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Education is too important to stay the way it is. David Blake has spent his career innovating in lifelong learning--both corporate training and higher education. He is on a mission to future proof our workforce and companies, help the world speak the language of skills instead of college degrees, and use learning and skills to enable everyone to fulfill their personal missions. He is an sought-after expert on the future of credentials and skills, including being a Sr. Advisor to McKinsey on the topic of the Future of Work and Education and speaking at companies such as Google, Deloitte, and Salesforce and at conferences globally.

David is the co-founder of
The Future of Work Studios (FOWS) and the CEO of Learn In and the CEO of BookClub. The Future of Work Studios incubates and operates the companies that will bridge the skills gap and empower the humans of the future. Learn In helps companies match their employees to the best training programs to develop hard-to-fill job roles and key skills and provide innovative financing options.

BookClub is author-led virtual book clubs. David is the co-founder and continues to serve as the Executive Chairman of Degreed. Millions of individuals and a majority of the world’s largest companies use Degreed’s platform to discover and answer for all of their learning and skills. Clients range from Boeing and NASA JPL, General Mills & Unilever, CITI and Bank of America, VISA and MasterCard, eBay and Airbnb, to Cisco and Intel.

Degreed enables its clients to organize all the skills required for every job, all of the learning resources to develop each skill, and to measure and certify the skills of every employee. Degreed does this in a universal way while giving employees ownership of their skill profiles—enabling a model of lifelong learning where every company in the network has a common language for skills and learning and the employees' record of skills travel with them to their next job. Prior to Degreed, he helped launch a competency-based, accredited university and was a founding team member of university-admissions startup Zinch (acquired by NASDQ: CHGG).

David participated as a EdTech Fellow in a program run by Stanford d.School EdTech Lab, sponsored by Teach For America and NewSchools Venture Fund. He is the co-author of the book, The Expertise Economy: How the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete, and succeed and the co-creator of the Skills Quotient. There isn’t a CEO in the world today who can answer for the skills of their organization. Just as Net Promoter Score (NPS) gave a common framework for customer satisfaction, we have long needed that type of solution for skills. That is what Skills Quotient (SQ) does; it introduces a common, non-proprietary framework that every company can use to measure the skills required against the skills needed, for individuals, teams, and the entire company. It elevates the practice of talent and skills measurement, from the middle of the organization, to the C-Suite, giving every CEO a way to answer for the skills of their organization and a way to track progress with accountability.

Executive Chairman, CEO

David Blake

David Blake

Learn In

How would you define the truly agile organization?

Agile = ability to adapt. Thomas Friedman asserts the rate at which technology is scaling outpaced the rate at which humanity can adapt sometime circa ~2007 . That has led to a world in which advantages are compounding; and the gulf to overcome disadvantages is widening. As an organization, that means the stakes are getting ever higher. The constraint to agility is speed of learning. The organization that can out-learn its competitors will accrue compounding advantages. In a world of a growing skills gap, lifelong learning carries an increasing premium; expertise carries an increasing premium; experts carry an increasing premium. So, to be truly agile, get insanely good at learning and creating a culture of learning at scale within your organization.

In the past, learning at any level—university or corporate training programs—looked akin to building a railroad. It was a heavy infrastructure project. You could lay tracks between a few destinations, but you had to choose carefully, and were ultimately, very constrained. The choices were optimized for the masses—what routes would get the most amount of people from some central point to another central destination. Railroads are blind to where your journey actually begins, and where you are actually trying to get.

The future of learning will reflect the present reality of transportation today, with the GPS on our phones, which pinpoints exactly where we are, after which we can identify any destination, and Google Maps will create multiple routes between those points, using any combination of modes of transportation. That is learning agility at scale [ ... ]


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