UPDATE: for more tips on feedback check out the JFX Feedback category.
Last week we held the first session of the Rypple Learning Collaborative over at Mozilla in Mountain View. We had participation from Method Home, Pixar, The Federal Reserve Bank, Kiva, Littler Mendelson, Electronic Arts, the Stanford d.School, Facebook, IDEO, and Mozilla.
We hope this effort generates some new insights and ideas that help people do a better job asking for and giving feedback. So, we spent much of our first time together sharing our direct experiences with people giving and receiving feedback and generating a list of observations about what seems to work and what doesn’t.
We framed our discussions with the idea that feedback involves not only the person asking/receiving and the person giving/providing, but a “crowd” of people around that pair. Traditionally, much of the attention given to this topic is on the mechanics of the interaction between the two obvious players. We included the third role to push our assumptions with a social systems view.
We all shared stories describing real feedback situations to help us recognize some patterns in real behavior. Once we get a good picture of how people actually behave (not how they should behave), we will try to uncover what works well and what causes people problems.
An early insight from our shared stories is that it makes a positive impact on a feedback exchange when a person is ready for it. That is, when a person is asking for feedback, they seem to be more able to handle it well than when a person gives it. So this prompts the question, “What makes someone ready for feedback?”
Our next step is for LC members to begin conducting feedback experiments within their organizations. From these experiments, we will expand our observations and gather more ideas to push our thinking. We’ll start posting them on the Rypple Effect blog in a few weeks.