What’s informing your thinking: Nigel Paine


Nigel Paine, former chief learning officer at the BBC and L&D thought-leader, shares what’s informing his thinking.

There are three things currently shaping Paine’s thinking. They are:

1 Neuroplasticity

Paine says he met Barbara Arrowsmith-Young author of the book The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, the story of how Arrowsmith-Young managed to overcome severe learning disabilities and rebuild neural pathways in her brain through practice and will power. She has gone on to set up 50 schools around the world to help people with learning disabilities. With practice you can build new pathways and get better, says Paine. Unlike a muscle, which can degenerate, once you have built the pathways they stay there, providing you with the opportunity to make your brain healthy.

2 Great places to work

What makes a great place to work, asks Paine. What emerges from great workplaces? Does more creativity, innovation and better learning emerge from a great place to work or or is the notion of a great place  just a a bit of icing on the cake for companies that are innovative already? Paine says that you cannot create resilient companies with five per cent at the top of the company with the ideas and the other 95% bored. Everyone needs to be a part of the process. Learning is a great way of maintaining resilience, keeping your brain working and helping you to continue to make a positive contribution.

3 The pressures of the current economic climate

Paine says current economic pressures require organisations – of every type – to do more with less and to think in new and different ways to those that have gone in the past.  So it is about re-engineering and revitalizing organisations.

Paine says these three elements are very much intertwined and that learning has a central part to play within this.


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