ASTD President Tony Bingham on ASTD2013 ICE

Having had the pleasure to interview ASTD President Tony Bingham recently on the upcoming 2013 ASTD International Conference and Exposition, this post outlines his thoughts on the state of the learning world and getting the best out of the ICE…


Q1: Every year thousands of people come to the ASTD ICE and many, like me, come back. What will be special for those revisiting this year?

ASTD’s International Conference & Exposition enjoys high loyalty, which is a tribute to the excellent work the ASTD Program Advisory Committee does in putting together the educational sessions and networking opportunities that thousands of people enjoy. This is a people-centric profession and I know that one of the aspects of the conference that many enjoy is the ability to reconnect with peers and network with some of the best and brightest in our field.  I also think that people return because they know that ASTD is committed to bringing thought leaders and new voices to the conference – and this includes not only keynote speakers but session presenters as well. For example, Sir Ken Robinson–our opening keynote speaker–has one of the most-viewed TED Talks on YouTube. Hearing directly from him is going to be a privilege for all of us. Nandi Shareef, one of the rising stars in the profession and featured in the April issue of T+D, will also be speaking on “The Curious Case of Workplace Millennials.” Nandi is a millennial herself and her perspective will be especially insightful to hear. I think it’s this kind of mix that makes the conference so interesting every year. That, and the fact that there are thousands of people from all over the world to learn from, all gathered together for this event.

Additionally, there will be 100 or so new suppliers on the floor in the EXPO (over 350 total). I’m always interested in where the suppliers are investing, as this can often signal future trends. The EXPO is a great resource for attendees, and every year, you’ll find many new and exciting offerings.


Q2: What changes have you seen over the last year in the L+D world? What issues or challenges do you think are “front-of-mind” for the learning profession at the moment?

Technology continues to have the most dramatic impact on the profession. We’re seeing this in many places–from organizations who are just starting to use social technologies (remember four years ago hardly anyone was using the term “social learning”?) to those who are delivering training via mobile devices to a globally dispersed workforce. The use of data – and how it can inform training and development initiatives – is another area where we are seeing tremendous engagement. Responsive design, gamification, all of these trends continue to point to a horizon that is all about the intersection of technology and learning.


Q3: Which sessions will you be following?

I have a passion for technology, so I will be looking at sessions that are focused on trends there. But I am also interested in hearing from practitioners from outside the United States. The global nature of business – and the vibrancy of the profession abroad – is fascinating to me. There is great energy around the development of talent worldwide. It’s exciting to me to be able to listen to how our international partners and members throughout the world are coping with issues like succession planning, designing learning, leadership development, knowledge management, and more.


Q4: When people visit the conference, they get a lot of big ideas and hear about all sorts of new trends. It’s easy to be very enthusiastic when away from the office, only to let things slip away or “achieve nothing” once back home. What advice would you give to HR and Learning professionals to better follow-up and implement things “post-ICE”?

In 2009 I gave a speech at our conference in Washington, D.C. in which I challenged the profession to open the door to social learning. At the time it was a new concept – the idea that people could learn from tools like Twitter or Facebook. We got a lot of interest in that topic and one of the most frequently asked questions I received was, “How do I do this?” My answer then, as it is now to your question, is “start small.” There ARE a lot of big ideas and new trends that people hear about at the conference. It can be overwhelming. But people also know that to be effective in their jobs they need to solve real problems with real solutions. My advice is to approach the conference with the idea that you are going to come back from it able to address a challenge you want to fix. Look for sessions that will give you new ideas or tools on how to fix it. And then commit to using what you learn to make your work better.


Q5: I’ve got an extra day in Dallas after the conference. Any tips for how I should use the time? 🙂

Dallas is a great city with a lot to explore! There is an amazing arts district and great sports teams, and plenty of great food.


Tony Bingham






Tony Bingham is president and CEO of ASTD, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to the training and development field. ASTD is focused on helping members lead talent management, build their business skills, understand the impact of social media on informal learning, close skills gaps, and connect their work to the strategic priorities of business.


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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on May 8, 2013, in Learning Management and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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