Unexpected (data) gifts

Sometimes data is an unexpected gift.

I’ve had two such gifts recently in the form of a box of post-it notes and a round table discussion.

We were unpacking boxes from AITD2017 conference and one was just filled with post-it notes. It was on its way to recycling but a little voice in my head said to look through it. After all, it was the by-product of a session with 50+ L&D professionals and Dr. Denise Myerson (AITD 2015 L&D Professional of the Year). I’d been presenting at another session so had no idea what had transpired so I just started laying them all out and as I did, some patterns emerged. It became clear that the group had been discussing challenges for L&D and as I sorted, they distilled down (using Denise’s affinity mapping process) to a central challenge, exacerbated by 7 others.

Data Gifts 1

What struck me was two things.

  1. Many of the challenges were a relatively simple fix – practical issues like AV, wi-fi, scheduling, temperature.
  2. The other thing was how many of the challenges were a function/reflection of culture – the challenges reflected an attitude towards learning (amongst individuals and organisations) that was at best an issue of priority and at worst, “hostage participants”.

Data Gifts 3

Yesterday I participated in a Learning Leaders round table at the Learning Plan/Adobe launch. David Swaddle (AITD 2016 L&D Professional of the Year) facilitated the process and we discussed again the challenges that each person was facing. Initially I was just listening, but then I realised the gold mine that was there and started taking notes. Again, patterns began to emerge.

Data Gifts 2

When I put these two piles of anecdata next to each other, I realised that our profession is in a good place! When we overcome our challenges, we will be delivering business outcomes, where appropriate through engaging learning experiences in the context of a functional learning culture/ecosystem. We will make that all important shift from being order takers to being solution providers.

That’s a gift I’ll be happy to accept!


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