March 30, 2022

"What is Tulip University"

"What is Tulip University"

This week on the podcast (augmentedpod), futurist Trond Undheim interviews John Klaess, Head of Product Education at Tulip. This is episode 72 of Season 2, "What is Tulip University."
Augmented reveals the stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. Technology is changing rapidly. What’s next in the digital factory? Who is leading the change? What are the key skills to learn and how to stay up to date on manufacturing and industry 4.0? Augmented is a podcast for industrial leaders, process engineers, and shop floor operators, hosted by futurist Trond Arne Undheim (@trondau), presented by Tulip, the frontline operations platform.

My takeaway: Training is crucial to contemporary manufacturing, though not in the way we usually think. Employees must train people all the time, which brings us to question, what if the technologies and the user interfaces were simplified.

The Augmented podcast is created in association with Tulip, the frontline operations platform that connects the people, machines, devices, and systems used in a production or logistics process in a physical location. Tulip is democratizing technology and empowering those closest to operations to solve problems. Tulip is also hiring. You can find Tulip at
If you liked this episode, you might also like episode 3  "Reimagine Training," episode 46 "Manufacturing Training in Massachusetts", or episode 2 "How to Train Augmented Workers."

Please share this show with colleagues who care about where industrial tech is heading. 

To find us on social media is easy, we are Augmented Pod on LinkedIn and Twitter, and Augmented Podcast on Facebook and YouTube:


See you next time. Augmented--industrial conversations that matter. 


Trond Arne Undheim: Welcome to another episode of the Augmented podcast. Augmented reveals the stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. In episode 72 of the podcast, the topic is what is tulip university. Our guest is John Claus, head of product education at Tulip.

In this conversation, we talk about the role of Tulip University, the way it helps operators get a flying start. The ambitions and the way that manufacturing training can be simplified as the industry needs to train millions of workers. Augmented is a podcast for industry leaders, process engineers and shop floor operators hosted by futurists, thrown on it in time and presented by

John, how are you?

[00:00:45] John Klaess: I'm great, Trond how are you doing?

[00:00:49] Trond Arne Undheim: Yeag, it’s great to be talking to you. So John, you and I, we started to the not very long ago from these backgrounds that aren't immediately obvious for the roles that we have. I wanted to cover the fact that you [00:01:00] actually have a music back on, you went to Eastman school of music.

I did, you can tell me more about, your instrument, but then you went on to the PhD in music history at Yale. And you have a book coming up in November, also 2022 on duke university, press brakes in the air, the birth of rap music in New York city. Yeah. Tell me first off music. A lot of people like music, but you got your education music.

[00:01:25] John Klaess: was, this is going way back, but. It's a terrible student in high school. And it's like about as bad as you can be. And I realized that if I wanted to go to college, I would need to be good at something. And I happened to love playing the trumpet, just like obsessed with music and the trumpet. So through a lot of very hard work and some good opportunities, I got decently good at it and decided I wanted to play in orchestras for the rest of my life.

And that's the kind of goal you can have. At 16 before you realize it's just like entirely unfeasible and not really a viable career path. So it [00:02:00] started, there had another similar realization where I was not going to be a performer, got to school and everybody was better than me. So I was like, okay, what's a sidestep from this.

And instead of playing music, it was being a professor and writing about music at school. I fell in love with history at a degree to that and wound up doing a PhD in music at a year. And again, I thought I was going to be a professor and also not a viable career path anymore. So went through that wrote a dissertation on the history of rap radio in New York, wrote some other stuff about how birdwatchers listened to Birdsong in the time of climate change.

Just like a lot of oral history and ethnographic work. Learning how people experienced the world and then got to the end and was like, all right if I need to actually find some sort of gainful employment, what skills do I have that actually translate over? And the answer is interacting with people and learning how they think and industry marketers do that.

They really try to figure out what people are going to do and anticipate that. And prior to that, 

[00:02:57] Trond Arne Undheim: Well, John, you have some other skills you're brilliant at [00:03:00] writing and you are very intuitive. So maybe that goes to understanding how people think. But look, I empathize with that a little bit. It is not about me, but I also was about to get a musical career and I diverted before you and decided classical guitar was not a viable career.

And I would have realized later probably that my skills had a certain ceiling. Thought. Although the teachers were very enthusiastic, but it is a very bold choice, but I do envy you, one thing, John, which is you got a very solid foundation in music, and I'm sure that is helping you in a lot of other areas.

[00:03:34] John Klaess: It teaches you how to work really hard and to focus on outcomes. Because at the end of the day, when you're playing you're naked, there is no hiding. It. That's something that carries over to basically every other facet of life you got to put out good stuff, 

[00:03:50] Trond Arne Undheim: people know. Yeah. And one of the things that I think really connects, and that's why I wanted to go a tiny bit into your music story here is, we're talking about education or we're talking about on the job training [00:04:00] here.

So what is university. There is a connection. I'm sure we can noodle a little bit on what that connection is, but even if you just start, un-bundling what university, obviously, university, right? So a lot of corporations and startups start using this word, which does imply there's a learning journey involved here.

So we're selling a product, but there's a learning journey involved. Can you give us your best take on why there is such a thing as university and the history of the initial. Yeah, 

[00:04:30] John Klaess: absolutely. So I think you're dead on and very observant there that a lot of SAS companies and a lot of technology companies will have some sort of online product education as a way of improving their users, onboarding experience, activating more users and.

Their user's able to go further and get more out of the product in the long run. And this becomes a sort of a marketing tool on the very simple end of the spectrum. If you have very simple products or even might not need a lot of additional skill building to [00:05:00] a complete necessity, when you have a product that's on the very complex end of the spectrum.

And I would put tool up somewhere in the middle to easy. It's not the most complex, it's something that everybody can use, but it presupposes a couple skills and a lot of contexts that individuals can definitely do, but they might not necessarily bring to it. So what I see tulip university doing is bridging that gap between these subject matter experts.

These people who know their operations cold they're there in person on the front lines every day, doing the work and the sort of computational background that traditional software developers would use. So the idea is to meet them in the middle of the second. I know exactly how we produce our widgets, but now I need to make software to make it easier, more efficient, more visible to produce those widgets.

We're really filling in the gaps there. 

[00:05:47] Trond Arne Undheim: John, not to draw the music metaphor too far, but it takes a certain musicality and also impressively. You're. We're not a software developer. So it does speak to the solution itself that the [00:06:00] company has put someone who is clearly, literate in music and literate in many things, and maybe, fast learner, despite what you claim the institutional experience was in elementary and high school to train others in a arguably fairly complex.

Certainly it's a technology that it is a technology company. So when did university start and what is it exactly? 

[00:06:22] John Klaess: It's that question, but I do want to follow up on your observation that I used to be very insecure about the fact that I don't have a technical background until I realized that it's a point that I share with a lot of our users.

It's much easier to empathize with someone when you say, okay, they're going through exactly the same thing I'm going through. As they learn this product, I can actually take that and use that experience and distill down all of these things that a lot of more technical people might take. Maybe I should 

[00:06:47] Trond Arne Undheim: actually ask you one thing before my original question.

Just because it's a podcast about learning. So there might be people tuning in who have no idea what is just in one sentence. What is So that's the objective of this training. So what is it that is [00:07:00] trying to do? And then tell me. To be university is 

[00:07:02] John Klaess: doing in that. Yeah. That's the million dollar question.

I in one sentence with is trying to do is let people who are on the front lines develop software for the particular challenges they face in their work. It's a generative platform that allows people to create new software very quickly. And without a lot of the overhead that comes from traditional software development processes.

[00:07:21] Trond Arne Undheim: And this is what across the industry, not even in manufacturing is called low code or no code 

[00:07:27] John Klaess: program. Right. So it's essentially a visual programming language, or it distracts away all of the stuff that you're doing and potent and allows you to move some stuff around the screen and essentially come out with sophisticated software products very quickly.

[00:07:40] Trond Arne Undheim: So if that a hundred percent was true, if the vision was complete with no code, would there be a need for 

[00:07:47] John Klaess: I think absolutely there would, because you're not just learning these transferable skills. You're not just learning to think computationally and to write functions and deal with databases and data models, but you're learning how to transfer [00:08:00] what's happening in one domain.

And that is the domain of software and solutions to your domain, which is physical products, operations people. And that mapping I think is extremely important. That's a place where education can help them. When 

[00:08:14] Trond Arne Undheim: did to the university start? Was it something that, to the pursued relatively 

[00:08:18] John Klaess: early, I would say relatively early in our maturity as a company.

So I think online learning tends to come late for a lot of companies. They tend to have a instructor led model for a long time. And we were very fortunate in that we launched university. At the very end of 2019 and very beginning of 2020. So this is something that they had a single individual working on.

He came out with a really wonderful bootstrapped early tulip university, right before the pandemic hit. So if there was ever a perfect time to have a e-learning like self-serve education service come out there. 

[00:08:54] Trond Arne Undheim: So you said e-learning self-serve what is it that is being served up? Can you give it a [00:09:00] lineup of where the start?

What were the first few courses? What is it that you're actually teaching people? Yeah, 

[00:09:04] John Klaess: absolutely. So what we're actually teaching people is a couple of things. Now I would put them into three distinct buckets. One, I would call just like pure. How do you use tulip? Like features, functionality, product things, where they're very straightforward tutorials on.

This is how you create a database and tool up. This is how you write trigger logic. This is how you create specific types of applications. So first we have the feature type courses. The second we have, I would call them context. Which is this is how you create this particular use case with tools. So work constructions, quality machine monitoring, production visibility, all of our sort of bread and butter use cases.

And these would be an instructor giving you a model scenario. So you're a production manager at this plant. You need to figure out what your work orders are doing at any given time, create an application to do that. So then. All sorts of design decisions you need to make at any given point to produce an application that successfully does [00:10:00] that.

And then finally, you would have methodology courses which are slightly vaguer, a good one would be how to pick a first use case. So not building that use. What's the sort of business and operational thinking or the business and operational cases you need to make, to pick a use case in the first place or user interface design.

So all of the thought process you need to go through and all the research and considerations you need to mull over before you can actually produce an application interface that works for the people who are going to use it, those operators or engineers 

[00:10:30] Trond Arne Undheim: on the end. Would it be fair to say that too? It started with the factories as the use case and has moved a little bit.

To that calls itself a frontline operations platform that is much wider in theory. This concept can mean many things, but you're at the front lines in many industries and that puts you perhaps even into the supply chain. So it's much more than just the factory workers at their station. 

[00:10:54] John Klaess: Yeah, I think that's absolutely true.

And this was a place that our customers were naturally taking [00:11:00] us. So we have our core, like from the beginning discrete manufacturing base, but then we started to find that there were users who were pushing us into applications that we wouldn't normally have thought about in applications. I'm thinking here of not just a specific tool, a piece of software, the application a user would build, but use for the software in general.

So we didn't anticipate there being warehousing and. Use cases right away, but our users pushed us there. Or in specific industries like life sciences, they might not think of themselves as manufacturing in the same way that a automotive manufacturer might think of. But this is still an operational domain that has a lot of use for and we're finding good tracks.

[00:11:37] Trond Arne Undheim: What would you say the ambitions are behind this university effort? Is it to truly take a hundred percent product education over? Because one of the reasons I'm asking is I thought some of the vision behind was also that you're empowering people to learn for themselves. So there's this delicate balance between actually teaching and then.

Can you speak to the ultimate ambition [00:12:00] of a platform like this. And also I understand right now it's an online platform that leads to a certain path dependence. 

[00:12:06] John Klaess: The ambitions are two-fold. So there's the very pragmatic, which are from a business perspective, the more people who are able to successfully use tool up the better.

It's going to be for us, like no reason, not to just speak from an honest point of view there. But I think also there is that sort of more grandiose looking at the big picture perspective where the world is moving in a particular direction very fast. And that is direction that assumes people. If not, to be able to write software, to at least understand the concepts, but need software development.

There's a sort of computational literacy that a lot of jobs require or that a lot of employers. Expect that isn't necessarily being cultivated on a lot of career paths. And one thing that we're able to do as a platform that's teaching no code is teach these underlying concepts along the way. Yes, it's great for us when more people can use tools, but it's also a really great opportunity.

If people are looking to learn [00:13:00] transferable skills that can go to any platform or a lot of new technologies as they 

[00:13:03] Trond Arne Undheim: come. John, that starts to get interesting because, as I want to get to in a second, this challenge in the workforce of training and retraining and skilling and re-skilling, whatever that favorite concept is an enormous deal.

And. Largely people think of it as a technology challenge, we have to teach people advanced technology, especially like AI and robotics. Otherwise people will be left behind and the machines will take over. How do you see this challenge given that, you're involved in sort of day to day facilitation of, mindsets and, but also just practical skills.

So that operators, on the shop floor, for example, can build their own. Digital applications based on what you said their own use gets their own work is being digitized and made more efficient or they're gaining analytics on top of it, but they have to build it themselves. 

[00:13:54] John Klaess: Yeah, absolutely. And so this is why I think it's critical not to teach [00:14:00] particular technologies, but teach those enabling frameworks and mindsets and concepts that underline.

Many technologies and the ones that are super relevant to us would just be computational logic. So working with functions, storing things, and variables, and then using those variables to do all sorts of stuff, like really basic things that have a background. Yeah. Mathematics. We knew at middle and high school, but our put the very different use or taking that sort of Excel magic that a lot of people have figured out throughout their career because they've been forced to and making them realize that's actually a transferable skill.

If you can move the pieces in a different way and use the same concepts with the different syntax. 

[00:14:41] Trond Arne Undheim: What would you say? It's early days, but what is the impact so far of these courses? What are you learning from putting these courses out there? Are people taking them? Are they being more efficient after words?

Are they developing apps? Yeah, 

[00:14:54] John Klaess: I can say we definitively see that people who take these courses are more [00:15:00] productive and can do more afterwards than those that 


[00:15:04] Trond Arne Undheim: And how much does it take? Are we talking six months of taking, 15 different courses here? Or are we talking, one course and then run off and do something meaningful, impactful?

What amount of time and effort in investment 

[00:15:17] John Klaess: is this? That's a really great question. And the answer is unsatisfying and it really depends on what the individual is bringing to it and what their background experiences. So individuals who have already written software and know a ton of stuff might just need to learn some specifics of the platform.

They might just need to go through, figure out the details of a couple of features. And then they're often running individually. Less of a background, or it might be less certain or competent about their own abilities might need to go through a couple of courses and they might need to take a couple courses more than once and go through.

And that's one of the benefits of self-service you can go through and repeat things as necessary. But if you're talking about just in terms of days or hours or months needed to do it, we see people start to be. [00:16:00] Proficient in terms of being able to do very basic things after a couple hours. So maybe three to four hours.

And this is assuming someone with no prior experience, no coding experience. And then after a week or two weeks, maybe putting 20 hours into the platform, they're able to write fairly complex software applications. And then after a couple of months, they're moving into the territory. Power users. 

[00:16:24] Trond Arne Undheim: Wow. How do you distinguish between the university efforts and the user community that also exists around various products or, obviously their client relationships also, but there's an extended user community of people who are perhaps aware of all the strategic things, but perhaps not, they have been given this platform.

They're exploring a little on the. Do you find that they come to university and then to the user community and use both sources of information 

[00:16:50] John Klaess: or? Yeah, that's certainly why they're there. I don't have anything in front of me to see the exact overlap, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was quite a bit of.

[00:17:00] One thing I've observed. So in my past life, as well as a PhD student, I've taught for five years, I taught music theory and history in the classroom. And it's particularly with music theory when you're teaching a very abstract concept, it's really important for students to make sure. Questions right away, because they're going to be interpreting what you're giving them through all sorts of information and frameworks that they bring to the material.

And those questions can be pretty esoteric, but it's important that they be able to ask them because they're all going to interpret the material in a different way. And that sort of is the role. I see community among many other roles. That platform, it's an excellent platform, but it's particularly as it relates to university, having students be able to go to university, learn the material, experience it, and then go into community and ask their questions and have someone who's been there and done that.

Give them a very quick and succinct answer is extremely. 

[00:17:51] Trond Arne Undheim: John, can you put me in the shoes of an operator who is perhaps let's start with someone who's exploring tulip. What is the first step here? Let's say they come on to the [00:18:00] university and they have been introduced for through some way. I mean, it doesn't really matter how, but there's somehow ended up there and they clearly have use cases or they clearly have business challenges like everybody else.

What would they typically do? And where would you recommend they start exploring? 

[00:18:14] John Klaess: Yeah. We have two. Introductory classes. One is called how to build your first application that takes you through the fundamentals of the platform from, I have no exposure to this, but good process knowledge in about an hour.

So if you're looking for the fastest introduction to, that's a great course in a good place to start. If you're looking for something that. Breaks it down into a little bit more granular level. It takes a little bit more time. There's also a certification course that takes about three to four hours end to end, depending on how much you're going to skip and what your background is.

But the other thing I would say is I wouldn't just advocate going to university and trying to follow along as the only thing you do as, as much as like I'm invested in this being successful. And my professional life is dedicated to making it successful, but I would also just say, play around with the [00:19:00] platform and get your hands on.

Experiment, try to get frustrated, see where the boundaries are, see what you're able to do, and then use something like university as a way to fill in the gap and give you a little bit more direction. Once you've already started to twist the knobs and pull the levers. Yeah, it's 

[00:19:15] Trond Arne Undheim: interesting. Cause I mean, clearly this is not university for university zone sake.

And it's to create certifications for people per se, right? That's not the main motivation. How about if you're a plant manager or a team leader, or even if you are the CEO or the CTO or whatever it is of an entire organization, how should they think about training? So let's say they actually. Signed up or they're serious about exploring this.

They're like, we are going to explore this, there's no code environment. How should they think about training? Should they just let people know that this thing exists? There's so much discussion in this literature about, how do you digitize? And a lot of it is, follow some like best practice template and just do it.

Yeah. Is that possible? 

[00:19:58] John Klaess: That's a great [00:20:00] question. And a lot of it revolves around your approach to resource building, and I would think university and professional services and all the other ways that you engage with a company like or with a product like tulip, there's some means of developing internal resources or people who are going to be tulip subject matter.

At that company. So the great thing about a property like university is it allows you to develop many subject matter experts. Many people can go through and learn the platform and become a very proficient users on their own. But if I were someone in executive level, I would make sure that you have that one person or that team of people who knows the platform cold, who know what the best teaching options are, the courses that are right for them.

Operations who can field questions internally who can figure out when no go take this course, figure that out versus, okay. No, maybe we need to escalate this and figure this out internally. Make sure you have those. 

[00:20:54] Trond Arne Undheim: Do you have any anecdotes or any kind of feedback from people who have been involved with the university [00:21:00] that sort of strikes you, that you always come back to when you're creating the next course or the course plan?

What is something that people have told you about it? Or some sort of comments that they have put? 

[00:21:09] John Klaess: So I don't know if this is like the inspirational nugget you're looking for, but the mantra I keep coming back to is that. People in manufacturing and operations are busy and they don't necessarily want to spend their free time cracking away at trying to solve a problem or in building a tool for sake.

So everything we build needs to be done with that person's schedule in mind. So we try to keep things as manageable, as possible, as engaging as possible and always interactive. So whatever your model of sort of the stereotypical. I'm going to take my coffee break and suffer through this corporate training is we're trying to do the opposite.

[00:21:45] Trond Arne Undheim: That's fascinating. Let's move a little bit into the characteristics. So next generation industry training and initiatives, because clearly COVID has been a massive impetus to that. Generally, I guess online education was on its own path, but then, COVID intervened, [00:22:00] but the workforce challenge of training, billions of workers has been there for a while.

Now, what would you say. Is the approach. What should be the approach? If you are a startup trying to enter the scene like a tulip or you are a large corporation and realizing I have hundreds of thousands of workers, what kinds of industry training initiatives do you see emerging? So you, you said modularized, so that, that's what I'm interpreting from what you're saying. There's a little trend called micro learning. So like nuggets of skills and then building on top of that. Is that the way it's going and how easy is that? You've done it now for a while. It sounds almost too easy to be true.

Aren't you losing something in this process? Because learning used to be very kind of an organized thing. You'd say okay, here's the hierarchy got to get a foundation. And then we're going to move into these pieces and maybe there's some optionality, but generally this idea that you can just build a tiny little Lego piece on the other [00:23:00] Lego piece, do the pieces necessarily all fit together.

[00:23:03] John Klaess: Yeah. That's a massive question because I think the core of that question is like, how do we better design broad-scale re-skilling at scale? Yes. Precisely. So for small tasks, and even for large, like this, I keep coming back to, so what is the outcome that you're hoping for?

Sometimes I feel like these large discussions of re-skilling can turn into a morphous. Like we are going to look at these broad skills, like we're going to build. Database literacy or where everybody's going to learn SQL and they're not necessarily outcome oriented. So what do we actually want for the particular people who are undergoing this re-skilling and unless you have the clear outcomes there, I'm not sure that any program, no matter how modular or how well the Legos fit together.

It's going to be successful in terms of delivery. I've seen the most success using a hybrid model where there's a very clear outcome and content is always available to [00:24:00] students through e-learning, but there's a certain amount of engagement with an instructor that allows them to overcome gaps, to get personalized feedback and to keep them motivated, to want to come back.

You learning has a notoriously high attrition rate for students. So anything that can keep people invested in moving forward. Isn't 

[00:24:17] Trond Arne Undheim: that why the tie-in with the product is so important because if people are actually exploring real use cases that matter to them in their work life, it's not just that they would look good in front of the manager, but that their own work might actually be carried out more efficiently.

Right. If they came up with this app, And then maybe they might get some credibility for too, who 

[00:24:37] John Klaess: knows, but they're even precedent side. And I'm thinking of a good example, being HubSpot's education, where they offer a lot of certifications and a lot of education that doesn't necessarily tie directly into their product usage.

Like clearly there is some relevance there, and most of the things you're teaching you'll be able to use on the platform, but it's also things that would carry over to other adjacent products. 

[00:24:58] Trond Arne Undheim: So you touched upon this idea [00:25:00] that online learning in and of itself is hitting some sort of natural boundaries.

There are people on the opposite end who gets so excited now by Augmented and extended and blended and whatever that words are, realities. And then now you of course have the metaverse this idea that we're moving towards this physical internet, where we're going to start preferring to actually engage online.

I mean, arguably, if that's going to happen, maybe the workplace is the first place that should happen or could happen. But where are we with that? Are you using or thinking about using these very sort of advanced technologies to do the training, or do you feel like plain old video courses are sufficient to the point where they actually obviously have to be matched by, like you said, a real instructor, a real problem.

And there has to be some amount of back and forth. 

[00:25:47] John Klaess: Yeah. So, I think I might be inferring a little here because I'm not as much as a futurist as you are, but my sense is that any new interface without requiring a lot of [00:26:00] training, just to get up and running on the interface is going to need to be completely self-explanatory for it to have any educational value.

Like if a learner is focused on. Trying to actively do the learning that the interface is making complicated, then they're not going to be focused on what they're supposed to learning, and it will be incredibly distracting. And I also worry that there's this sort of trying to go too far too soon with these products where, as I mentioned earlier, they're there concept gaps that are missing.

And if you can't fill in the stairs at the bottom of the case, there's no sense of trying to scale the stairs at the top of the case. 

[00:26:37] Trond Arne Undheim: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. So then how do you take it to the next level? As you are looking to I'm sure, make tulip university as advanced as it can be as impactful for and for yourself, like you said earlier, make it a very successful initiative.

Where do you go for inspiration? You mentioned HubSpot. You look at other successful companies. Extensive training solutions. Do [00:27:00] you find that there is a lot of great training out there? Or do you feel like you, almost just having done this for a little while, even like a year or two, you're very quickly reaching the limit of where we are with this kind of.

[00:27:13] John Klaess: Yeah. So I think this will actually maybe be a better answer to the last question than the one I gave, which is there are tried and true educational models that work, and we might not need to reinvent the wheel to get there. So the companies that I see that are doing customer education extremely well are using this hybrid blended model or have a huge amount of resources dedicated to e-learning.

So a company like HubSpot. It's a huge organization just dedicated to building out world-class e-learning and they're doing a great job building out world-class e-learning but in the same area, there are a bunch of companies who are pursuing this hybrid instructor led training e-learning approach, where.

They're trying to funnel users as early as possible in their journey to an experience [00:28:00] with a live instructor where they can get them off on the right foot. And sometimes these are open-ended sessions where they're answering questions and just engaging with the user after they've had a couple interactions with the platform or their recurring trainings, which are essentially like how to get started with tulip in 30 minutes.

And once you can get a user oriented and give them their first couple aha moments or get them to those first couple of moments. They're already building that motivation already much more likely to go back and get more out of the e-learning. So could like the companies that are making e-learning role-based and contextual and relevant to what these folks are doing in their work-life and supplementing that, or leading that with instructor led interactions.

I think there's no reason to necessarily reinvent the wheel where in fit in. Don't fix it. 

[00:28:46] Trond Arne Undheim: My last question for you, Don is, and these are early days, but I know that government and state bodies are involved. There's this mass bridge project where one is trying to figure out what the role is of these leading universities [00:29:00] like MIT, for example, in Massachusetts, but also.

These pivotal kind of community colleges that historically, at least in the U S have taken the brunt of the responsibility for educating what I guess nowadays is called the middle of skills, which is that skill level that is between high school and college or university. But yeah.

Perhaps two years to not four years. And it's very practical based training. What do you think can be done there and what needs to be done? I know the idea of people involved in that process is that startups and corporations have a role to play there. And it more important role arguably than before.

Perhaps, because things are moving faster. Do you think that colleges that they have the physical location, many of them, unless there's an online colleges, so they have that advantage. Are they going to be able to scale to meet this challenge? Or is there some sort of happy in between where there is this a collaboration between the governments and the state or national who funds some of these [00:30:00] things.

Trainers. And then the practical experiences from corporations that have products that need training to be implemented. And also obviously have instructors that know what they're talking. 

[00:30:10] John Klaess: Yeah. And again, this is, I think, just comes back to what are the learning outcomes we're looking for? Like what are students really going to be expected when they get onto the job and students in these sorts of programs for a long time, had been expected to learn how CAD software works.

And so it's been in the best interest of everybody involved to make sure that they're teaching Autodesk or solid works or some other. Software in there. So students, the second they get out, they're using CAD software proficiently. So one thing we're seeing is that the market is moving in a direction where tools like not just out there, bunch of tools out there, but particularly tool is starting to be relevant to a lot of workers features and especially tools that enable people to do a lot of things. can that open a lot of doors. So it makes sense for these partnerships to exist. It makes sense for students to be able to learn, [00:31:00] to develop software without writing code, to build applications, to work with tools that allow them to make an impact far beyond what they would be able to do otherwise the second day.

There's a lot of room for collaboration there. Yeah. 

[00:31:13] Trond Arne Undheim: Well, what's so interesting is I guess the ideal picture here is that even if the training is shorter, it still is advanced and practical, but not so practical that the skills get immediately outdated. Right? Let's say that there's a new tool coming along.

So that balance, I guess, is really the sweet spot is what we're aiming for, where you're not teaching these like massive skills that will enable you to get a. PhD in some robotics technology, but you're also not teaching some sort of very specific method based on some proprietary tool that perhaps is gone the year.

[00:31:47] John Klaess: Yeah, absolutely. And that's why I keep coming back to the teach a man to fish situation where give people the underlying concepts that they'll be able to transfer across many different technologies, rather than dedicating all of the effort to learning one [00:32:00] specific technology. 

[00:32:02] Trond Arne Undheim: If you. I guess a challenge to young people who might be listening to this or thinking, yeah, that's interesting.

This training stuff, manufacturing and all that stuff. That's not for me because these things aren't as exciting as you say they are. What is exciting about this moment in industry right now? 

[00:32:20] John Klaess: Yeah. There's so much. So I would also say I would have been right there with you before where five years ago in my life, where I thought I was going to be an academic, I was like, Ooh, Manufacturing.

That's not really my world. And now that I'm involved in it, I find it endlessly fascinating how things get made, the people who make them dull, all the sorts of technologies and processes that go into. Taking something that's parts or raw material into something that sits on your desk. It's super, super fascinating.

Complicated, fulfilling work. 

[00:32:49] Trond Arne Undheim: Yeah. You have been involved now for a few years. What is it that keeps you going? Is there something specific that you aim to do with this? Has this taught you something radically different about the [00:33:00] workplace? 

[00:33:00] John Klaess: Yeah, I think the thing that I keep getting excited about is seeing people who have.

Not necessarily backgrounds like my own, but non-traditional manufacturing backgrounds being extremely successful in operational roles because often what's happening is you need people who are very good systems, thinkers, and are technically capable enough to pick up what they need to pick up. But they might not have a mechanical engineering or super technical background.

And to see those people Excel in operational roles is pretty. Yeah. 

[00:33:29] Trond Arne Undheim: It's exciting, John, super exciting to hear about and university. I'm sure we'll hear more about, it's an exciting platform and these are exciting times to be learning digital tools for industry and for frontline operations.

Thank you for spending time with me. Thanks so much. You had just listened to episode 72 of the Augmented podcast with hosts, thrill nano name topic was too. And what is tulip university, I guess was John Claus had a product education until it, and this [00:34:00] conversation, we talked about its current role and the way it helps operators get a flying start and how Manufacturing training can be simplified as the industry needs to train millions of workers.

My takeaway is that training is crucial to contemporary manufacturing, but not in the way we usually think about it. We hear employees must train people all the time, but what if the technologies they were training and the user interfaces were so simple that the very limited training was necessary.

Thanks for listening. If you'd like to show subscribe at Augmented or in your preferred podcast player and rate us with five stars. If you liked this episode, you might also like episode three on re-imagine training episode 46 on manufacturing training in Massachusetts, or episode two on how to train a vented workers.

Hopefully you'll find something awesome in these or in other episodes. And if you do please let us know. The Augmented podcast is created in association with tulip, frontline operations platform [00:35:00] that connects people, machines, devices, and the systems used in a production or logistics process in a physical location until it is also highly.

Please share the show with colleagues who care about where the industry and especially industrial tech is heading to find us on social media is easy. We are Augmented pod on LinkedIn and Twitter and Augmented podcast on Facebook and YouTube, Augmented industry conversations that matter. See you next time.

John Klaess Profile Photo

John Klaess

Product Education

Before joining Tulip, John completed a Phd in music at Yale University. His first book, a history of rap radio in New York, is due out on Duke University Press in November 2022. At Tulip, John develops and leads a variety of educational programs designed to make learning the next generation of manufacturing skills simple.