You are currently viewing 027 + 028 Human Potential

027 + 028 Human Potential

 

Introduction

Chris Pirie – CEO of the Learning Futures Group is an experienced talent leader, obsessed with making the future workplace better. Formerly a Global VP of Online Learning at Oracle and Chief Learning Officer of Microsoft, Chris’s entire career has been spent working at the intersection between Workplace Learning and Technology. He now provides advisory services to enterprise organizations and EdTech vendors and teaches as Senior Faculty at the Josh Bersin Academy and The Future Workplace Academy.

In 2019, Chris launched The Learning Futures Group to help organizations rethink their Learning and Development strategy in the face of historic workplace disruption and change. He launched Learning Is The New Working a podcast about the future of workplace learning and the people helping us get there, as part of his research activities.  The podcast has had over 30,000 downloads. He is also a founding director of Humentum.

Chris brings a passion for driving disruptive change and innovation and is a proven business and people leader of large functional teams in very dynamic enterprise environments. He has developed strategic partnerships with leading business schools such as INSEAD, London School of Business, and Wharton University.

He is an experienced Board Chair and Board member in learning related fields such as Association for Talent Development and Learning for International NGOs. A frequent contributor and speaker at industry conferences including Deloitte CLO Forum, Future Workplace Consortium, INSEAD CLO Forum, AST ICE conference and others.

He is a founding Director of Humentum.org, a membership organisation bringing transparency, skills and localization to the capacity building efforts of the International Aid Industry.

Chris was born in The United Kingdom and now lives mostly in Seattle in the USA. He loves to hike, read, sail, and travel with his educator wife, and two grown sons.

 

Summary:

In business, there is a saying that goes, “No one is indispensable,” which means that no one is special and that one can be replaced by anyone at any given time. But what if you are replaceable not by anyone but by technology? Doesn’t that sound a lot more threatening to humanity as a whole?

In this episode, Chris Pirie, founder of The Learning Futures Group and workplace learning expert talks about two things which may impact the way human potential will be viewed in the workplace. One is climate change, which is most likely going  to drive a shift in the human population. The other thing is the rapid advancement in technology, especially in the area of Artificial Intelligence. 

As an experienced talent leader with decades of experience, Chris evangelised on learning the technology that we use now. Fast forward from thirty years ago, technology has almost tripled its pace and his calls to action has shifted to rebuilding ourselves thoughtfully with technology but with humanity at the core of it. 

This leaves us with the question of how do we make ourselves indispensable in today’s workplace; more so, how do we make ourselves indispensable in the future? Tune in to Part 1 of our episode on The Human Potential.

In this episode, we have learned that:

  1. The future of working is going to depend heavily on the ability to learn quickly and effectively.
  2. After students graduate from school, they are going to need to acquire relevant skills continually, since many of these skills will become obsolete over time.
  3. Students and employees will have to develop the ability to learn, adapt, and be agile in order to keep up with the increasing demands of the modern workplace.
  4. The future of work will change with the impacts of climate change on the population and the rapid advances in technology.

Has technology become the only way to improve ourselves as humans – to eradicate the flaws we were born with that hinder learning and effective working? To become humans that are capable of learning, being productive, and ultimately leading the world?

Tune in to Part 2 of “Human Potential,” as Chris Pirie shares his thoughts about these questions and ideas around leveraging science, research, innovation, and platforms that are attempting to learn about the human brain and motivation to help people become effective learners.

==============================

  1. For at least a hundred years, people have tried to understand how learning works, and pedagogical models have emerged from that effort.
  2. Currently, there is a lot of progress made in the collective learning sciences: Computer science is helping us learn better; Neuroscience is studying how the brain functions at the chemical level; and Behavior and Social Sciences understand motivation, an essential element of learning.
  3. Purpose, as it turns out, drives attention. People who are purpose-driven are highly motivated and are considered to be effective learners doing interesting work and are highly effective in their fields.
  4. Experimentation, a part of the growth mindset that refers to being open to new ideas, being curious, and being focused on solving the problem at hand seems to lead to greater chances of success and more agility compared to just relying on available resources.

Shownotes (Part 1)

Katherine Ann Byam  0:01  

This is part one of a two-part episode. 

 Hi, Chris and welcome to Where Ideas Launch.

Chris Pirie  1:29  

Katherine, thanks so much. I’m honoured to be here.

Katherine Ann Byam  1:32  

Thank you for joining me. I’m really excited to have you on the show because you don’t know this but your podcast has been a big part of my 2020 story. I attended a Learning Futures conference in London in the first week of February. I think it was just over a year ago. And I got hooked on many of the speakers and all of them spoke about your podcast which is quite remarkable. And once I started listening, I got hooked on it and it started to help me reshape the entire way I crafted my business. So once the pandemic happened, and I started to pivot to doing courses and programs, I started to focus on the future of work and some of the career work that I was doing. So you’ve had a big part of my story.

Chris Pirie  2:17  

Oh, wow. Well, I’m flattered. I’m excited. Where was the conference, at the ExCeL Center? 

Katherine Ann Byam  2:24  

Yes, it was. Before it was in the NHS Hub?

Chris Pirie  2:27  

Yeah, it was about a year ago. And I was thinking about this the other day, it was actually in February, I think of 2020. And it was one of the last trips that I made. And that building turned out one month later. It was like a “3000-bed” feel hospital. It was amazing. And with the energy of that conference, we didn’t know what was waiting around the corner for us. I just remember this, it was the last time I was with 3000 people in one room. Now it feels like a very scary thing.

Katherine Ann Byam  2:59  

It’s quite striking to think back. But it was only a year ago. So I wanted to talk a little bit about that podcast, because I find it really transformative. And I know that you have 30,000 downloads. It’s called Learning as a New Working. And can you tell my listeners why you thought this statement could be true?

Chris Pirie  3:17  

Yeah, I think I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across that title. I wanted something that was fun. But what I like about it is I think it’s a useful frame for two reasons. One is my work is really about how we can prepare the world for a future of work that’s going to be very different, especially in the light of how we’ve prepared people for the world of work in the past has not been excellent. So let me put it that way. So how do we prepare people for the world of work? And I think Learning is the New Working does two things. One is it sort of tells the story of how modern work and how it looks like work is going in the future is going to be highly dependent on the ability to learn quickly and effectively.

That’s always your best bet in a world of change, right? It’s like this, the secret sauce of humanity is that we can be plastic, we can learn, we can respond, we can adapt, and we can be agile. And that’s particularly useful in times of change. And a lot of what I’m reading tells me that we are at this time of incredible change. So that’s one thing. Learning is one of the ways that you will be more effective in work increasingly in the future. The second thing is that as I studied this, it turns out that learning is really hard especially once you get past your middle twenties. You absolutely retain the ability to learn and brain plasticity is available to you through your entire life. I’m a big fan of lifelong learning but It gets hard, right?

It happens with no effort until you’re in your mid 20s. And then it requires an extraordinary amount of effort to really learn new things, new models, new processes, new behaviours, and new facts and information. And so I like Learning is the New Working from those two angles, because it talks to the future of how we’re going to get by at work. And it also talks to something that I feel very strongly about. And that is a new scientific approach that we need to help people get better at being learners.

Katherine Ann Byam  5:36  

Absolutely, I think that’s such an important part of the story. I would say that for myself, I have pivoted careers at least every four to five years and radical pivots as well. So I probably don’t necessarily agree that it gets harder but I do agree that it gets harder to sell it when you’re pivoting and changing. And I wanted to ask you a little bit about sustainable development and the goals around that. There are two goals in particular that I feel I need to talk about in this podcast as it is sustainable leaning. One is goal eight, decent work and economic growth, and the other one is called for quality education. And my question for you is which one do you think we are likely to struggle to get to more? Will it be a challenge around decent work and economic growth? Or quality education?

Chris Pirie  6:29  

Well, the first thing is, I love this frame for your podcast. I mean, to be honest with you, I wasn’t super familiar with the sustainable goals – the United Nations’ set of goals. I definitely came across them but hadn’t really studied them. And I love it. I mean, I think it’s obviously a codification of the challenges we face as humanity. And that’s very much in frame right now. And so I like it and I like that approach of your podcast. So congratulations on doing that. Couple of things I would say. One is that studying the international aid sector, this is not my area of expertise. But it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed studying and learning from. And I’m going to frame it up. I’ll come back to your question specifically, but I want to frame it up first. I think the work of international aid is fascinating. I mean, it’s loaded with post colonial baggage.

But it’s a $200 billion worth of activity around the world. And when you meet people who are engaged in that, they’re usually super people that operate with purpose and integrity. And I love being around those people. And one of the things that I learned was, the whole business of international aid is essentially two things. One is funnelling money to where it’s needed. And secondly, it’s finding the capability and coping capacity to get the work done whatever it is – water projects, education projects, health projects, and so forth. So it’s cash and it’s training in its simplest form. And because it operates under such a lot of constraints. I really learned a lot about training and workplace learning by studying the sector. And I really did learn a lot.

And some key principles in my work come from that.  For example, one principle is to use what you have. In the private sector, where I come from, we spend staggering amounts of money. In fact, more money is spent in corporate workplace learning, (the best estimates $360 billion) that is spent in international aid. And so that’s Workplace Learning investment to a very tiny fraction of the human population. And it’s actually not really very good. That’s the dirty little secret.

So anyway, point one is I studied the international aid space not as an expert but as somebody who wants to learn from great work that happens there around agility and impact and so on and so forth. The twin goals of education and work are really, really interesting. As I read them carefully, a lot of the education which I think is number four (is that correct?) It’s a lot about childhood education. That’s not my area of expertise at all. I really defer to that one. But it’s clear, you know, if you read works like Hans Rosling’s work, “Fact Fullness,” which is one of my favourite books.

You know, he’ll tell you the correlation between educating children and moving humanity and society forward is so blindingly obvious that we just need to get better at doing it. We need to spend more money doing it and we need to be equitable and how we give people childhood education opportunities. It’s crystal clear. It’s out of my expertise, my league now, but just whatever we can do to improve that seems to me absolutely a slam dunk.

Katherine Ann Byam

Added links to your earlier point as well about how easy it is at that age as well to assimilate.

Chris Pirie

Yeah, true. I mean that’s absolutely true. And I think when you get uneducated youth in the world, bad things happen. They’re easily exploited. They’re put to bad ends. It’s clearly not good. So educating kids, educating women, educating everybody should be a massive priority. End of story. As far as I’m concerned, what can we do to make that happen? There’s a really interesting story that I love. One of my favourite episodes of the podcast. And it wasn’t me doing the interviewing.

 It was a friend of mine called  Lutz Ziob, who does a lot of work in Africa. And he found this amazing guy called Rob Burnett, and Rob is a Scotsman. And he ended up in East Africa. He’s built this incredible organisation. It is a model for so many things. I remember the episode. Yeah. I think a lot about the future of work and one of the things that I did when I first started this project was I went to learn how to think about the future because there are people who do that.

 And it’s not crystal ball gazing. It’s a discipline and a science. There’s tools and techniques you can use and I wanted to understand them a little bit. And one great phrase that those people throw around a lot is, is actually a science fiction writer whose name is escaping me right now. He says “the future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” And so you look for futures around. That’s kind of a little bit about what I do in the podcast. I’m looking for possible futures, people who are doing things really, really well, people are on the cutting edge.

And Rob Burnett is one of those people but his future is quite dystopian because he tells a story of how things in 2019 in East Africa. 1.2 million people will graduate from the education system, to your point, goal number four. Job well done. 1.2 million people are educated so somewhere between the age of 16 and 18. These people are educated. They’re skilled and they can read and so on and so forth. And they come out of the education system. And less than 5% of them get a job that you and I would recognise as a job. I go somewhere you go religiously every week and get a paycheck at the end of the week.

So these people go onto the streets and they find ways to operate. And I’m not going to tell his whole story. But he helps those people. He reaches out to those people. And he gives them skills that they need to do what they do more effectively. And he calls it the hustler MBA and he speaks in the language and cultural tropes that they understand. He’s built this network of 5 million people. And he started by producing a comic, like using what he had, like the simplest technologies he could get his hands on. And he’s gone on to build social media that really accelerated his practice.

 And it’s a really amazing story. So I think that’s a little bit of an illustration of if we get people through school, the job isn’t done when they leave school. They’re going to continue to need to learn. They’re going to continue to get experiences. They’re going to continue to need skills, many of which have an increasingly short shelf life. And yeah that’s the kind of area of work where we hang out.

Katherine Ann Byam  14:03  

And it’s interesting because I think we have had a number of overlapping challenges come upon us in 2020, in a way that we hadn’t expected. So even as a workplace futures person, you would have been surprised at what we were able to do in 2020. And how things have changed, right? So we have this sort of perfect storm. It’s and it’s either actually going to be a storm or an acceleration, right? I’m not gonna say which but history tells us that depressions and recessions are followed by opportunity and by growth, but history never had AI. And I think there are a lot of things that this can challenge. So I probably have three parts to this question. So I’ll ask you one at a time and that’s good. One is how can we ensure that this strain on services, the climate change impact this whole Biodiversity bit, as well as the rapid advancements in AI do not become a permanent loss in jobs for humanity.

Chris Pirie  15:11  

Yeah. Wow, that’s a huge question. And I do think that one possible future is what we think of as jobs today don’t exist in the future. There are many people who think that there’s Rob Burnett’s world in East Africa where that’s already true. You know, the idea of having one contractor with one employer who takes care of benefits and salary is really under threat. And it’s under threat from a number of different directions and it’s likely to evolve.

And we know this because as you say, you look at history as a guide, right? So when I think I always like to start, and I spent six months at the beginning of this journey, thinking about what are the forces at work? What are the macro forces at work? And this was of course before 2020. And the forces at work were really maybe sort of unarguable things that would likely change the way everything happens. One, of course, was climate change and what’s going on with our environment. And that’s really hard.

 I think for people to get their head around (because it’s happening in) in such an abstract way for many many people – if you don’t live in these extreme climate areas, you probably haven’t noticed the change. But I can tell you, the oil industry has noticed the change. The people who live on these edges and in these futures, they noticed the change and you’re seeing the behaviours happen. So that’s one thing that I don’t have a lot of expertise in. But clearly, it’s going to drive a lot of shifts in population. 

You can map out what’s likely to happen as a result of climate change to humanity. The second thing is technology. And I think he talks maybe in your introduction about the fourth industrial revolution. We know what happens when a radically new technology comes along. It changes how we organise our work. It also changes how we organise our society, and maybe even how we think about our gods. I mean it has fundamental changes and we know that over the last 300 years, there was this kind of steady drumbeat of changes really based on energy. Actually, at the heart of it, the energy we use to power the tools that we have, that we’ve invented in that kind of era. And so this is all well documented.

In 1860, people moved from the farm and into the workshop, and then into the factory. And then we started to automate things through computing in the 1960s. We had this sort of 100-year drumbeat. But there’s nothing that says 100 years is the magic number. And in fact, here we are just like 30 or 40 years after the information age. And we’ve got this incredible new set of technologies that most commentators think is described as the fourth industrial revolution. It’s the technology that’s going to change our world.

So fundamentally, we’ll have to reorganise around pretty much everything, especially work. And you mentioned AI. AI is clearly going to have a massive impact on the world of work. Machines are going to be better. We know these machines are better at doing things than we are. That’s why we build them in the first place. And thinking of machines, as some people call these AI machines are going to be able to scour much more data than we can ever consume as humans.

They’re going to be able to compute at a much faster rate. And already we can as humans. They’re going to be able to organise themselves. And so this is a profound shift. And one of the things that really made me sit up and take notice of AI was when somebody said, “you can think about the impact that AI will have on the world, in the same way as the impact that electricity had on the world. So it’s not something that’s just going to apply to a few niche areas and jobs and vertical industries. It’s going to change absolutely everything. And so that’s kind of a lot to get your head around.”

One of the reactions that we’re seeing is this shift to thinking about humanity. Like if we can’t calculate as fast as this machine, if we can’t consume data as fast as this machine and we can’t make connections and learn as a cohesive unit the machines can, what can we do? Where is our strength and where does our advantage lie? And this is what gives me a lot of hope, at the moment the answers to these questions all lie in our very humanity. And I think the interesting work that’s going on today is kind of focused around that. And I can see it large even in the corporate world where I hang out.

And then let’s just talk a little bit about 2020. When I started this project, my mission was to disrupt the industry that I just spent 30 working years working in because I felt that we weren’t moving fast enough to help all the people that needed to be helped. And I felt that our practice was out of date 100 years old, moving people into training courses, and telling them what to do, and then sending them out and expecting them to do it. You know, this was the work of the early 1900s.

And we haven’t really moved beyond. And so I had this notion that we needed a new learning science that helps people be really effective learners based on progress that we’ve made in a number of different scientists in scientific disciplines. And I wrote this little book,which was the kind of me getting my thoughts together around the whole project. And it was called a Learning Disruptors Handbook. It was going to be like an album by The Clash and it was gonna be a call to action and to tell people how they were wasting their time. And then along came more disruption than I could have possibly imagined in the form of the global pandemic.

And this has been the most disruptive action of my life and probably my generation, and probably this era. And all kinds of amazing things have happened. And we all sat here with our heads spinning, figuring out what if this is going to be permanent? And what’s gonna happen afterwards? How do we build back better to use one phrase? Or, how do we get back to the new normal to use another phrase. So disruption, whereas my call to action was to disrupt yourself, my thinking has evolved. And my call to action is, rebuild yourself. Rebuild yourself thoughtfully and carefully with technology but with humanity at the core.

So I’ll give you one really simple kind of frame around this that I’ve used for many years. For 20 years, I was an evangelist for the kind of technology that you and I are using today. This was my world. Of course you can use technology to teach people to be more effective in their workplace. That was my job. And we experimented with all kinds of things. And we evangelised elearning, and we evangelised digital learning, and we evangelised global cohort programmes. And we did some really interesting experiments. The next thing you know, the evangelism job is done because people have no choice. And the only way to operate now is through this kind of technology through digital interactions. And so the job becomes different.

The job now becomes not how do we force everyone to use this slightly annoying technology? But how do we make it more human? How do we make it better? How do we take away the tyranny of Zoom fatigue? And how do we find technologies that bring back serendipity and bring back more effective collaboration and bring back happenstance, and bring back the hug, so to speak? And we will (as we know this is what humans do) build better tools. But that’s the new job. And we have the opportunity through this disruption to reset the agenda. Whether we’ll take it or not remains to be the big question.

But I think all of us have the opportunity, especially now to think ( as this comes back, as the world opens up in the great work of science and vaccines saves us from the brink) what we want it to be like. Let’s make this a deliberate, thoughtful choice. And let’s write about some of the wrongs that may have happened in the past. Let’s be deliberate. And so that makes this a really, really exciting time and I want to double down and do better work.

Katherine Ann Byam  24:52  

To touch on the point about technology. The technology is already there and developing even further for us to have a more intimate experience of this, right? So yeah, even with the screens or even the haptic suits or these types of things that are coming out. So I’m sure that this will improve with technology. But I guess one of my questions remains which is, are we accelerating at a pace that we can no longer continue in our current state? Chris answers this question in part two of this episode.

 

Shownotes (Part 2) 

Katherine Ann Byam  0:01  

This is Part 2 of a two-part episode. Please be sure to listen to Part 1 before getting into this one.

Are we accelerating at a pace that we can no longer continue in our current state, – so we can no longer continue with technology external to ourselves and, do we need to internalise technology in some form or fashion to continue to keep this pace? Or is there another shift?

Chris Pirie  1:55  

Hmm. Are you talking about the sort of and so on and so forth?

Yeah, the book “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” are really scary future models there. The ideas are really powerful. So computers are an extension of ourselves that enable us to do extraordinary things. They enable you and either chat across continents and then share that with other people. I mean, it’s extraordinary. And that is an extension of ourselves. And there’s also a branch of this where we change our physicality through drugs and through technologies of one sort.

The book, “Homo Deus” really does a nice job of playing out what that might look like. I did some research. It turns out that one in four kids in North America is regularly using some sort of behaviour modification drug. I mean these are not recreational drugs – these ADD medicines, and so on, and so forth. Actually, we are starting to use pharmacology to be more effective, not just in sports, but in learning as well. And that’s clearly going to be a force and an interesting one and one that I think is going to be hard and take some time for us to get our head around. I would say before we do that… before we change our physicality, there is a lot of work that we need to do. And there’s a lot of great work going on around what I call sort of collectively learning science.

 And there’s always been a good, well-documented 100-year history of people trying to understand how learning works and pedagogical models have come out of that work. But we seem to be at a point in history where a lot of progress is getting made on a couple of fronts. And I talked about four things – I’ve talked about computer science. So computers will help us learn and they will help us learn not by just delivering content to us, but by actually taking off some of the burdens of learning, right? So, for example, you used to have to memorise a lot of things to be good at anything. Well, you don’t really need to do that anymore because computers can do that much, much better.

You can focus your learning time on more conceptual things. One example, so computer science is going to help us be better learners. And we should be all over that. The second area is neuroscience or brain science in general. And there’s a lot of subcategories of that where people are really starting to understand in a lot more detail how the brain works, how cognition works, how plasticity brain works which is sort of magic kind of essential attribute that humans have that is extraordinary and allows us to be so adaptable.

People are really understanding that at the chemistry level, and in sort of behavioural terms as well. So then you’ve got sort of behavioural science and social sciences that are really understanding one very important piece of learning. Perhaps the most important piece of learning, which is motivation and how you get people’s attention. Because it turns out that once you’re an adult, if you want to learn something new when you want to unlock your brain plasticity, it’s really hard work. And you need to be highly motivated to do it. I think we all know this from our own experience.

And some, a lot of adult educators are in the business of motivation. I had a great conversation with a guy from a language learning company in Germany. It’s one of my favourite episodes. And he just talks about the 5 million people who are learning together on their platform and what that allows them to do is to watch the behaviour, like what time of day do successful learners study, and what their study patterns look like, did they do a little bit, and often do they go deep? So we now have these kinds of laboratories, whether it’s in a MOOC context or in a language learning context where you have millions and millions of people doing learning behaviours that we can observe in different kinds of ways.

 I think this is going to unlock all kinds of techniques and tips and hints on how to be an effective learner. And then we’ve got this extraordinary work that’s going on in terms of human motivation. This is related to what you mentioned in the sort of pre-read that you sent me a little bit about the inequities of wealth distribution, and what’s going on with technology companies that are becoming so powerful in our world. We all use Facebook as everybody does as one example of that but there are many others. Really, what these companies are figuring out is how to get human attention.

 They are really, as we say, monetizing eyeballs, and monetizing clicks. And this is really all about the attention economy, right? Getting your attention on whatever they can monetize, is kind of huge, and it’s happening in a very disciplined, thoughtful way. And it’s using what we’re learning about the brain and human motivation to make it work. And we need to co-opt that. We need to co-opt that approach to help people be more effective learners, and to get people thinking about the right kind of problems. So that’s the amazing sort of macro forces at work in our world today. And then the last thing I’ll say about this is the most recent piece of work that I’ve done, I’ve done in collaboration with some people at Red Thread Research.

And we’ve just finished a podcast season on the topic of Purpose. And purpose, it turns out, is attention. It’s about human attention. And the people that we meet, and the people that I’ve met on my entire sort of journey through podcasting and research, the people who are successful and the people who are doing interesting things are the people who are purpose-driven. And I really tried to understand that. And I think it lies somewhere in the area of people with purpose and are highly-motivated. And people who are highly-motivated are really effective learners.

 They know that to get the job done, they’re going to have to steal ideas, they’re going to have to learn what they can, they’re going to use what they have, they’re going to be clear on what the problem is, and they just get to be very, very effective people in their domain and in their sphere. So I’m very hopeful that this work on purpose and the trend towards purpose-driven organisations, whether in the international aid sector or the private sector is going to be helpful. 

Katherine Ann Byam  9:05  

It sounds as if purpose is also akin to innovation in the work that you’re doing. 

Chris Pirie  9:10  

Yeah. I think that’s interesting. When I think about innovation, I think a lot about experimentation. And I love experimentation. It turns out that one observation from the companies that I’ve worked with in 2020 is that the ones that were very open to experimenting before the pandemic and the crisis were the ones that were able to adapt very, very quickly. Because I think experimentation is part of this mindset shift – this growth mindset idea that says being open to new ideas, being curious, being focused on solving the problem, rather than leveraging whatever is you have – seems to lead to sort of greater success and more agility. So yeah, I think experimentation and innovation go hand in hand. 

Katherine Ann Byam  10:04  

Yeah. My final question is if you can tell our listeners a little bit about Humentum and that organisation that you have founded. 

Chris Pirie  10:12  

Yeah. Well, just to be clear, I was on the founding board. I was the board member of one of the component pieces. We brought three organisations together to form Humentum. And there are wonderful people working at Humentum. The predecessor organisations that do all the work but I got inspired to be part of that. Humentum is a membership organisation. There’s 300 organisations that work in the international aid space. So you can think about all the big charities and organisations that are doing international development and so it’s hard. It’s a sort of consortium model.

There are some things to do that are hard that we can’t afford to invest in and so let’s, let’s collaborate, let’s come together and solve these problems sort of collectively. And it’s focused on the really common fundamental problems that all these organisations have – How do we get our people well trained? How do we build capacity in the places where we do our work? How do we operate with transparency and integrity in a very highly regulated financial environment? How do we advocate for sets of standards that will make our work more effective, and so on, and so forth. So I love that it’s collaborative.

 I got involved because of the learning aspects of the work they do – training and educating people, building skills, standards, building capacity where it’s needed in the global south. It struck me that some of my experience with technology and learning might help. But I love the work that these guys do. I love that they came together – three separate organisations put their egos aside and formed this “better together” organisation and they do great work. And if you have something to contribute – projects, dollars expertise, then go check out humentum.org and see their work and they’re doing good stuff on they’re really poised to have even more impact. 

Katherine Ann Byam  12:34  

Wonderful. So in closing, what would you like my listeners to follow about you? Is it the podcast which I would absolutely recommend?  Is there something else that you’d like them to download?

Chris Pirie  12:47  

Yeah, so So I would say go to www.learningisthenewworking.org. And you can listen to some of the amazing conversations that we’ve been able to have, and more importantly, you can suggest people that we should talk to – people who are doing interesting things around the future of work or learning at work or in the international aid space. We are really always interested in talking to people who’ve had some sort of breakthrough or doing interesting work. So please go check it out. And I hope you enjoy it. 

Katherine Ann Byam  13:22  

Thanks for joining me, Chris. It’s been a pleasure. 

Chris Pirie  13:24  

Yeah, great. Thanks so much. Nice to talk to you.

Katherine Ann Byam  13:29  

Thanks for listening. This podcast was brought to you today by career sketching with Katherine Ann Byam and the space where ideas launch. Career sketching is a leadership development and coaching brand offering personalised career transition and transformation services. This space where ideas launch offers high performance, leadership, coaching and strategy facilitation to businesses and the food and health sectors. To find out more, contact Katherine Ann Byam on LinkedIn