Season 6 Episode 6:The Day Russell Butler’s Highly Successful L&D Business Broke, What He Did Next, And What We Must All Learn from it.

The 2020 Covid19 Pandemic might just be the most disruptive event in the last 60 years. It has, amongst many devastating social and personal effects, also propelled us into what seems to be a ‘New Normal’ of work, with a speed and force we could never have imagined three months back. And as we emerge out of Lockdown into Recovery, the worlds of Work and Learning are changing radically—indeed, will arguably never be the same again.

In our new COVID-19 mini-Season at ‘Learning Is The New Working,’ ‘From What-If To What Now?’ we’re exploring what that’s looking like on the ground—and this week’s guest, Russell Butler, Founder and CEO of Learning event creators iVentiv is literally thinking and responding in-flight to these issues. After all, industry conventions are so important to our industry, and most L&D teams use some form of convening to practice our ‘trade’—but it’s one that hasn’t worked for everyone for a while. What’s really interesting is that Russell had been disrupting that model for some years… but that COVID and travel bans present an existential threat to even his new way of fostering learning.

Listen in to hear about the genuine drama of this possibly terminal crisis and what he’s done to save it, including:

  • how he ended up in ‘Silicon Spa:’ a place ‘bang in the middle’ of rural England with a ‘serious gaming’ heritage that he found highly impactful on his own growth as a business professional
  • his workspace—an office between the Motor Sport Industry Association and the National Beekeeper Society next to where the Queen retired some of her ceremonial horses;
  • the first ten years of what’s very much a family business, iVentiv, and the evolution of its ‘Learn, Connect and Develop’ mission
  • what he learned from the first 100-plus iVentiv events
  • how well his pipeline looked at the start of the 2020… and then how much it changed
  • the day he had to tell his staff in their brand new offices that the business faced huge challenges, and that none of it was their fault
  • the pivot/postpone conundrum
  • a steep learning curve: the start of iVentiv’s virtual and what’s proving to be a surprisingly strong, Zoom-based way back
  • the usefulness of the self-challenge, ‘What are you doing to keep yourself relevant for us – and not just for us?’
  • and much more.


Connect with Russell on LinkedIn here, and find out more about his company and its new value proposition here

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