News story

Embracing external insights to drive change

London, UKLearning Ltd

In his next webinar looking at organizational learning, Dr Nigel Paine will be joined by Procter and Gamble CLO Dr Anne Schulte to explore how organizations can embrace external insights to drive change.


Start-ups are brilliant at constantly scanning the external environment, soaking up insights and information, and turning it to their advantage, says Paine. What’s trending in the market? What are our customers saying? Competitors doing? What innovations are coming down the line? What does this mean for us and how can we respond? And so on. 

This worldview (aka culture) is about being plugged into what’s happening in the world and with customers. Start-ups seek out and embrace the insights that enable them to pivot and drive change. It’s what makes start-ups so agile, innovative, and able to identify and solve customer challenges. 

Bigger, more established players should be doing this as well, but on the whole, they don’t. Most do the exact opposite. They are insular. And the focus is on doing more of the same (what made them successful), rather than thinking about what could be done differently (to make them successful in the future). This focus on maintaining the status quo means organizations get stuck in yesterday’s thinking. They start to lose relevance and competitive edge. It doesn’t take long to become a dinosaur in the current environment. 

Unfortunately, many big companies suffer from a superiority complex, assuming they know best. They even know their customers and their customers’ challenges better than the customers themselves. The bigger the company, the bigger the complex. 

Paine comments, “When I talk about organizational learning, I talk about connecting people and building really good spaces for those connections inside the organization, testing and measuring insights and knowledge and flourishing around ideas and connecting ideas. And that gives almost an impression that this is entirely something that occurs inside the organization. And it's not true; a lot of stuff has to be relevant, and it has to resonate inside the organization. But to really understand what is going on in the world, you need to connect the inside to the outside."

And big organizations construct barriers. They prevent information from getting out or getting in. In today’s fast-moving world, that’s a fatal error. Agility is everything now and to be agile, you have to be responsive, and you have to have your ear to the ground. You have to be plugged into that external world, listening to what customers and competitors are saying. Organizations that don’t keep abreast of change and aren’t willing to change risk obsolescence because ideas, processes, systems, products and tech date very quickly now, he says. 

Webinar guest speaker Dr Anne Schulte, Chief Learning Officer, Procter and Gamble, will be sharing how the global consumer goods giant gathers external insights and how these help shape both the organisational strategy and the way the L&D team supports that strategy.

Schulte says, "We define strategy as an integrated set of choices which positions the firm in its industry to create sustainable competitive advantage and superior financial returns, relative to its peer group.  To do this requires exceptional intelligence from outside the organization – including evidence-based insights about consumers, competitors, emerging technologies, and market forces.  …My role as CLO is to help identify and embed the skills and capabilities necessary to deliver on the selected strategies."

The webinar will cover:  

  • how to ramp up curiosity so people will want to explore new possibilities
  • how to create the space and time for this to happen
  • how to build the forums where this information can be processed
  • how to take intelligent decisions quickly and effectively based on this data.

 Register for the webinar on 7 March.