10L: Martin Couzins

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

About Martin

I worked for a business to business publisher for 17 years. That’s where I cut my teeth in journalism – everything from writing, editing, picture editing, managing teams, shifting to digital, community building, in-house learning, user experience, product development . . . the list goes on. Much of that time was spent working in the workplace space – HR, recruitment, learning and talent management. For the last 10 years I have run my own business with my other half. We specialise in content and communications.

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

Help organisations, teams and individuals tell their stories. I work mostly in the workplace space, specialising in corporate learning.

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?

Creating LearnPatch – a curation platform for learning and development, which I launched in early 2012. I thought it would be a good idea so asked a few people in the industry who also thought it was a good idea[RW1] . I have to give special mention to Kate Graham, who was very encouraging. That spurred me on to do it, and over time, I have met – and interviewed – so many interesting people, have made lots of friends and have established a presence (of sorts!) in the L&D industry. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed creating and facilitating the Barcamp events that run alongside the Learning Technologies conference. My work through LearnPatch introduced me to Nigel Paine and together we set up the From Scratch podcast more than six years ago. LearnPatch is an ongoing experiment powered by my interest and curiosity in learning. I have tried things out that have failed and have had some successes along the way. I’d still like to turn it into something that makes money but in the meantime I continue to enjoy trying things out, listening to and learning from the sector.

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

Stop relying on learning vernacular. Start talking about the value and impact of your work. This would really help the profession elevate itself in the eyes of its stakeholders.

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)?

People seem to care more about how you are and conversations around that seem to happen more easily.  More interest in others’ wellbeing is a really positive shift. Also, I think there is a huge opportunity to approach corporate learning differently as a result of the pandemic. I hope the industry seizes it.

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

I enjoyed meeting people in real life and am looking forward to doing more of that soon.

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 studied cultural studies at university and what I learned in my degree still informs my thinking today. In particular, how people are represented in the media and more broadly across cultural institutions such as museums and galleries. Because of this, I would borrow from the social sciences. When I say this, I mean any discipline that explores how societies and communities and individuals within them function. These factors play a role in how organisations function and how people function (and learn) within them.

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

Greta Thunberg, because climate change is the number one priority for all of us. Plus, Thunberg is an activist, which will help our team become more activist in the way we think and work. We need action on climate change, not just words. She also thinks differently, which would be very valuable too.

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

 . . . measured the garden post twice, then I would have cut it to the right length. Carpenters say measure twice, cut once. I measured once, cut once and the post was the wrong length. More cutting followed….

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

Phone.

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?

Where can we find you?

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