Washington, May 2019 – the World's Largest Talent Development Conference, a three-day event hosted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), attracted some 11,000 people. Keynote speakers included celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Seth Godin. A multitude of international workshops enabled attendees to explore new topics and deepen their knowledge of others. In short, a superlative event – at which I had the privilege to host a joint session with my dear colleague Dr. Ina Weinbauer-Heidel. There were two things, however, that impressed me even more than the sheer size of the event or all the superstars.
Astounding range of expertise
Above all, I had the opportunity to meet a number of fascinating people at the ATD, and to listen to very inspiring speeches. A particular honor for me was personally meeting some of the great minds of transfer and impact theory, including Robert Brinkerhoff and Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick. As regards the field of participants, I was astounded by the wide range of expertise – which, in my view, just underlines the significance of the concepts and ideas that brought us all to Washington.
Another thing that impressed me deeply was the huge response that the topics of talent development and transfer effectiveness received from such a diverse and truly global group. It was an epic experience for me, both as an attendee and a speaker, and deeply gratifying. Ina and I had a full house: 500 people had come to listen to us – eventually the doors were closed to avoid overcrowding. And we had the pleasure to work with an audience that was both focused and interested.
People’s response to our topic, transfer effectiveness, was enormous – both for the research backing our "12 levers of transfer effectiveness" and for the hands-on tools and templates we presented. We also had quite some fun using Catchbox: Our throwable mics ad quite some impact with the crowd. :-) With hindsight, my most inspiring take-away from this conference was the variety of approaches and expertise in the fields of both people development and transfer effectiveness. What we did not bring back with us were our books ("What Makes Training Really Work. 12 Levers Of Transfer Effectiveness" and "Impact. Develop Your People - Enhance Your Company's Success“). They were sold out in a matter of minutes :-).