4th Annual Corporate Learning & Development Summit: Interview with the chairman Charlie Kneen

1. Could you tell us more about your professional background and your area of interest in Learning & Development? 
 

My first L&D role was as a social learning community manager at BP. My boss at the time (Nick Shackleton-Jones, author of How We Learn, Kogan May 2019) is somewhat of an L&D thought-leader and introduced me to a whole new way of thinking about learning and education. I experimented with internal social media for a couple of years and was able to build several thriving communities and pave the way of the global adoption of Yammer at BP.

My development led me into a more consultative position working with internal clients across the business to modernize their approach to learning. My focus was on how digital could be used to improve performance and support leaders at point of need. This really aligns to the 70:20:10 model and I was able to show how learning is continuous and happens through experience more than through classroom training alone.

After 4 years at BP, I was offered the opportunity to work at PA consulting. PA are a management consultancy like Deloitte or Accenture and focus on innovation and business transformation. I was contracted with global clients such as the UN, Red Cross and HS2, transforming perspectives on L&D initiatives. This included designing and delivering world-class end-to-end blended programmes – so my expertise branched out from pure-digital learning to designing face to face experiences as well.

I’m now a Head of Digital at the company which pioneered business coaching. I’ve been in the role just 8 months and am looking at ways to scale executive coaching to foster systemic business change. I still have a strong focus on blended learning and I’m passionate about using technology to make people’s lives easier at work.

2.  What are the benefits of Learning & Development for organizations?

For a long time the answer was probably ‘compliance’, but this has started to shift to more of a balance between business and individual objectives. At its core, L&D is about helping people get stuff done and learn new skills to achieve their career goals. Too often this mission is corrupted by internal politics and the industry is plagued by a lack of measurement, however, it’s still a great mission and I’m glad to be a part of it.

3. What is the current state of L&D and how would you imagine the workforce of the future?

 L&D has changed a lot in the last 5-10 years. People are starting to wake up to the need for change. Innovation, however, seems to be in pockets and the stalwarts of the industry still appear to be middle-aged white males who want to teach courses. Events like the 4th Corporate L&D Summit are a great opportunity to network and ‘cross-pollinate’ ideas and new approaches.

I’m a millennial and I imagine the future workforce to be characterized by changing attitudes to wealth, experience and the environment. The purpose of business has to change as humanity’s impact on the planet is starting to become a threat to all life. I’m excited to see what role L&D can play in shifting attitudes in this way, and also evolving its brand into a revenue generator rather than a cost-center.

 4. What do you expect from the 4th edition of the Corporate Learning & Development Summit?

 This is the 4th time I’ve chaired the conference and how time as flown! My memories of previous summits have been of fun, inspiring and interesting activities, great people and lots of wine! It helps that this year we’re staying in the beautiful city of Barcelona. I’m really looking forward to it and meeting everyone.

 The 4th Corporate Learning & Development will take place on 23-24 May in Barcelona. This conference provides a platform for key decision makers in leading industries in order to discuss the importance of L&D in the workforce, new methods in delivering learning, addressing digital advances and getting the most from this investment

Would you like to learn more about the 4th Corporate L&D Summit? Then, request your brochure here.