Things are off to a great start here at the Spring Chief Learning Officer Symposium in Laguna Beach, Calif.
The three-and-a-half-day-long event kicked off Sunday night with a black tie event to honor the companies that have been named to the CLO LearningElite. Accenture took home the top prize this year. The location for the awards Gala was perched atop a 150-foot cliff at the Ritz-Carlton overlooking the Pacific Ocean – a fitting scene for 60 companies with top learning programs.
It is the 10-year anniversary of the CLO Symposium.
Monday morning brought a panel discussion with the top five 2014 LearningElite organizations. Over breakfast, Symposium attendees listened to executives from Accenture, Procter & Gamble, Vanguard, McDonald’s and IBM discuss their strategies to navigate the changing landscape of learning culture today.
The first keynote address was delivered by Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.” Berger spoke about why ideas, products and content go viral and offered ideas to help learning leaders spread information within their organizations.
The big question for CLOs trying to spread information is how does somebody design messages to spread from person to person like a virus? The answer, he said, lies in making messages “tastier.” Berger used an uncooked head of broccoli and a cheeseburger to make his point. Clearly, a head of broccoli has a great deal of nutritional value, but most people would prefer to eat a cheeseburger.
“Some things are just tastier than others; certain things are more appealing,” he said. “Unless our messages are designed to be tasty, they’re unlikely to catch on.”
The rest of Monday consisted of another panel discussion – covering topics such as what it takes for a company to find its next CLO, as well as what the next 10 years will hold for learning culture – and workshops with industry leaders.
Sunday and Monday have given the first Symposium of the year a great start, and I’m sure the next two days will be just as successful. I’m looking forward to them.