Learning Gets a Facelift with Edutainment

Millions of pieces of content are put out on the internet every day, but how much of it has a real influence? And what’s the secret ingredient to making impactful content?

Dennis Wakabayashi says it’s all about edutainment. It’s the perfect combination of both education and entertainment, and it captures the minds and the spirits of the audience and takes them on a journey.

Dennis sat down with us on episode 3 of the BOOST! Podcast to talk about his vision for edutainment and other takeaways from his experience at the Expo 2020 Dubai conference. They include storytelling, celebrating employees, and focusing on the individual to maximise the employee experience (EX).

Edutainment for Employee Experience

Dennis recently attended the epic Expo 2020 Dubai conference which brought out leaders and innovators from all over the world connect minds and discuss creating engaging experiences.

And while there were a ton of takeaways for Dennis, one of the most impactful ones was the use of edutainment. Content worth sharing must hit at least one of two goals:

  • Educational: Content that adds value, insights, or teaches the audience something new.
  • Entertainment: Content that focuses on emotional energy experience.

Edutainment is the combination of both, and something that Expo 2020 did well. They had a thoughtful understanding of the audience through behavioural analysis which then allowed them to create content that both educated and inspired.

This can be applied to EX through storytelling—where are we going? Why are we here? What’s our goal moving forward? Bringing employees into the story adds to the human element of work. It taps into emotions, motivations, and unique needs instead of operating as a machine.

Changing Culture, Changing Employee Experience

Storytelling and edutainment reach people. And employees are people. It seems obvious to say, but traditionally companies and organisations have treated employees like a number or a monolithic group, not as individuals.

So, another step to changing employee experience is to change the culture. It’s about recognising people as people and, no surprise here, people aren’t always perfect. They make mistakes and mess up at times. And that’s okay! In fact, it drives growth and innovation.

Dennis’s team has a saying: “Fail better.” There’s no desire to hide or cover up failures, only learn from them. Normalising adversity in the workplace helps improve problem solving and creativity.

Normalising challenges and “failures” are a massive culture shift for most organisations. But Dennis observed, both in his own company and with the hundreds of representatives at Expo 2020, that this is a healthy culture shift that will only improve EX and end results.

Employee Experience through Personalisation

Normalising adversity and problem solving is one way to put human beings at the centre of business operations. Instead of looking at CX and EX through the lens of scaling revenue, Dennis believes it needs to be through the lens of personalisation. How can we focus on the individuals that are part of this organisation?

Dennis shared a few tips:

  • Use personas in HR. Personas help us gain insight into a group of people that work for us to help narrow the focus on the individual.
  • Recognise different life stages. Where are your employees at in life and what do they need right now? An employee that returns to work after maternity leave returns as a mom—a different person with different needs.
  • Focus on sustainability. Instead of running a corporation like a war machine, we need to start running them like a farm—something that is nurturing and sustainable.

Dennis had a ton of takeaways from Expo 2020. But in relation to nurturing and improving employee experience, I felt it boiled down to this: merely not treating everyone as if they are the same would go a long way towards benefiting both employees and their organisations.

If you want to follow along with Dennis, make sure to check out his website at www.denniswakabayashi.com. And if you’re interested in more chats with industry leaders on CX and EX, make sure to keep up with the BOOST! Podcast, proudly powered by Centrical.


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