This week we hear the views/opinions of Simon Gibson – Director, Learning & Organisational Development at NBC Universal, Inc.

Simon key interests are around organisation development, L&D and Digital, with a keen interest in collaboration and innovation. Simon is also passionate about people development and the organisational fit. Critical to that is focusing on delivering the right mind-set, emotional connection, a collaborative culture with relevant capabilities which makes work a better place for all.  Simon was previously Head of Learning at The Royal Bank of Scotland.


In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

I feel that as a relatively young function we wrestle a lot with who are we and what are we here to do ? I see a great change in many practitioners across the profession willing to advance and progress for the better but I also see just as many if not more willing to hold the function in the firm grip of Training and Development days. The anxiety is that as a profession we are trying to be lots of things (such as: designer, council, coach, facilitator, digital maverick, change master, neuro scientist etc..) and in a way that is brilliant and in another it’s almost an impossible task to mater all those arts.


Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

First and foremost for me, many great folk who are willing to share, listen and challenge thinking in this space. It mainly comes in the form of some brilliant Twitter chat and if you haven’t seen it get along to #LDInsight to get a view for yourself. Not that you need to be a fan of Twitter, face to face forums and networking events still provide me the space to make sense, share and discuss challenges that are front of mind right now. Away from our profession I  look for different views, thoughts, blogs and writing that stimulates thought or holds a position on a view. Some great pieces from wellbeing to narcissism in the workplace are drawing me in at the moment.


What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

Technological aids and potential leaps in workflow support aside, I think it could be that the function makes a real leap forward in confidence and clarity in the next few years.   To me that becomes innovative as companies have to find smart and contextualised ways to move the organisation forward in this disruptive and consumer led environment. Brilliant time to working in the L & D profession.


What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

Not a real fan of LMS’s but if someone could blow this field wide open and create such a consumer led experience then that might change the game for me. If Apple got into this market then the world might be a better place!….


What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

Honestly I have no idea! That’s what makes it fun and challenging in a beat. Maybe our function is no more and the “thing”of L & D is just an everyday occurrence of continual improvement – people finding and using what they need, when the need it, just for them (i.e. choice). As we are constantly told, data is going to be such a great driver of this and L & D can really help make this opportunity fly.


What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Get curious, ask questions, challenge the status quo and don’t worry about being wrong or making a mistake. Just make sure you learn from it!


Why not connect with with Simon on Twitter @simon1gibson

Next week we catch up with Emma Bawden – Talent Development Director (EMEA) at Ralph Lauren