Musings on Learning Live 2019

Mike Bedford writes – I was fortunate to attend my first ever Learning Live conference 4th and 5th September in London. I say fortunate because the conference is by invitation only and exclusive to Learning leaders (whom I considered myself privileged to be amongst). As the Head of L&D in my organisation, I applied and was delighted to find out I was invited.

On receiving the agenda in advance from the Learning Performance Institute, I was a little starstruck to be honest, being a bit of an L&D nerd – many of the L&D gurus I admire, respect and follow closely were not only in attendance but I might even get to meet them in person!!

The conference was an absolute feast of learning, from listening to Charles Jennings talking about building a high-performance organisational Culture to Nick Shackleton-Jones talking about how people learn in his unique and engaging style that only Nick can pull off (something happened with marshmallows I think).

There was a consistent theme running throughout the day and that was aligned to the number one challenge that L&D professionals had identified for 2019 which was building a learning culture (although Charles did challenge the notion of L&D holding the pen on this and L&D on its own can’t or shouldn’t be responsible for cultural change).

It would not be right for me to not mention the keynote speech by Graham Brown-Martin. As a fellow Neuro-Diverse person, his talk ‘Learning Innovation in an era of exponential change’ both spoke with and directly resonated with me. With all the talk of robots and AI predicted to take the majority of the process and operational type roles in the future that there’s never been a better time to be a creative, innovative, different thinker and gifted with the ability to see and join the dots that others just can’t. Thank you Graham!

Here are the top 5 challenges for L&D leaders:

Building a learning and coaching culture
Digital transformation of learning
Developing the workforce of the future
Leadership and management development
Self-directed learning / content curation

I can totally relate to all of these challenges and I am not surprised to see learning and coaching culture up there at number 1.

In terms of the two days themselves, there were plenty of opportunities to network with fellow L&D professionals and meet new people. Shout out to Samantha Lancashire and Emma Sidley-Wiltshaw who I instantly connected and formed a (hopefully) lasting bond with. We fully intend to keep in touch with, share ideas and hopefully learn from each other going forward (although I’ll probably learn more from these two awesome people).

The vendors were all excellent and not pushy salespeople at all. Whilst I had no budget to spend and was not out shopping for any new platforms or digital solutions, I took some time out to speak to as many vendors as I could just to get to know and find about them, after all, they were sponsoring the conference.

I learned that the professional world of L&D is fabulous and is full of so many talented people it’s ridiculous and I feel blessed to be counted amongst the numbers. I have so many takeaways from just 2 days that I’d need to write multiple blogs just to capture them which I won’t inflict on anyone.

The event was brilliantly put together by all involved at the Learning & Performance Institute – well-done everyone involved for a fantastic 2 days of learning and professional CPD. Thank you, Michael Strawbridge, for the invitation and opportunity.

Look forward to keeping in touch with people I met and hopefully to Learning Live 2020.

About the author – Mike Bedford:

Mike is Head of Learning and Development at Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) where he is responsible for the learning and development of around 200 staff. Mike is a modernist L&D professional who focuses on the value of learning to improve performance and organisational capability. He is a firm advocate of L&D to drive performance and capability and not as an order taker of fun learning workshops that add little or no value to the organisation or individual and firmly believes in the power of data analytics to demonstrate the value, impact and ROI of L&D and the urgent need for L&D to modernise and upskill as a profession.

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn

Find out more about Learning Live here – 2020 dates confirmed as the 09 & 10 September

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