Geoff Glover – L&D from transactional to strategic

We were very pleased to welcome Geoff Glover for our November Lunchtime Seminar. Geoff is a HR leader with 32 years experience and has held senior positions in both Ford and Volvo automotive. Currently Geoff lectures in Human Resource Management at Southampton Solent University.

Geoff’s presentation kicked off referring to various forces that are currently conspiring to leave HR/L&D functions “in a state of flux”.

Organisations in the global economy are feeling like they must push for double-digit productivity to stay competitive. To achieve this they seek to develop high performing teams, both by bringing on board real talent, but also developing that talent as extensively as they can. In turn this means organisations face competition not only for business, but also for talent from around the globe. In certain competences a global labour market is emerging with real talent having more opportunities than ever before.
In addition, contemporary employees are looking for different employment experiences and different types of reward, including flexible working hours, potential to work from home, increased development opportunities, being part of enterprises which offer social purpose and meaning at work.
The contemporary employee has also abandoned ideas of employment security preferring to build their personal brand and create value in themselves as assets. Geoff refers to the task of smart employers in this situation to accept that an employee may well only stay for three years. The smart employer will ensure they benefit from the three years, with a cycle of ‘student-teacher-sharer’ to ensure the tacit knowledge is captured during the period, and bid farewell to an alumni/ambassador for the firm when they do leave.
The picture is not made any more stable by the current change in demographics, the baby-boomer generation are just hitting retirement age, taking their knowledge with them and this is leaving talent shortages. In terms of bringing this in to focus Geoff shared the statistic that 75% of engineers in the nuclear sector are likely to retire in the next decade, against a backdrop (in Europe and the US) of declining birth rate. Geoff further demonstrated the development through the story of the increase need for engineers the Volvo Car Corporation had, when he worked there. With only 50,000 engineers a year entering the Swedish labour market and many times this leaving the market due to retirement, it was clear that Volvo would have to look outside of the traditional recruitment pool from Universities in the West of Sweden.Looking outside of Sweden they found competition not only from other companies but also from countries like Germany, the UK, Hungary etc for that engineering talent.

Globalisation also brings with it the need to deal with constant and rapid change, an aspect that has all to clear an implication for HR and L&D. To achieve this Geoff refers to the need to create “Work Societies” where there is collaboration and the ability to look without and within for solutions. This is an area where tapping in to social media and big data can assist in providing solutions. The idea being that the company migrates from a scenario of Transactional Learning Responses to an organisation of transformation and change that has values embedded in it and shared throughout the organisation.
In a functional organisation of transformation and change the values are supported by recognition and validation assessment more than by counting or summative assessment, these activities are supported by the organisation through activities such as providing enabling infrastructure and encouraging collaboration through partnerships.

Returning to collaboration brings Geoff on to his proposal in relation to investment efficiency in lifelong and lifewide learning. Geoff believes that with some joined up thinking between Schools, Industry and the Government (with regards to the training of the unemployed) training and education could be tailored to provide talent pools for regions that are not just trained for employment but exemplars of the talents required. This approach avoids inefficient spend and overlap among institutions and supports a region in it`s economic and social development.

Geoff is most definitely a HR professional with a social conscience and we were very pleased to have him speak at what we hope is just the beginning of his collaboration with the Learnovate Centre.

Learnovate @ The National Innovation Showcase

Learnovate along with 37 other research centres will be showcasing on December the 2nd at the Dublin Convention Centre. The national Innovation Showcase is an ideal networking opportunity for companies in Ireland that want to learn more about collaborative research, development and innovation. This is the first gathering, in one location, of all State-supported research centres and technology centres of scale.

Delivering excellent scientific research and game-changing technologies to companies in Ireland, representatives from each of the 38 centres will be joined by officials from State agencies and Higher Education Institutes that can facilitate and fund innovation in companies.

If you are a business person, researcher, investor, or simply interested in hearing about new trends in innovation, then this event is a MUST for you.

There is no attendance fee and we strongly recommend that you bring lots of business cards as there will be plenty of networking opportunities with both academic research teams, industry partners of the centres and State agencies supporting collaborative R&D.

Lynda Donovan – City & Guilds Kineo Interview

On the 29th of January Learnovate’s Lynda Donovan will present at Learning Technologies. Ahead of the event Learnovate members City & Guilds Kineo interviewed Lynda to provide some insights on “Getting Gaming Right”, you can read the interview here.

Learnovate Lunchtime Series: Business through Research – European funding opportunities

Continuing from last month’s seminar on the SME Instrument in Horizon 2020 we were very happy to welcome Jill Leonard, Enterprise Ireland’s National Contact Point for SMEs in Innovation.

The theme this month was to look at different ways SMEs can engage with aspects of the pan European Horizon 2020 research programme, either to gain business or to apply for funding to fund innovation projects. Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with in excess of €80 billion available over the next seven years. One of the most significant changes in H2020 from previous initiatives is the commitment to involve industry and specifically SMEs.

The seminar was very lively and created a lot of interest among the members in attendance, the follow up from the meeting is to engage with Jill directly and her business card was in high demand at the end.

I took away from the session that there are four distinct opportunities for SMEs to engage with H2020 and a fifth directly from Enterprise Ireland.

1. Get involved in collaborative projects where you can participate as a provider. Academic institutions will lead the majority of H2020 projects but most of them will have a requirement for commercial services to deliver on their project, and corporate involvement is actively encouraged.
To explore opportunities the portal site has a partner search where SMEs can submit the services they offer and also search for projects where they might be able to bring value through their services. Jill also told us that there are events hosted around Europe where interested companies can meet and potentially get involved with projects. The research projects fall under three main pillars of research; Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges. Do not let the pillars be a distraction, any initiative in any of these areas can have a teaching and learning aspect and require digital technologies to assist. The main site for getting involved is

2. Fast Track to Innovation is a new initiative launching in January 2015. The initiative is H2020 pushing the industry agenda even further. The project has no pillars of research and allows industry to decide the direction of innovation with a focus on expected economic impact. The call looks to match industry partners, again SMEs are encouraged to get involved, from a minimum of three EC countries. Funding is expected to be in the region of €2 million per project.

3. The third is the SME Instrument which is a fund targeting SMEs to carry out their own innovation projects and is detailed in last month’s lunchtime session.

4. The final H2020 opportunity is an easy way to start and get familiar with the H2020 environment and process. You can put yourself forward as an expert, in this role you will be tasked with evaluating proposal submissions from other organisations or to monitor the progress of on-going projects. You will be paid a modest amount for participating but it is an invaluable way of gaining experience and familiarising yourself with people and processes within H2020.

5. As I mentioned the final initiative is from Enterprise Ireland and is an Innovation Voucher focused on H2020. The value is the familiar €5,000 Innovation Voucher sum. It is a pilot scheme running from September 2014 for six months. Eligible activities include:
• Analysis of how similar companies have benefited from participation in collaborative R&D programmes such as Framework Programme 7
• Proposal preparation
• Partner search and due diligence
Companies that have participated in European Framework Programme (FP7) projects are not eligible to apply for an Innovation Voucher. Companies can only apply for one of these standard €5,000 vouchers during the pilot call.

Note all H2020 projects do carry an element of matched funding, for example 70/30, but at least some of the matched can be made up in kind.

If you are interested in any or all of the above initiatives Jill says there is a small step to be taken on-line taking just a few minutes. You need to create an account with the European Commission Authentication Service (ECAS),
Following registration you will receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC). The PIC code is required in all submissions to the Commission.

Jill is also happy to talk to any member who is interested in pursuing opportunities in H2020, you can contact her at: