Imagine you had the opportunity to design a conference from scratch, without ever having attended a conference in the past, without knowledge of what a conference actually is, without a clue as to what the expectations are of attendees at <ahem> the conference. What would you do? This is the challenge I’m putting out to CLO Magazine, and obviously by association, the CLO Symposium organizers for their 2010 event. At the 2009 CLO Symposium in Colorado Springs, there are good things to report back with. There was no talk of corporate universities, competencies, Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation, ADDIE and thus instructional design, or ILT / classroom training for the most part. Hallelujah. The discussions focused almost entirely on the ‘coming out party’ of informal and social learning, along with pertinent leadership opportunities for a flat-based connected workforce. It was fabulous, and I really enjoyed my time throughout the two days. (kudos to Cushing Anderson’s birds of a feather session – very engaging and interactive) Now, the challenge for CLO Magazine the next time the conference is in the planning stages. In 2010, I’d like you to ensure every speaker (be it keynote or breakout) follow the guideline presented below: In a world that is rapidly augmenting an all Instructor-Led (sage on the stage) approach to learning in favour of formal, informal and social learning concepts, why can’t the CLO Symposium adopt this model for the conference itself? A perfect example in 2009 was the keynote presentation delivered by Ted Hoff, VP of L&D at IBM. Whether on purpose or not, Ted spoke for roughly 20 minutes and the entire audience then became engaged in an interactive question and answer forum thereafter (and for roughly 30 minutes) that complimented his initial thoughts, and introduced new ones for everyone. In a nutshell … it was spectacular. Imagine if every session was delivered this way. We, the attendees, would be able to engage in such rich and detailed collaborative dialogue (facilitated by the ‘speaker’) that our proverbial socks would be knocked off. Let’s drive towards this model for 2010 and act as ambassadors of an informal and social strategy, using the CLO Symposium as but one of many examples we should be employing as leaders. (and I hope attendees are more versed in Twitter – or another micro-blogging tool – next year, because that needs to become a firm social learning extension of the CLO Symposium as well)


Find out if you’re currently blooming, budding, stunted or in need of renewal through the Work-Life Bloom Personal Assessment.



  • Dan is a conference organizer’s ideal speaker. Not only did he inspire and energize our group, but he also masterfully adapted his content so it resonated with the audience and our conference theme. As a bonus, Dan is able to nimbly navigate to adjust to a reduced time slot when other speakers went over time without sacrificing the impact of his session.

    Director and General Counsel
  • Dan accomplished what we set out to do, which was not only to be inspirational, but also to leave everyone with tools and food for thought / self-reflection to improve their personal and professional lives.

    Hermann Handa, FCT
  • Dan challenged us to have clarity of purpose, both as individuals and as an organization. He related inspiring stories drawing on his experience in business, technology and academia. As he said, ‘There is no ownership without belonging.’

    Christian Pantel, D2L
  • Dan Pontefract suggests leaders must be transformational and transactional, collaborative and considerate, daring and decisive, inclusive and insistent, playful and formal, harmonious, and humble, encouraging and results-driven. In a word, Flat.

    Robert Morris
    “How to strengthen engagement, empowerment, and execution, then leverage them for a decisive competitive advantage”

Media Appearances

sidebar hashtag menu home office pencil images camera headphones music video-camera bullhorn connection mic book books file-empty files-empty folder folder-open price-tag barcode qrcode cart coin-dollar coin-euro mobile user users user-plus user-minus key lock unlocked glass mug spoon-knife fire bin switch cloud-download cloud-upload bookmark star-empty star-half star-full play pause stop backward forward first last previous next eject volume-high volume-medium volume-low volume-mute amazon google whatsapp twitter dribbble behance behance-black github appleinc finder windows8 skype pinterest pinterest-o chrome firefox edge safari opera file-pdf file-word file-excel html-five asterisk search search-plus search-minus cog arrow-circle-o-down arrow-circle-o-up edit share-square-o check-square-o arrows question-circle arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down mail-forward expand compress eye eye-slash comment twitter-square facebook-square camera-retro cogs comments thumbs-o-up thumbs-o-down sign-out linkedin-square external-link sign-in unlock feed bell-o arrow-circle-left arrow-circle-right arrow-circle-up arrow-circle-down globe filter arrows-alt link paperclip bars envelope linkedin rotate-left bell angle-left angle-right angle-up angle-down desktop mail-reply mail-reply-all chain-broken chevron-circle-left chevron-circle-right chevron-circle-up chevron-circle-down html5 unlock-alt youtube-square youtube-play dropbox stack-overflow apple windows trello female male arrow-circle-o-right arrow-circle-o-left wordpress file-image-o paper-plane paper-plane-o share-alt cc-visa cc-paypal cc-stripe bell-slash bell-slash-o facebook-official trademark registered wikipedia-w question-circle-o