Annual ECLF Conference 2009

5th Annual ECLF Conference

The Social Infrastructure of Learning

June 29 July 1, 2009

Munich, Germany


We all know that learning that happens in an instructor-led classroom or through carefully designed e-learning modules represents only a small part of our learning experiences - and not necessarily the most effective ones - both in terms of cost and ROI.

Most learning happens in the context of everyday activities - at the shop floor, in customer encounters, in conversations at the water cooler. These contexts enable not only learning, they also shape the very fabric of organizational capability. Yet, corporate learning has little or no influence in designing these "natural spaces of learning" in a way that helps to harvest their potential.

Learning is at its heart a social process of interaction that happens in collaborative settings; settings that are hard to control and that lose their power when they get too formally structured. At the same time, the emergence of social networking software opens up a wide space of new learning opportunities, although we do not yet fully understand its implications.

Conference Topic Overview

Based on these premises, we will explore some key questions such as:

  • How can we design structures, systems, and cultures that enhance participative/interactive learning?
  • How can social networking technologies support and enhance the creation, distribution, and utilization of learner generated content?
  • How should we deal with the delicate dynamics between informal/emerging learning activities, and the formal/deliberate alignment with the strategic goals of the corporation?
  • What are the economics of informal learning - how can we justify investments, measure ROI, etc.


As always, the three days are designed as a highly interactive and collaborative mix of top level expert input , case studies from our members, and peer-to-peer exchange. Some highlights:

  • Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of the Industry Sector and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG will discuss with us The Role of Corporate Learning in Transforming Siemens
  • Henry Mintzberg will discuss with us his new approach of Creating self-organized Communities of Managers
  • Etienne Wenger, who coined the term Communities of Practice will discuss with us How to Design the Social Fabric of Networks
  • Cases that fit with our topic will be shared by Petter Andersson (Ericsson), Peter Butler (BT Group), Anna Simioni (Unicredit), and Sylvain Newton (General Electric).
  • As always, we will have our peer-to-peer Focus on Members Issues session
  • ... and ample time for informal conversation, with an ECLF Barbecue and a final dinner at a typical Bavarian Restaurant directly at Lake Starnberg.





Hosted by member companies, ECLF annual summits are the highlight of the year, bringing together ECLF members from more than a dozen of countries to engage in an intellectually and socially inspiring dialogue which is the hallmark of ECLF's culture.

Each conference is dedicated to exploring a strategic challenge of the practice.