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MIT Sloan Management Review: Tell me a little bit about Everwise Corp. What do you do? What sort of products do you offer?
Colin Schiller: We believe that all aspiring professionals should have the chance to reach their whole career potential. When we started the business, it was based around this idea that so many people out there are probably stuck in their careers. We asked, What can we do to help them grow, to help them break through those barriers?
We believe that even though people learn best in a variety of ways, ultimately they need to be learning from one another. At Everwise, we have a portfolio of products and service offerings that help folks first identify where they are and what it is they want to work on. Then our approach is to connect them to the people, resources, and feedback they need to be successful.
That may take the form of a mentoring relationship, or peer or group learning. In some cases, it may take the form of independent learning, with folks working on things on their own, taking that into the workplace, and applying it in the real world, but ultimately coming back and connecting with other real human beings who are invested in their success to help them grow.
What are the things you’re working on right now that you’re most excited about, that are really pushing the envelope or driving you from a practical level?
We started with getting people together one-on-one in what we think of as mentoring interactions. As we’ve grown, we’ve been guided by our users and by the market. What we’ve seen is more and more people wanting to work one-on-one but then wanting to work together in groups.
What’s been most interesting lately is when you think about the traditional model of training within an organization, which is: We’re going to bring somebody in from outside, sit down for a short period of time, transfer the knowledge to a group of people, and hope for the best. Some of the newer things we’re doing are bringing groups together and drawing on outside expertise, but also trying to find the expertise that already exists within the organization.