Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Examples of favourite Sketchnotes

Rachel Burnham writes: Here is a collection of some of my favourite Sketchnotes from recent years.  

Personal reflections on how my ideas about networking have changed

Live Sketchnote from CIPD L&D Show 2017

Summary of key points from session at NAP conference June 2017

Live Sketchnote from CIPD Annual Conference & Exhibition November 2017

Live Sketchnote from GoodPractice Research Launch event November 2017

Reflections on research into the application of VR to L&D Spring 2017

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I do this through: writing & design commissions; facilitating learning to update knowhow, 1:1 and bespoke ‘train the trainer’ programmes; and the use of Sketchnoting to facilitate learning. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

10 Resources from 2017 to help you modernise L&D Practice

Rachel Burnham writes: At the start of 2017 I picked out 10 pieces to share to help L&D professionals modernise their L&D practice, so I thought I would do something similar at the start of this year.  

This time I thought I would make the focus very firmly on practical tips and guidance to help us to develop the skills, insights and know-how needed to modernise L&D. In making my selections, I have picked out some of the concerns that have been part of my focus for the past year.  I also have been mindful of the themes which emerged from this year’s benchmarking report by Towards Maturity ‘L&D: Where are we now?’ published in November 2017.  This identifies the top barriers to having a learning culture as including:

·       Cost of set-up, development and maintenance (66%)
·       Lack of skills amongst employees to manage their own learning (65%)
·       Reluctance by line managers to encourage new ways of learning (58%)
·       Lack of skills amongst L&D staff to implement and manage technology enabled learning (53%)
·       Unreliable ICT infrastructure (52%)

As before, I hasten to add that this selection is by no means a best of 2017.  There was lots of great material produced throughout the year – this is my pick of helpful resources. I have included short videos, podcasts, infographics and of course Sketchnotes, alongside written materials.

1  1. ‘How to run successful Webinars to add value to your organisation’ Session: Andy Lancaster & Michelle Parry-Slater May 2017 Sketchnote: Rachel Burnham  

This is a Sketchnote I created whilst participating in Andy and Michelle’s excellent session at CIPD’s L&D Show.  The L&D Show conference this year involved a number of very practical workshops which had a ‘how-to’ focus.  This one was a practical introduction to running effective webinars and was packed full of tips and the sharing of experiences.  

    2. ‘How to produce Impactful Videos and Learning Content’ Session: Dr Mark Davies, See Learning May 2017 Sketchnote; Rachel Burnham

My second selection is also one of the Sketchnotes I created from this year’s CIPD L&D Show.  If you are interested in learning to make good quality videos using your smartphone, then Dr Mark Davies of See Learning is ‘the-person’ to get advice from.   He can be found on Twitter under @SeeLearning.  I picked up so many great tips from this session and keep referring back to this Sketchnote. 

    3.‘Apprenticeships: Loving the Levy’ CIPD Podcast 127 July 2017 (about 20 mins on apprenticeships)

In April 2017 the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced.  A lot has been written up about the Levy, what it involves, what the challenges are and more recently about the seemingly paradoxical drop in numbers registered for apprenticeships.  Out of all this material, I have picked this podcast because it shares some great stories about the value of apprenticeships both to individuals and to organisations and challenges some of the misconceptions that apprenticeships are only for young people or only for less skilled roles or only for occupations such as engineering.  It is great story-telling – the best kind – real stories of real people.

    4. ‘Bite-Sized Research on Spaced Retrieval’ Episode 5 October 2017 The Learning Scientists (11.5 mins)

This is another podcast – a new podcast to me – so thank you to Jonathan Marshall @LearningFCO for the recommendation.   This particular episode explores a piece of research into the impact of spaced retrieval on learning effectiveness – if you aren’t familiar with the terms ‘spaced learning’ and ‘retrieval practice’ and are in L&D do take the time to listen to this podcast as it explains them clearly and simply, plus why we need to know about them and be making use of them.
Plus, if you haven’t come across Jonathan before do follow him on Twitter and watch out for his very informative and thoughtful blog posts, in which he shares his learning from his work as the Head of Learning for the Diplomatic Academy.

    5. ‘The Elephant in the Room’ Paul Matthews Training Journal September 2017

I met Paul Matthews for the first time this year at the CIPD NAP conference in York, where we were both delivering sessions.  We started talking then about learning transfer – the elephant in the room, as Paul refers to it and haven’t stopped talking about this since.  Learning Transfer is about how we get learning to really impact on performance in the workplace and links to the other topics Paul has written about previously – performance consulting and informal learning.  Paul wrote this article for Training Journal in the summer, but having started writing has been about how to address learning transfer he has found unable to stop and is in the process of completing a new book on this subject.  Paul can be found on Twitter @PeopleAlchemy.

6.  ‘Digital Curation’ – 3 short videos by Mike Shaw ( 2 mins each) Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

With the increased availability of information and resources via the internet, managing this avalanche of information is an increasing challenge for professionals in all fields.  The term ‘curation’ has been borrowed from the museums and art gallery sector to describe the processes involved in finding, selecting, making sense and using these resources.  Mike Shaw (@MikeShawLD) created these three short videos, now available on YouTube, with Snapchat to introduce people to the idea of digital curation and to explore some of the ways that it can be used in L&D.   Mike and I have been working together over the last year on developing our curation practices and on using curation in the design of L&D programmes.  Here is a blog I wrote on the subject.
   7. ‘Niall and Rachel’s VR Odyssey’ blogs and recordings

In the Spring of 2017, Niall Gavin (@NiallGavinUK) and I began exploring how L&D could make use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology and we shared our learning in a series of blog posts and recorded conversations on Zoom and available on YouTube.   The improving technology in this field, its increasing popularity in the consumer market and its increased accessibility, is getting more organisations thinking about how they can make use of these technologies to support learning. The resources we produced provide a basic introduction to some of the uses of this technology in L&D.

    8. ‘LearningTechnologies: What managers really think’ GoodPractice in association with ComRes November 2017

GoodPractice has for the last few years produced a series of research reports exploring what managers real practice is around learning and how they perceive & make use of technology to meet the challenges they face in their day to day work.   This year’s research report explores their attitudes towards some of the key technologies available in workplaces to support learning and uncovers some perhaps surprising positive results in relation to managers’ views of elearning and other technologies.   The free report not only reports on the results of the research, but includes some very helpful practical and detailed takeaways for L&D professionals about how to maximise the potential of technology in organisations.   The suggestions directly address some of the barriers identified by Towards Maturity at the start of this blog.

    9.   ‘Future of technology and learning’ Report & Infographic CIPD & Towards Maturity November 2017

At about the same time that GoodPractice was producing its report into technology and learning, CIPD and Towards Maturity were also launching theirs!  This report makes use of the Towards Maturity benchmarking data, and digs in deeper to how L&D is using different technologies for different aspects of learning eg games, collaboration.  It makes a series of recommendations to help us, in L&D, become a bit more sophisticated in our thinking and practice in the use of technology to support learning eg by getting us to really think through how different learning technologies support approaches to learning such as collaboration and gamification.   

    10. #accessibilitytipoftheday Mike Osborne series of posts on Twitter

My final selection is a recommendation to check out this hashtag (ie search criteria) on Twitter for a whole array of suggestions, tips and recommendations to support improved accessibility for learning resources and digital learning.   This is a great initiative by Mike Osborne to improve awareness and action from all of us in L&D to ensure that learning opportunities are open to all and don’t exclude people.   You can find Mike on Twitter @MikeOzzy.

I have enjoyed putting this collection or curation together.  There are so many other great resources out there to tap into.  I would be keen to hear of your recommendations.

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I do this through: writing & design commissions; facilitating learning to update knowhow, 1:1 and bespoke ‘train the trainer’ programmes; and the use of Sketchnoting to facilitate learning. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What I learnt in 2017 #alwayslearning

Rachel Burnham writes:  I started out 2017 with an emphasis on curiosity and experimentation. My ‘strategy’ was simply to try out new things, to do different things and make sure I scheduled time to be around positive people.  

Illustration for Ignite presentation CIPD ACE 2017

Along the way, I got involved in and initiated some really interesting projects, events and learning opportunities from co-organising an Unconference in Manchester in February for L&D Connect, to co-hosting regular #LnDCoWorking Manchester days throughout the year, presenting a session at the CIPD NAP event in June, presenting a segment on Learning Now TV and doing my first Ignite session at CIPD ACE in November – I was gut-wrenchingly nervous, but it went well.  I also organised a series of events and social media ‘stuff’ that made up the public policy hackathon for CIPD Manchester ‘The Big Conversation about Families, Parents and the Workplace’.  And of course I learnt lots.

Here are some of my key learning points:

Collaborative learning
I worked with two particular collaborative learning partners during this year – with Niall Gavin (you can find him at @niallgavinuk on Twitter) on exploring the uses of VR and AR for L&D – you can read and watch our blogs & broadcasts here and with Mike Shaw (he can be found at @MikeShawLD on Twitter) on learning to use Snapchat, creating videos, learning transfer, curation and a host of things. 

I find it really helps my learning to work with a partner when learning new stuff: somethings are just a little tricky to learn on your own eg being interviewed on video; most things benefit from the different perspectives and opportunities to discuss that working in partnership brings; and working with a partner gives you access to support, advice and encouragement when you get stuck and someone to celebrate gains with.   I think the most valuable aspect for me, is the sense of accountability that working with a partner brings – it keeps me focused and helps me to make time for learning.  I am reading Gretchen Rubin’s book on habits ‘Better than Before’ and she identifies that being held accountable can help with building positive habits. 

Plus, it is fun learning with other people – well, it is with Niall and Mike anyway! I recommend it.

Collaborative Working
As well as the collaborative learning, I have this year worked more closely with more other people, on more different types of projects, than for a long while.  These included working with shifting configurations of people, working as part of teams of volunteers and paid staff, working with virtual teams and loose collaborations with individuals.  I know ‘work is learning and learning is work’ as Harold Jarche says, but I feel that the experiences were quite different to those focused specifically on learning and so I am separating out my learning from these.

Some of these collaborations have worked better than others, some spectacularly well, some more so-so – when they work well I have been reminded what a joy it is to work with other collaboratively with others and how much more and better you can achieve.  When it has not gone so well, I have been reminded how easy I find it to make unhelpful assumptions and confuse these with what is actually the case.  I have also been reflecting a lot on the value of being able to move fast and freely on the one hand and the time needed to build and nurture relationships of trust that making working with others possible and effective.   And when to work in which way.

And I have learnt how good it is to be able to ask for help.  I can’t quite believe that I am only learning this now at this stage in my life.  Maybe I am really learning it over again.  Anyway, this has been important learning this last year.

Varied formats
This year I found myself playing more with varied formats for events, whether learning or consultative.  This included open space for unconferences, online and in person hackathons and using activity stations or provocations, both as side activity and as the main focus. 

 For example, I put together a series of mini-activities to support CIPD Manchester’s AGM and Unconference in May.  The activities were short provocations to get people thinking and talking around the themes of the event prior to the start and during breaks and lunch time.  These included being invited to decide which aspect of HR was most in need of over-hauling and placing a bead in a tray for your favoured option and writing a gift card to tie to a display identifying ‘What gifts does HR/L&D bring to the organisation?’ 

I have learnt that personal calmness for me comes from careful organisation when organising these types of events
– particularly careful deployment of plastic wallets and effective labelling!

I have also started to do more work one to one with individuals tailoring short learning programmes to meet individual needs, whether that is developing a particular digital skill or supporting an individual to develop their broader L&D skills. I have really enjoyed this – it is great being able to really tailor to meet individual needs and I hope to do more of this in 2018.

Camera Confidence
I wanted to become more confident in being on camera and in making short videos.  Use of video is of growing importance in L&D and I wanted to build my skills in this area.

Learning to use Snapchat has been very valuable – it provides an easy way to create short videos and effectively edit them in the moment.   From playing with Snapchat, I have become more confident in speaking to camera and in getting others to share their views on camera.  I have produced a number of short videos reporting on L&D/HR events and I also use video for reflection and Working Out Loud.   I think Snapchat is a great tool for L&D people – why not give it a go?

I also have taken part in several recordings using Zoom with Niall Gavin discussing VR in Learning and have used video on a smart phone – though I have lots more to learn about this.

In July, I had the opportunity to present a short segment for Learning Now TV and interview participants in an eLearning Network event held in Manchester – my confidence in front of the camera had definitely grown, as I jumped at the chance.

Sketchnoting and more
I have been creating sketchnotes for a couple of years now.  I often live Sketchnote and this year was part of the social media reporting team for both the CIPD L&D Show and the LPI’s Learning Live event.   I find them incredibly valuable for myself for note-taking – I refer back to them much more frequently than I ever did with traditional notes, plus I can share them with other people.  I have used them to capture key points from podcasts, reading and conversations.

Live Sketchnote from CIPD L&D Show 2017

This year I have realised how useful they are as a reflective tool and to present ideas visually.    This is a Sketchnote I created as part of my collaborative work with Niall Gavin to represent some of our learning about the range of VR possible.

Over the last year, I have started to make much more use of my drawing skills, creating larger scale Sketchnotes for events, doing graphic facilitation for an MBA programme and creating illustrations for blogs and slides. 

I am planning to do more with my drawing and will be offering workshops in Sketchnoting later in the year. Get in touch if you are interested in this or would like me to create a Sketchnote for a meeting or event.

I have been curating materials both for my personal use and for use in learning for some years, but started in 2017 a process of reflecting on my practice and active experimentation with some different tools – aided and abetted by Mike Shaw.

I have made changes in the tools I use, reviewed my habits and mindset and worked on my skills to make my curation practice more effective.   As part of this, I have realised that I design differently when using curation, to when I am creating all the resources.   I am in the midst of writing a series of blogs about curation, so won’t go into further depth here, but encourage you to read the first of these blogs if you are interested in finding out more. 

My key learning point here, is in the value of actively experimenting with different approaches.  I need to try stuff out to really learn about it and this is the basis of what I share with other people.

I begin 2018 full of excitement, ideas, plans and learning to share with others.  And a commitment to keep on being curious  #alwayslearning.

Rachel Burnham

2 January 2018

Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I am particularly interested in blended learning, the use of digital skills for learning, evaluation and anything that improves the impact of learning on performance.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Learning from 'The Big Conversation'

Rachel Burnham writes: Way back in the Spring of 2017, I started to have a wild idea about hosting a public policy hackathon via social media.   I have to confess that at the time I wasn’t entirely sure what a ‘hackathon’ was or how you would run one, but I was pretty sure that somewhere in my PLN (personal learning network) there would be someone who did know! 

Aside from my work as an L&D Consultant, I volunteer with CIPD Manchester as a member of the branch committee and specifically as Public Policy Lead.  

I had been noticing for some time reference to increasing incidents of maternity discrimination in the workplace and this had been niggling at me, as an issue that needed exploration.   And I saw this as a topic where lots of HR people would have experience and might be interested in contributing their ideas about why this was happening and what could be done about it.  I speculated that there might be things to be addressed both at a public policy level and at an individual organisational level, so this could be a suitable topic for CIPD Manchester’s public policy work.  As I pondered on the topic, I began to wonder if this might be tackled through some kind of collaborative problem-solving approach ie hackathon.   And out of this the idea for ‘The Big Conversation about Families, Parents and the Workplace’ grew.

I should explain that CIPD Manchester has a five year successful history of public policy work, established by my predecessor as CIPD Manchester Public Policy Lead, Jacqui Woodhouse.   This work involves a panel of HR professionals who meet regularly to discuss and contribute to public policy issues that impact on HR and L&D work in organisations – by public policy we mean any actions of government or governmental bodies (national, local or international) that impact on HR, so changes in employment legislation, skills policy and funding arrangements are all things that we have looked at.  We contribute to consultations from government on such initiatives and have often acted as a focus group to inform policy making by CIPD nationally, Acas and to inform research undertaken by local universities.  Our meetings are sometimes speaker led, but often aren’t and instead are based around us sharing our practical and varying experience of the specific topic being explored.  I often joke that I am usually the person in the room who knows least about the topic in discussion – I see my role as bringing the right people together to talk and listen to each other – this is usually a mix of HR/L&D people and relevant subject matter experts/researchers.

And back in the spring, I was ready to try something different – I wanted us to reach out and involve a wider group of HR professionals, perhaps not just in the Greater Manchester area.  Over the previous year, I was aware that we had attracted participants to our meetings from West Yorkshire, Lancashire,  Merseyside and South Yorkshire, so I knew that there was some interest from wider afield.  I also felt that the time was right for us to initiate something from CIPD Manchester, rather than just respond to requests from CIPD or the other bodies that we are linked to.   We had done this a bit in the past, initiating meetings on the Northern Powerhouse and on the Apprenticeship Levy, but this was a step change.

This is a fairly long blog post, as I want to capture something of the process of how this came about, what was involved and most importantly, what I have learnt from doing it. 

Getting Started

So, I started talking to people about this idea – the branch committee, other public policy advisers based in other branches, HR people I met at other events, people in my PLN and so on.  Gradually the focus of this event widened out to not just focus on maternity discrimination, but childcare, shared parental leave, people with caring responsibilities other than children, flexible working and so on.   

Eventually, in mid-July I really started to focus on this initiative, scheduling some meetings with people who might be able to help.  A key meeting was with Gem Dale, @HR_Gem from The Work Consultancy to help me get my head around what a hackathon using social media might look like – we came up with the idea of a smorgasbord of ways of getting involved – a dedicated blog site, Twitter campaign using the hashtag #CIPDbigconvo, collaboration with any existing Twitter Chats, 24 hour online sprint conversations, with a face to face launch event.  As we were thinking about running this hackathon over an extended period, we decided on an initial campaign to build awareness using a unique visual identity and a series of commissioned blog posts – this would take place in September.  The face to face launch event would be held at the end of September, with the hackathon element taking place over 4 weeks in October.   We then had the good idea of using the CIPD ACE conference, which was taking place in Manchester in early November as a full stop to the initiative and had the idea to apply to run a fringe event at this event to report on ‘The Big Conversation’.

What happened?

We had about 6 weeks from those first detailed discussions in mid-July to early September when we planned to start the Twitter campaign.  I began by writing up a short proposal document to share with all the people who I wanted to get involved.  There was a lot to do, a lot of people to talk to and of course it was the key time for holidays.   I am so used to working in a very light touch way, as a freelancer and as a contributor to networks like L&D Connect, that it is hard to remember that some organisations work at a much slower pace.  Plus, there was paid work to fit into that time as well. 

Some elements went really well – our suggestion to Mark Hendy @markSWHRF for us to collaborate with the regular Twitter Chat (Thursdays 8-9pm) #HRHour met with an enthusiastic positive response and brought about the involvement of the S E Wales branch with ‘The Big Conversation’.  I was able to quickly delegate the formation of questions for that to Mike Shaw @MikeShawLD, a fellow Manchester CIPD member.  Gem Dale took on responsibility for setting up our dedicated blog cipdmcrbigconvo@wordpress.com and I set about commissioning blog articles from contacts in HR and relevant campaigning organisations.    I also took on responsibility for creating a visual image for the initiative, with support from Simon Heath @SimonHeath1, which meant getting my head around some basics in Photoshop.  I also contacted a number of CIPD branches that border Manchester to see if they would like to be involved.   This had a positive response and I offered a webinar briefing to support this involvement –  but on reflection the timing for doing this was poor, as it was right in the middle of the holiday season.  

We got the Twitter campaign launched, but a little later than intended and work started in earnest on planning the launch event for the end of September.   By then I was also handling the scheduling of Tweets and information on LinkedIn to promote the blog and was handling lots of enquiries, comments and offers of blog articles – I put some time into the intiative each day excepting Saturdays.  Ideally, this work would have been split between a number of people.  In the end we published 17 blog articles relating to different aspects of ‘The Big Conversation’ from 13 different authors – Gem and I each contributed a number of blogs.

The launch event took place on Wednesday 27th September and was hosted by Kenworthy’s Chambers.   The event included three short presentations to inform and stimulate conversation: Roz Hampson, from Maternity Action on ‘Pregnancy Discrimination’; Susan Raftery, from Acas on ‘Carers’; and Gem Dale on ‘Flexible working’.  We had about 28 people at the event from across the country – York to London, with good a mix of people from campaign organisations, researchers from universities and HR folk.  I would have liked more people from HR. During the discussions we worked in groups to identify four key themes to explore in the rest of the initiative:
·       Creating the cultures we need
·       Flexible ‘flexible working’ policies for all
·       Changing attitudes and challenging stigma
·       Supporting line managers to manage effectively

The very next night we took over #HRHour and had a very helpful and lively conversation with lots of participation from HR people.  The tweets were gathered together and put into a storify

Originally, we planned to have the Hackathon part of ‘The Big Conversation’ take place on Twitter, but we didn’t feel that we had got enough HR folk involved in the initial stages of the initiative, so we thought that we would try LinkedIn instead.  Our reasoning is that even if a person doesn’t do any other social media they will be on LinkedIn, so that this would be our best chance of involving more HR folk.  I posted the first of the themes and some initial questions into CIPD Manchester group and, but despite encouragement we only had a few contributions and a lot of tumbleweed.   So then, we tried posting the next week’s theme and questions openly on LinkedIn – this was a bit more successful, but by the fourth week even this had gone quiet.    So, the hackathon joint problem-solving element of ‘The Big Conversation’ really didn’t work and we are not sure why.   Perhaps LinkedIn wasn’t the right platform?  We didn’t seem able to generate sufficient momentum with comments and shares to get more people involved.  I noticed that even fellow CIPD Manchester branch committee members mostly didn’t add comments, though they did add likes – I wonder if people felt comfortable having this kind of a conversation in ‘public’ in written form? 

The final fringe event was fast coming up and I realised that we wouldn’t be reporting back, as we had originally planned.  So instead, I planned a 1 hour hackathon style event.  Again, this started with two Ignite presentations (5 mins each, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide) from Gem Dale and Gary Cookson @Gary_Cookson, one of CIPD Manchester’s Ambassadors to inspire us and getting us thinking about parenthood and flexible working.  Then we moved into four groups, one for each of the themes identified in the launch event and worked through a series of questions over the course of 30 mins, each group working at their own pace.  Each group was facilitated and each group asked to make notes on post-it notes of key points.   The questions were:

  •      What is our ideal situation?
  •      What gets in the way of our progress now? 
  •      What works well today?
  •       What can we do to drive real change?

At the end of this time each group gave a 1 minute report back.   The points written up on the post-it notes were subsequently written up as blog posts and put on ‘The Big Conversation’ blog.  
We had over 30 participants in this event and everyone took part.  The discussions were very focused, with lots of contributions and helpful points raised.    And this was all possible in a session last only 60 minutes and starting at 8am in the morning!   I think it helped that we served breakfast!

Lessons Learnt
Here are some of my reflections on ‘The Big Conversation’:

11.  If I was to do it again, I would start planning earlier.   I think there is a balance to be struck between being fast & agile and involving more people.  Ideally, I would have liked to have had more involvement from more people from CIPD Manchester and other branches and to enable this to happen more time would be needed to allow for people to get involved in an earlier stage and to take things back to committees.   Having said that, a risk with doing this could be that such an initiative doesn’t take place – I know that I have limited time to spend of my voluntary activities and I have a low liking for spending that time in meetings – I have experience through networks such as L&D Connect and #LnDCoWork for making things happen in a light touch way and I know that this can be very effective.  But this may not work to involve more people.

 2.  If I was to do this again, it would be good to involve more people in shaping the initiative.   This links very closely to the time issue and particularly to attempting to set up the initiative over the summer holiday months.   The upside of being slightly less participatory is possibly a greater willingness to try something different out.  The downside is that the initiative would have benefited from having a few more people to share the workload.

 3. One of the challenges of this initiative was finding the people with the right skills (who also had time, were willing to be involved and ideally were NW based).   For example, when it came to splitting responsibilities, there was only one other person in the CIPD Manchester network, who I knew of that had the experience of setting questions and facilitating twitter chats, other than myself.  Fortunately, they said ‘yes’ when asked to take this on.   There were a few more people who had experience of setting up blogs, writing blogs and scheduling tweets, but still there were a very limited number to draw on in this project.   I wonder if we want CIPD branches to work in different ways and take on innovative projects, whether we have the skills capacity in the branch network to do this or whether this is something which needs developing?  It is interesting that many of the skills I drew on for this project were developed outside of the CIPD ‘world’.

  4. It worked well in this initiative to collaborate with other organisations eg Acas, Maternity Action, individual bloggers and existing Twitter Chats eg #HRHour.   We do a lot of collaborative work in CIPD Manchester, which meant I was able to draw on some existing relationships and I think this is a very helpful way of working. 

  5. This initiative was definitely not an event.  It was good to try out something different as a branch.  It is a bit hard to know quite what to call this  – perhaps it was most like a ‘campaign’.   It was really helpful to have created a distinctive visual identity that united all the disparate elements of ‘The Big Conversation’.   

   6. Where we did have events – the launch and the breakfast fringe event at ACE, they weren’t traditional speaker led events.  Whilst we did have speakers at each event, in each case most of the event was highly participatory and got everyone involved and contributing.
   7. It is OK to try something out and it not work.   To my mind, we only partially succeeded at what we intended with ‘The Big Conversation’ – we raised some attention for these issues, we got some HR people involved, we built some partnerships, but we weren’t able to identify many practical examples of what is currently working nor did we really identify the key public policy issues.  We did try out some different approaches to CIPD membership engagement.   Some elements of how we addressed this worked very well.  Some fell flat.   Some elements metamorphed into something a bit different.   This is OK.  Glorious failures, which you learn lots from are a good thing in my book.

So, what next?

I thought that ‘The Big Conversation’ would just be a short term project, but I think that there will be some spin offs.  I know that there are likely to be some further actions as a result of some of the partnerships built – watch this space!

CIPD  announced at the Fringe Event we ran, that they would be running a campaign next year, focusing on ‘Flexible working for all’ which was a key issue that came out both of the launch event and also the #HRHour twitter chat.  So, look out for that and get involved.

And I have a few new wild ideas that I want to try out for CIPD Manchester next year – hold onto your hats!

Thank you
‘The Big Conversation about Families, Parents and the Workplace’ involved lots of people in making it work – thank you to all the people who got involved as bloggers, speakers, stewards, collaborators, tweeters, facilitators, advisers & suggesters.  I particularly want to thank Gem Dale for all her work throughout and without whom this would not have been possible. 

Rachel Burnham

26 November 2017

Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I am particularly interested in blended learning, the use of digital skills for learning, evaluation and anything that improves the impact of learning on performance.