“There Is No Crisis in Learning”

This article was updated: August 2, 2017

How Corporations Can Learn from the Astounding Success of Engaged Learners in Developing Countries

Interview with Chris Proulx, CEO of LINGOs and speaker at Speexx Exchange in Berlin.

Chris Proulx leads a global team and network of social and private sector organizations seeking new and innovative models for learning and professional development within constraints in the NGO and social sector; quite literally delivering learning to those doing the hardest work in the hardest to reach places on Earth. The LINGOs development network reaches no less than 50,000 learners in over 100 countries each year, of which 80% are developing countries. The tools LINGOs and its partners teach and develop enable these learners to reach their local communities.

Constraints Engage People and Drive Creativity

The anecdotes he describes during this interview depict a contrast with the landscape of learning within the more developed part of the world, but do not evoke the sorrowful and crisis inflicted image of circumstances you might expect. On the contrary.

“The example of a project we ran in Zimbabwe for instance, paints an inspiring picture of how exponential the effect of training can be because our training programme surpasses the definition of individual staff development.” Chris points out. “In this project, we trained an international NGO who then trained their local NGO partner and successfully certified Project Managers. That’s great—the exciting part is that the new Project Managers so successfully engaged with the tools and knowledge acquired that they shared and transferred their expertise to the citizens of their local communities.”

“We received e-mails from members of the communities who did not actually formally participate in the program, but we were using the PM tools to lead projects in their own village.”

Don´t Be Tempted by the Shiny Object

Chris comes from a background of structured and formal organizations within Higher Education. The grass-roots and bottom up systematic that the works at LINGOs may provide thought-provoking ideas on how corporations can learn from their peers who work in environments with constraints. “It is easy to be tempted by the shiny object when you can afford it. But we should not overbuild solutions just because we can. The constraints in areas such as Syria, Haiti, the Philippines or within a project such as empowering refugee camp workers to become effective managers, these [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]constraints drive creativity[/clickandtweet]. These projects pose questions that require a simple and cost effective solution—not a bright and shiny object. How can that thinking be applied within all our organizations?”

Chris was speaker at the 2016 Speexx Exchange in Berlin, an HR peer conference on Digital Transformation in HR and L&D. The topic of his presentation was ´Developing Talent in the Hardest to Work Places´.

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