The Conclusion of the 15th CLO Exchange 2018

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Bruna Sales

15th CLO Exchange_diverse group of people enjoying lunch in the California weather

For three days, learning & development was the center of conversations at the 15th CLO Exchange in Carlsbad, CA. (Dec 2-4).  The Exchange was filled with rich content and attendees left with major takeaways ready to be implemented in their organizations. As part of the Exchange team, I got a chance to ask a few attendees about their Exchange experience and their key takeaways - the feedback was very insightful. 

Content Curation & Development

Keynote speakers shared innovative ideas, candid insights, strategy, and tactics on a wide variety of corporate learning topics. However, a particular topic area seemed to come up in various conversations and sessions - the concept of Content Curation. 

On Day 1, our vendor partner Thoughtexchange explored what the most important topics were to the group of CLOs at the Exchange. It was no surprise that content curation came up and this topic was part of an extensive roundtable discussion among a group of attendees.

Courtesy:  Bruna Sales

It was important to note that the challenge with content curation is that it’s defined differently by each group depending upon the learning leader's infrastructure, platform, source of content, quantity of available content and a number of other factors. The approach used to best handle curation of content will likely be unique to the set of circumstances being addressed (challenge presented through the Thoughtexchange platform).

The discussion resulted in the following 3 key insights on the subject:

  1. Curation is like a new refrigerator, if you overbuy your content will not stay fresh.
  2. Curation requires putting the best stuff to the front of the fridge. It's like consumer marketing, tout your stuff.
  3. Research what people are searching on and use insights from that activity to drive you Curation strategy.

This topic resonated with attendees who cited it as being a major learning point from the CLO Exchange. Paula Daoust, Director of Workforce and Leadership Development at Blue Cross blue Shield said, “How Important curated content would be, it’s more complex than I would have thought. I’ll need to think through how were going to index and market it, but we definitely have to take more advantage of curated content. Because of the Exchange, the first thing I’d like to do is change our current job description to 'Curated Content Manager', we need to invest in this direction.” Something she didn’t realize prior to Exchange. 

The Exchange Model

As leading companies continue to evolve their learning and development programs, the use of  cutting-edge technologies, evolving practices and the latest research is essential to those organizations. Therefore, finding their ideal solution partner is always important. According to Kristi Conlon, Director, Global Learning & Development at ASM, “The 15th CLO Exchange was one of the most innovative events” she was able to meet with unique solution providers who she referred to as “Hidden gems” and will be doing a proof of concept with a chosen vendor partner.

Courtesy:  Bruna Sales

Our Exchanges offer attendees the opportunity to meet face to face with selected vendor partners that are indeed offering solutions that CLOs are looking for. Debbie Wooldridge, CEO & Founder of TTC Innovations, a certified woman-owned business, who partners with top enterprise-wide learning and development teams to outsource and scale their training initiatives, and a vendor partner at our 15th CLO exchange, said that “being able to schedule business meetings with attendees and talk and listen to what they’re really looking for was invaluable”. Debbie also shared “the biggest thing that (she) noticed here (CLO Exchange) is that people are just engaging, networking and talking. There’s not a lot of pressure to get from session to session, because there’s designated times for networking and designated times for business partners to come and just talk."

Another Exchange partner that enjoyed the high level conversations was Mursion. They are a virtual reality platform that allows people to practice workplace conversations. Here is what their Director of Business Development, Doug MacKay had to say: “The CLO Exchange” has been very good at getting high level decision makers and that’s worked well. We will definitely consider attending another CLO Exchange.”

The intimacy of the CLO Exchange is also a major differentiator for attendees looking for this type of learning setting. Below is what a few attendees had to say: 

“I attend a mix of event formats, I do like the intimacy of this type of conference, I get a little bit lost in HR Tech or SHRM events for example.” Christina Parr- Head of Talent and OD, Training- Argo Group

Courtesy:  Bruna Sales

“The format is actually really cool, I like primarily the one track methodology with a couple of breakouts, masterclasses.” John Hoffer- Director, Enterprise Learning – PPD

“Really good opportunity for learning leaders to network and share best practices.” Cody Colton- Executive Director, Learning & Development – Vanderbilt

“I've been to many trade shows and major events, but none of them have come close to the level of meaningful and intimate conversations about learning and leadership and how we can make a greater impact on our organizations and the world. A truly great event.” Jason Diamond Arnold- Inspire Software 

Carving Whitespace in your Day

The concept of “carving out whitespace in your day” or that strategic pause taken between activities, really stood out to many attendees and became a top takeaway from the CLO Exchange. On a session presented by Juliet Funt, CEO of Whitespace at Work, attendees got a chance to dive into the difficulty employees face in the Age of Overload. She also talked about the importance of adding that Whitespace into organizations to boost creativity and engagement. “WhiteSpace is like a glass of water, every once in a while just take a little sip.” – Juliet Funt.   


Courtesy:  Bruna Sales

“Whitespace vendor partner presentation- gave some great tools around trying to get us to carve some whitespace in our day.” Christina Parr- Head of Talent and OD, Training- Argo Group

“I think this Exchange particularly brought some new thoughts into the process around giving ourselves some time to think and learn which makes us more valuable to our teams and our organizations.” Cody Colton- Executive Director, Learning & Development – Vanderbilt

Final Thoughts

The last CLO Exchange of 2018 was one to remember. If you are an L&D professional looking to stay ahead of the curve and connect with your peers, this Exchange is for you. We are getting ready for an exciting 2019 event lineup. With CLO Exchanges happening throughout the US and Canada, don’t miss out and request your invitation today. There are also lots of opportunities for solution providers who would like to get involved. 

Original blog published here.

NEXT:  Top 5 Learning & Development Trends of 2018