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It’s all about me Age and education

67, educated at The King’s School in Sydney, and then at the Universities of Sydney, Southampton, and the University of New South Wales


Married with three grown-up children


Winchester (mostly), but being Australian-born I also travel there regularly. I recently calculated that I’ve flown the London-

Sydney-London route more than 35 times!

detailed process steps well before rollout of a new system, or away from the context of use, was unlikely to prepare them for the change. In other words, it was likely to be a waste of time and money. Incidentally, the project manager was in Geneva, I was in London, and the senior managers were in New York so the conversation and interaction was somewhat limited by the technology. At the end of the presentation one of the senior managers asked “so when will the real training happen, then?”. It was a total heart-sink moment. Tis individual had made up his mind that training was

Learning is part of the solution, but building engagement and alignment are equally, if not more, important for change

the only possible answer and nothing was going to change it, no matter how much evidence was put in front of him! I’ve had some wonderful high points in my career. Working with, and learning from, some interesting and talented people certainly sits on the summit. I feel truly honoured to have been called a colleague by them. I’ve learnt more from conversations with them than from almost anything else. Apart from the highs through

working with good people, the KMPG award for the ‘1995 Innovation of the Year’, which I received together with Hobbies

I learnt to play guitar when I was 13 years old. Collecting and

the Dean of Southampton Business School for the world’s first online MBA programme was another high point. As were both the World of Learning’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Learning Industry’ award in 2008 and the Learning and Performance Institute’s ‘Colin Corder’ award in 2011.

What and when was your career turning point?

Tere’s no doubt that the computer and communications revolution that took off in the late 1970s disrupted my career and put me on a new and exciting path. Without having had an opportunity to participate in some early technology initiatives for educa- tion, I may have spent my entire career teaching physiology in classrooms. I still clearly remember some 'aha!'

moments that changed my thinking and my direction of travel. One was realising the true potential of learning through networks. Tis came about when I started running online courses for Open University academics and researchers in the early 1980s, helping them understand and use computer confer- encing systems for online learning. Another career turning point

happened for me in 2002, when Reuters gave me the opportunity to create a new learning strategy. It was clear to me that lots of time, effort and money was being spent on training with little to show for it, and that traditional training was rarely

playing stringed instruments has been a common theme throughout my life. I can still pick out a tune at a reasonable level. I’m also a very keen organic gardener. I enjoy the pleasure of fresh food that hasn’t been ‘messed with’ by chemicals or air miles.

Favourite place

South west Scotland, where we have a cottage in a little fishing village, and the far south coast of New South Wales where my father built a small house in the 1960s on a four-mile white sandy beach. Both are wonderful escape destinations for me.

Favourite book It’s difficult to select one, but

Arthur Koestler’s The Sleepwalkers has been a constant companion since my teenage years

Favourite music

The Blues has been my bedrock, together with Bob Dylan

Favourite movie Dersu Uzala directed by

Akira Kurosawa or almost anything directed by Werner Herzog


Apart from iPhone and iPad, my favourite technology is in the new generation of 35mm digital cameras. The quality and functionality of even a semi-pro Canon or Nikon is beyond what my Reuters colleagues could have dreamed of 20 years ago

 | December 2016 | 9

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