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Learning in Lockdown: Use crisis to develop new skills

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I always have my best ideas on a plane. It's not great in lockdown, I'll admit, but there's something about putting myself in a different situation that brings the clarity I need to solve simmering problems and get some new perspective.

I'm not strange, either. (OK, not for that reason...) Lots of bright ideas were conceived in unexpected circumstances. J.K. Rowling mentally drafted the first Harry Potter book on a four-hour train ride. Archimedes figured out buoyancy in the bath.

There's a reason for this - and it's the same reason I ask leadership teams to go off-site whenever they can. A 2018 Yale Study found that uncertainty can "prime" the brain for learning. When a situation is unfamiliar or difficult to predict, we have more activity in our prefrontal cortex, compared to when the outcome is more certain. The result = better learning.

Lots of people have chosen to use lockdown as an opportunity to learn a new skill - whether that's baking bread, or knitting. It's a refreshing antidote to trying to do the same things under challenging circumstances. The dopamine hit we get from figuring new stuff out is a mood-booster that helps us to feel more capable and in-control, as the world around us feels a bit wobbly.

We've been thinking about how best to serve all you lovely mates during lockdown, and how to offer you up bite-sized learning that won't overwhelm you in an already tricky time. (Also, I've got three homeschooling girls at home who each seem to need 7 meals a day, so my time is a bit limited too.)

My learning

For my part, I've picked the guitar back up, and I'm busy pulling together lots of exciting curriculum ideas while my brain is firing off in learning mode. Thanks to this poll on LinkedIn, I've got the go-ahead to build my most ambitious curriculum yet - a full nerdfest Strategy Intensive covering all the technical ins and outs of planning, business cases, benefits, risk and change management. Eep!

I'd love to hear how you're all learning this lockdown - reply, or post on socials and tag me in.

Even better, if you've decided the only thing you're keen to do is survive, eat snacks and get through the day... mate, you've got my blessing. Listen to your body, and do what you need.

Look after yourself, everyone.

Nga mihi nui,