10L: Ross Garner

10L: A few simple questions about how leading professionals see their work.

About Ross:

Ross is Head of Learning Experience at Emerald Works, leading the team who create custom learning content for our clients. He also hosts The Good Practice Podcast.

So, what do you do dear?  Describe your work to an elderly relative.

I used to tell you I worked on a website, but you found that vague and suspicious. So let’s just say I make stuff to help people do their jobs.

What was your favourite learning experience (Could be work, personal, school…anything is valid)? What were you trying to do? Why did it work so well for you?

When I was studying my Masters in Digital Education, we were tasked with taking up a hobby and writing an essay on the learning process. I cheated slightly and resumed my fiddle lessons, but having to articulate the process of learning was incredibly valuable for thinking about how we learn. And I still play the fiddle today!

Enough already…What one thing do you wish people in your industry or profession would stop doing? (What gets your goat?)

Enough with the negativity. “X is a fad”, “That person sells snake oil”. It might be true, but we could spend more time focusing on sharing good practice (ahem – subscribe on iTunes) than tearing each other down.

Same again please…What has changed for the better in your professional world as a result of COVID working practices? Should it be retained for the future (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like)?

Emerald Works is a combination of three businesses: GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and Mind Tools, all owned by Emerald Publishing, then relaunched as one in 2020. That meant four geographic bases, with some inevitable tribalism. Having everyone work at home has helped drive a ‘one business’ approach – and I’m sure a lot of the new people we’ve hired during lockdown don’t give any thought to geography at all.

From the good old days…What do you miss most about working life from the pre-COVID world? Do you think it will return?

Travel, weirdly. I used to travel at least once a fortnight, and it was a big part of my social life.

Theft is the sincerest form of flattery…Which part of which other industry or profession do you think we should learn from and adopt (or just steal)?

I’ll go social science. Or, as they’re often referred to: Pffft, “social” science. But snark aside, we don’t spend enough time running experiments and sharing what works. I suspect this is because we’re worried about finding results, or the time involved, but the mindset of the social scientist is a useful way to take a measurable approach to problem solving. 

You know who would be great for this…Which famous person (live or historical) do you want to join your team and why?

Stephen Dubner, of the Freakonomics podcast. I think he’d find the work interesting, and I think he’d have good ideas.

If only I had…What did you learn from your most recent mistake?

Do not promise Myles Runham that you’ll meet a deadline for answering 10 questions (and be more vague about deadlines in general… what’s the real deadline, Myles?!)

There can be only one…Which one tool or piece of kit would you keep if you could only use one from now on?

Does everyone say their phone? I couldn’t get through the day without it…

The picture of success…Which image or picture is a good representation of how you would like to develop your practice over the next five years?

(it’s curious, collaborative, creative, and fun!)

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