Impressions from Learning Skills Group 2013 Summer Conference – key note

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and I’m having my first reflections on another fine LSG conference.

You can find information on the back channel from Kate Graham and lots of reference material from Martin Couzins on the LearnPatch website.

I’m going to publish some blog posts on my initial thoughts and key takeaways from the sessions I joined. Firstly…

Keynote with Gerd Leonhard, CEO of the Futures Agency

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Gerd delivered the keynote at the January conference and astounded us this week as he did then. At the end of Gerd’s presentation of the not-too-distant future, LSG Chairman Don Taylor asked the audience who was excited and who was nervous. There was a healthy amount of both, as well as a lot of “Gerd just blew my mind with his predictions”. Click here to see Gerd’s slides.

There were many, many interesting points made in this keynote. One of the most memorable for me was the distinction between change, which can be gradual, and transformation – with digital progression being the later. Less distinctive is the digital and physical world, with Gerd saying that “there is no divide” between the two. He talked about smart devices in a connected world.

Click here to see Denise Hudson Lawson’s tweet of an image of the internet of everything.

Another key message I took away, along with this great visual, is how “we are drowning in information but starved of knowledge”. This cemented my feeling that our role in L&D is developing into facilitating people making sense of information around them in order to be creative and come up with solutions to the issues we have now and in the future.

After telling us how so much work can and will be automated and with an audience feeling more and more uncomfortable, Gerd gave us a way forward: becoming indispensable in the future, both as individuals and also as learning and development teams. He focused on the concepts of not only the work in the future, highlighting what our children will need to be learning for future job roles, but about how our innovation and creativity are the human skills that we will need to focus on. The futurist commented that “our kids need to learn how to re-learn and un-learn”. We all need to be able to do this. We all need the self-awareness, openness to feedback and adaptability for the life we are trying to live now, let alone in the digital age that Gerd talks of.

After all of this… I felt reassured by Gerd quoting Einstein, that “imagination is more important than knowledge”.

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