Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Shared Academy

When I wrote the corporate universities chapter for CIPD’s Learning and Development subscription manual (published 2007, but no longer available), I wrote: “That is not to say that the corporate university (CU) is the sole preserve of the large corporation.  The larger the organisation, the easier it should be to establish a successful CU, but small-to-medium-sized organisations can also benefit from this sort of approach, and can also aspire to their own CU.  Where potential learner numbers are small, as with organisations employing fewer than 1000 people, then partnership working can help achieve the critical mass needed”.

In the six years since I wrote that, through a global recession, the argument has become more compelling.

In the same piece, I suggested “training vendors, or traditional universities, or economic development bodies, may be able to catalyse collaborations among geographical neighbours, companies in the same sectors, or organisations with similarities but no directly competing interests”.

This ought to be the way ahead, but catalysts are needed.

In a few weeks, I shall be acting as a catalyst and announcing a proof-of-concept project for a new academy based on a collaboration among like-minded organisations.  Among the benefits we anticipate are:
  • Better value support services for people development (directors, employees and volunteers).
  • Lower cost learning and development, through sharing resources with the other partners.
  • A marketplace to sell learning services devised by each partner to the other partners and to wider audiences (charitable, public and private).
  • A branded online learning platform at low cost.
  • A share in income from selling online services and spare places on courses to a wider audience.
I hope this academy will serve as an exemplar of what may be accomplished when organisations set aside their differences in favour of what they have in common, and create something of mutual value and benefit.  I hope to create a prototype of the Shared Academy, and to blog about the experience.

For further reading, see:
and two of the tools in my book 101 Learning & Development Tools