one described here can hold a library of old and new video snippets that can be recombined, updated, republished and redistributed quickly and easily.

At the same time, the library of old content could serve a secondary purpose as a repository of expert knowledge … including the knowledge of people who leave or retire.

Everything considered, it might be a lot of fun to build and play with a system like this.