Nigel Paine, L&D commentator
The clichés pour out: what an amazing rollercoaster of a year? Who could have predicted at the beginning of the year where we would end up at the end? But the truth is more illuminating. The year rolled on from over-optimism – learning and development is being taken seriously, and some serious money is behind it – to despair, when whole (excellent and innovative) L&D operations bit the dust, particularly in the US where things looked bleaker faster, and reactions were quicker and more savage. I have finally come to rest more overwhelmed with the opportunities and challenges than the negative aspects of the immediate future. On balance, learning and development has been given a breather to come up with something special and prove that it can engage in difficult times as well as good times, and this is an opportunity the whole industry may look back and actually welcome.
The coming year will be one of contrast: real chances to innovate, get close to the business, try new models as the old ones are increasingly broken, increase the velocity of delivery, and demonstrate relevance, coupled with some frankly bad decisions to push L&D back where it came from and see it as a soft cost that can easily be trimmed. I hope that the difference between those two approaches will determine success and failure for the organisations concerned!