Friday, November 13, 2009


The learning journey continues...

Every two years, EU Ministers gather to agree on a Ministerial Declaration on e-government, which is the main European strategic document. This is usually accompanied by an Industry declaration.

In November 2009, I joined the such an Industry Declaration on Public Services in Europe and the group on Facebook supporting this declaration.

This is an open declaration, collaboratively built and endorsed by EU citizens who share the view that the web is transforming our society and our governments. We feel e-government policies in Europe could learn from the open, meritocratic, transparent and user-driven culture of the web. We also feel that current web citizens should engage more positively with government to help designing a strategy which is genuinely difficult to adopt in the traditional culture of public administration.

There is only 5% sign up from the UK so far, with the greatest support coming from Spain (23%) so far...

ES 100
DE 87
NL 78
IT 52
GR 49
UK 37
BE 20
FI 17
PT 15
DK 14
DK 14
OTH 13
FR 11
AT 10
IE 5
RO 3
SE 3
HU 1
LU 1

Grand Total 521 (as at 1 November)

Let's hope that the declaration and its supporters are given a voice that can be heard.

The POL Group

Friday, November 06, 2009


The learning journey continues...

To say that I am exhausted is something of an understatement.

One of the reasons for not posting since September is that I have been on the road for weeks - the result? A wonderful range of travelling experiences from Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Germany and Belgium.

One of the things I enjoy the most about travel is the opportunity to meet exciting new people, and taking part in European Commission funded projects - this allows me to indulge my two great passions:
  1. my overwhelming professional desire to improve the learning capability of those working in organisations (and the organisations themselves)
  2. expanding my knowledge base about Europe and its culture
My latest marathon jaunt has been associated with two projects - VISIBLE focusing on validating informal learning and TI-SAETO which is looking at quality improvements for Education and Training Organisations using the EFQM model of excellence.

VISIBLE has been an overwhelming success, not just for the project but for the partners as well - after all, how often can you say that you want to continue working with the people you are thrust together with in a project? Hopefully there will be a follow up - VISIBLE2 to evaluate our findings and report on applications that help to improve the competency of project managers working in Regional Development Agencies across Europe.

TI-SAETO has started well and will take me to Turkey (twice) and Latvia next year, so more active blogging then.

The POL Group

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The learning journey continues...

I am working hard at creating a home studio for my future Voice Over (VO) work - I have the microphone (Sennheiser), a mixing desk and two software packages to record, mix and edit to a final stage of completion.

I have found a source for fantastic background music at Partners In Rhyme Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects where I can download music and sound effects that I might need for my multimedia projects.

Now all I need at the clients!

The POL Group (featuring LearningVoice)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The learning journey continues...

I have always highly respected the work and writing of Professor Theodore Zeldin, and once again, he is pushing the communication boundaries with a truly unique event to be held in London on 22nd August - a Feast of Strangers.

Here he is orchestrating a giant discussion between strangers. This is just talking, you might say, however, consider for a moment how many societal and political problems could be erradicated simply by keeping the communication going.

For more information about the Feast of Strangers event - click here

From a business perspective, managing change, building a team, achieving business targets all benefit from good, clear and effective conversation. Theodore Zeldin believes that conversation is a 'art' and as such needs to be cultivated and nurtured - for more information and to listen to a Radio Netherlands interview - click here

The POL Group

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


The learning journey continues...and boy has it continued with some serious 'brain stimulation' and CPD!

One reason for not blogging in recent weeks is that I have been doing some extensive travelling in the UK and abroad. My brain is so full of thoughts and new ideas I hardly know where to start.

Firstly, I went to Newcastle in June, to the University of Northumbria to be precise where I attended my very first academic conference and what an experience that was! I originally thought that the presentations might be a little dry and heavy, but not so. Some superb, well researched presentations and very welcoming and friendly people meant that my note book is full and certainly the challenge now is to transcribe some of my key learnings into either papers or reflected in my current work.

Then the following week, I was off to the Netherlands, to Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) to speak at an ECLO annual conference (more practitioner based). ECLO (European Consortium for the Learning Organisation) is Europe's longest serving Community of Practice and I continue to be proud to be their Secretary-General. The conferece, as ever, was an eclectic mix of speakers and participants from Europe and beyond. Apart from being around some familiar faces, it brought back some wonderful memories of the ECLO 2008 conference at which I spoke at and also had taken my son, James, with me for his work experience, first as an event co-ordinator with ECLO in Budapest and then to Berlin to work in the city centre for Regus in Kurfurstendamm. ECLO is always a very thought provoking and this conference was no different - next year it looks like it might be in Turkey.

Finally, last week, I was in Norway (Oslo) attending a special meeting as part of my current work on an EU-funded project looking at developing a competency matrix, developmental guide and game for project managers working in European Regional Development Agencies. Working (well actually playing the game that we are developing) in sweltering Oslo (cool offices though) and then an evening dip in a (nudist) lake in a forest on the outskirts of Oslo seemed an absolutely surreal experience. I will be taking the 'game' to Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia during September and October this year.

Back in the UK on Saturday, meant watching my son appear as Eddie in 'Blood Brothers' (as part of his local theatre group) and running my first UK Masterclass (How to cut training budgets and increase learning) in London on Tuesday.

All I can say after this little lot is phew!

Happy Summer everyone.

The POL Group

Monday, June 01, 2009


The learning journey continues...

Is the WolframAlpha likely to be the intelligent replacement for the Google search engine over the next 20 years?

Grab a drink as it's a long film but worth watching.

If however, you want to jump to the film that shows you how it can be used click on link below:

The POL Group

Friday, May 08, 2009


The learning journey continues...

Fantastic news from ITOL (Institute for Training and Occupational Learning) as they have clearly influenced the new governmental drive to encourage organisations to increase training rather than cut it.

Click on the image to see the full ITOL News bulletin.

Monday, May 04, 2009


The learning journey continues...

It is so easy to get completely swamped with work things that time off (for good behaviour) eludes even the most disciplined of us. This weekend and Bank Holiday has been a lovely reminder of how precious time off with the family and friends actually is.

Amidst the (very) long list of things "to do" was a small note, hidden away reminding me to 'down-tools' for a short period of time and do something that didn't involve work.

Oh what a joy to pull weeds (no I am not joking) and plant lovely colourful flowers, even though the threat of rain has been around all day.

Oh what joy to watch young daughter 'perform' at a Parish 'fayre' with her drama group and revel in the fact that it was all so well received.

Oh what joy it will be tomorrow (Tuesday) to go off with son to attend Harry Potter auditions (fingers crossed), he has already been in one film, so maybe, just maybe, he will be in another!

During the current challenging work climate, all around find themselves scrabbling to secure new work and whilst important (to live), the downtime it affords us to open our eyes and spend a little more time doing things much closer to home is a bonus.

I feel rejuvenated and ready to face the working week again with a renewed energy from taking time out to stop and look and listen to what I am already very rich in - family!

Have a good week all of you.

The POL Group

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The learning journey continues...

My 11 year-old daughter never ceases to amaze me with her wit and intellect and view of the world.

This morning she decided that she would create a set of reflection cards, one for each day and put these in her school locker to guide her actions that day - wow!

Here are her 9 thoughts

I wonder what we can learn from this approach in our daily working lives with regards ethical behaviour, atttitudinal development, skills acquisition and knowledge creation?

The POL Group

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


The learning journey continues...

After a particularly difficult 2008 (on the personal front) this year has started with an almighty BANG!

I have been chosen as one of only two UK businesses to receive the Global HR Excellence Award in HR Leadership from the World HRD Congress!

This is a tremendous honour and comes at a time when I have been consolidating my efforts into a more manageable and productive package. The result is POL Group - a collection of different business ventures that focus on:

Training (Instructional Design and Training Delivery)
Learning (EU projects, Interim HRD and Voicing)
Knowledge (Cognitive Mapping and Evaluation)
Quality (Standards in Training, ISO 10015, EFQM)

I know that in times of recession businesses often cut back on their training budgets or slash them altogether - a false short-term solution as this often leads to capacity and capability issues later when there is an eventual up-turn, resulting in more money needing to be spent on re-establishing performance levels of the workforce.

The POL Group