On Taking a Fresh Look


Here I am sitting at the international departure gate at Koh Samui airport. You might think from the photo that it was a lobby of a resort hotel. In fact, the whole airport has adopted the architectural metaphor of a resort. It’s a sprawling series of pavilions on one level, all rattan, pitched wooden roofs and open to the air, with lots of breezes floating through. It’s light, airy and welcoming. You can imagine how disconcerting it is to be standing in a line for immigration with orchids and koi ponds around you and not a solid wall in sight. It just goes to show how liberating it can be to deliberately drop a prevailing metaphor. Why should airports look like airports?

I have been here for the past two days (not long enough) for the NetDimensions Partner Conference, their annual event where they communicate, collaborate and learn with their elearning sales partners around the world. They had asked me to come here and discuss with their partners the implications of Enterprise 2.0 and emerging knowledge management trends for the traditional shape of elearning implementation in organisations. Which I did.

But I have been reflecting on how incredibly rewarding a conference can feel when people come to it with strong common ground already built; when you have a bunch of smart, switched-on people in the room, who brook no nonsense but are open minded, where everyone is focused on learning from each other, getting a clear understanding of important issues, being frank and open. And their willingness to question basic assumptions and deal with bigger and more complex issues than the next sale was not something I would necessarily have expected from people whose livelihoods is very much wrapped up in their sales ability. I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in the elearning space recently, but more of this kind of event could easily change my mind.

Full disclosure: I am proud to be a (very small) shareholder of NetDimensions, and they paid me to come here to Koh Samui, bless them – but they didn’t ask me to blog the event. As for the photo below, it rained this morning and this is the view from my room to the sea. Sigh. Not long enough, for Koh Samui or for the event itself.


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