I have a confession, I’m playing hooky. I’m in the Press Room hanging out with the biscuits and cake. Where it all started for me yesterday morning. I should be in a session on Curating Knowledge. I’m sure it is excellent, but I need to be here. I need some Kairos time. Today has been frenetic, starting with my Ignite presentation on Social Learning, followed by recording a podcast with the ever impressive Caroline Walmsley of Brightwave. Then so many great conversations, great people, great sessions. Such energy, such buzz, such fun. I seriously feel like I could explode with a plethora of emotions at this very moment. CIPD what have you pulled off here? CIPD what have you done to me?

Let’s get a few things clear, I am not paid staff. These are my authentic emotions, not bought ones. Well, I guess I did get lunch, so it could be the cake talking. And I am a member of CIPD who has been working on the L&D Qualifications, however my part of the project has ended. I am here simply as L&D Director of Kairos Modern Learning. Yet I astonished how I am so bursting with happiness and pride at being part of this event, the L&D Show. At being part of this institute, CIPD. I have a thousand ideas floating through my head due to all the experiences I have been exposed to, I cannot really understand any of them in this moment. I have always called this type of event Injection Education, and I certainly feel like I’ve been injected with a variety of learning experience drugs. So I’m sleeping it off by writing in the Press Room.

Kairos time. Time out to reflect. To gather thoughts. To ground myself. To unwind. It is only in these moments that any real learning takes place. If we keep up with the frantic pace of the buzz we will struggle to recall anything in our edu-drug induced coma. I fully recommend taking time out once you have been in a busy frenetic situation. I’m not the only one, I’ve a photo somewhere of a slide when someone somewhere at this event talked about looking after yourself first. Give me a minute and I’ll remember.

There is an infectious buzz about Olympia at the moment. I have heard that word over and over, buzz – it is literally a buzzword, ha ha – forgive me, I am edu-drug comatosed! If modern learning is fast paced, there is no doubt that the L&D Show is riding the crest of that wave. I love this stuff. I feed off the energy of this stuff. So if I’m an advocate and I’m edu-drugged out, how off putting must it be for those on the edges of the modern learning arena? Is it all a bit too much? These comments are in no way a criticism, simply a reflection, as is always my focus, on those who need support and guidance to move away from traditional methods.

I would start with looking at WWW and EBI. I talked briefly (as is the format) on these in my ignite this morning; What Went Well & Even Better If. They are two terms regularly used in schools today. As I’m so buzzy write (sic) now I’m keen to share the WWW so far.

For me the overriding successes have been conversations with fabulous, energizing, intelligent, warm hearted people. I have walked the exhibition floor and enjoyed immensely bumping into friends old and new, hearing of innovation, of excitement, of technology. The free 30 minute seminars are just the perfect length to raise a topic or issue and provide some solutions around that. EBI the presenters don’t try to sell you anything – though I guess they are free seminars after all. There is no doubt that the networking benefits of a conference are immense.

Another major success of the event has been the Ignites. Yesterday in the Leaders in Learning sessions we saw Martin Couzins, Julian Stodd and Barbara Thompson look at What L&D innovation should be on your agenda? Such an innovative format for a traditional conference. There were no chairs, there were three fast paced presentations by experts, there were flipcharts, there was people talking to people about topics they were interested in and had questions to be answered about. Brilliant. I love Andy Lancaster for bringing this kind of innovation to the institute. I did tell him yesterday though, don’t rest on your laurels, time for a new format at ACE! Keep that innovation train on the tracks.

As I reflect now, the question of innovation is an interesting one for an institute to put out there. There is the sense that they should represent their members in entirety, and let’s face it many members are perhaps not ready for the innovation of Leaders in Learning or Ignite presentations. In his Ignite session Martin Couzins talked about status quo and liking the status quo. Status Quo (the situation not the band) is a comforting place to be, said Martin. And he is right. It is hard to change, to push ourselves. It is also tiring. I am tired – and I love all this stuff! But hey, anything worthy is always hard work. It is clear from the L&D Show and other recent developments within the CIPD, they far from tired. The institute, your institute, my institute is relishing in the changes and hungry for more. So innovation perhaps sees them not reflecting their members who are often not so embracing of change, who are happy in their status quo.  And for my money, that is exactly where the CIPD should be. They should be leading their members in change, not simply sticking with what we all know. They should be showing the way, helping members through the new ways, and representing how their members should be in this new L&D world order we find ourselves in. The world of work is rapidly evolving. It is a scary and frightening place, and if our own institute cannot ready us and steady us for this, who can, because we certainly cannot do it alone.

So here I am having taken some time, having sat and written – I find it relaxing, organising, and cathartic. You may not, so find your own escape for your Kairos time. Other than now yawning because my tired busy body is thinking she sat down for half an hour, it must be bedtime, I am ready. I am ready to go back out there and absorb some more injections. It is so important you give yourself and your employees a chance to reflect.  I will be doing a lot of it over the coming days and weeks about this buzzy igniting few days at the L&D Show.