May 10, 2017 in Events (live blogging), CIPD L&D Show 2017

#cipdLDshow – How to enable networked and reciprocal learning at work

Professor Chris Oswick & Dr Santi Furnari (City University London)


There are three fundamental networking styles:

  • Takers (very transaction and only help others when it meets their own needs)
  • Givers (see first the benefits to others)
  • Matchers (who balance both giving and taking)

Givers can be both the highest and lowest performers; they can be powerful networkers but can also waste a lot of time.


The Reciprocity Ring is a simulation that has been used by over 20,000 people and we’re about to undergo it as a group:


1 – We start by making a request for something we want/need and we’re encouraged to be ‘SMART’ about saying what we need. We write our requests on post-its and people are coming to the front of the room to share their requests and put their post-it on a flipchart. Given that we’re a large group (of 85 people in the room), we only take a few requests but usually everyone would get to make a request.


2 – We prepare a stack of post-it notes by writing our name and email address on the top, leaving blank space at the bottom for us to add a contribution. We write our contributions to help the specific requests and we share them openly.


Being honest, I’m simultaneously holding two conflicting feelings at the moment: (1) This isn’t anything new and we’re effectively doing action learning in a slightly different guise (2) This is really helpful and is helping to make connections that wouldn’t otherwise be made as the people in the room probably wouldn’t have formed an action learning set today and helped each other in the ways they have.


The process is designed to make sure that everyone asks for help, to make giving public, and works on ‘the principle of generalised reciprocity



The suggestion is that we should create ‘Reciprocal Learning Networks’ across L&D by getting groups of around 15 people together to for a Reciprocity Network where we get to share and help with L&D needs.


I’m also pondering with Rachel Burnham about how we could use this within an Unconference; given that we construct an agenda for the Unconference based on the most common needs in the room, we could maybe use this to address some of the more specific issues that are unique to just one person.




This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD Learning & Development Show 2017 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in. I’ve also curated the story of the session as told through the tweets of the attendees (you might need to tap ‘load more tweets’ to see the full story):


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