Georgia LEARNS 2021 - November 10, 11, and 12 - What Do You Do with an Idea?

Georgia LEARNS 2021 – What Do You Do with an Idea?

Our theme is inspired by the life, work, and wishes of our dear friend Teri Williamson.

All times listed below are Eastern USA Time Zone  (UTC – 5:00)

We are pleased to announce a series of BYOL Plus Plus Panel Discussions - Delivered Virtually. Each topic in the agenda below is linked to an online discussion related to the topic.

BYOL Plus Plus Definition: BYOL – The Bring Your Own Learning panel format was introduced by Georgia LEARNS in 2015.

  • Panelists have up to two minutes (30 seconds would be fine) to present questions related to what they want to learn from the audience as well as present what they believe the audience can learn from the panelist's experience.
  • Each panel is followed by 30-35-minute breakout discussion sessions.
  • In 2016 we improved BYOL by concluding each segment with the “Plus” - a 5-to-10-minute closing presentation by a “Remarkable” Speaker (Listener – thank you Michelle Prince) who will describe what they learned from the panelists and breakouts.
  • In 2021 we are experimenting by beginning each segment with another “Plus” – a 10-15-minute use of Relevant Humor to stimulate the conversations that will follow. Here is an example (thank you Phil Brown for making me aware of this example.)
  • Critical to the success of the panel is the Moderator role. The Moderator stimulates interaction before and after the event via the online discussions for each segment. They perform all the roles of a typical moderator - not so much at the event as mostly before the event through the online discussion. This includes asking questions of panelists and participants. The participants may or may not be connected to the panel. The participants may of may not be part of the conference. During the event the Moderator will move from breakout room to breakout room as an engaged participant and to assist the panelists if needed. They also monitor the online discussion and encourage people to submit their ideas into it.

Engaged Participants: You play the most important role in the success of this conference. Specifically:

  • Your willingness to read and comment in the online discussions - before, during and after the conference provides perpetual value to everyone - especially you.
  • Your selection of which segments to attend helps us determine the relevance of the agenda.
  • The breakout room that you choose during the BYOL Plus Plus Panels provides immediate feedback to each Panelist of the resonance of their two minutes (30 seconds would be fine) "presentation."
  • Your willingness to leave a breakout room if the conversation is not providing the expected value is important feedback to the panelist - and 100% aligned with the expectations of Georgia LEARNS!!!
  • And most important - your willingness to respectfully ask questions - especially if you do not agree or understand the perspective of the Panelist - is how you can help accelerate effective learning for yourself, the other Engaged Participants, the Humorists, the Panelists, the Moderators - and the Remarkable Speakers!

Why we chose to include the role of a Humorist in 2021:

  • We wish to build relationship – especially with people whose life and experiences and cultures may be different from what we understand.
  • We think that humor might help us learn from each other – and build relationship while doing so.
  • We think that humor might help us understand the culture that created the humor.
  • We think that the history of a culture might be revealed via its humor.
  • With relationship – strengthened by understanding of humor, culture, and history – we hope to build mutual respect.
  • With mutual respect we hope to be able to tell each other the truth.
  • With truth we hope to be able to collaborate to address issues that must be addressed.

 Wednesday, November 10th – “Out with the Old Idea”


  9:30 to 10:00 AM

Open Networking

Segment 1 (2021)

10:00 to 10:30 AM

Welcome and Event Overview

Segment 2 (2021)

10:30 to 11:45 AM

Out With the Old Idea

Segment 3 (2021)

12:15 to 1:30 PM

Protect or Share

Segment 4 (2021)

  1:45 to 3:00 PM

Your Ideas


Thursday, November 11th – “How the Old Idea can Accelerate the New Idea”


  9:30 to 10:00 AM

Open Networking

Segment 5 (2021)

10:00 to 10:30 AM

Day 1 Recap and Day 2 Plan

Segment 6 (2021)

10:30 to 11:45 AM

How the Old Idea can Accelerate the New Idea

Segment 7 (2021)

12:15 to 1:30 PM

Validate or Implement

Segment 8 (2021)

  1:45 to 3:00 PM

Your Ideas


 Friday, November 12th – “The Role of Management”


  9:30 to 10:00 AM

Open Networking

Segment 9 (2021)

10:00 to 10:30 AM

Days 1 and 2 Recaps and Day 3 Plan

Segment 10 (2021)

10:30 to 11:45 AM

The Role of Management

Segment 11 (2021)

12:15 to 1:30 PM

Improve or Retire

Segment 12 (2021)

  1:30 to 2:00 PM

Open Conversation - Georgia LEARNS 2022 Planning

Please provide your comments on this page or in the online discussion for each segment - or by calling, texting, or sending me an email.

With appreciation,

  • Paul Terlemezian
  • 404-375-8411

Comment by Jim Everidge on February 16, 2021 at 2:23pm

It would be interesting to wrap into the theme something about our industry getting a significant acceleration in 2021.  The Pandemic has shaken the roots of our industry and is forcing companies to make distance learning a core part of their operational strategy.  For Learning industry companies – how do you scale to meet the demand?  Are there new opportunities that present themselves?  How do you allocate your resources internally – to selling or building?  Lots of neat questions could come out of that.  And I suspect that they will all still be really relevant by the time GeorgiaLEARNS is in production….

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 16, 2021 at 2:54pm

Jim - thank you - the Pandemic has been will be fascinating to learn from our response...I wonder what the future might perceive about our response?

Steph - please tell me more about Legion - - what might we learn?

Comment by Stephanie Crowe on February 16, 2021 at 3:04pm

I think it's important to consider that an idea can have positive and negative results in how it's applied.  We have moral and ethical responsibility to "use our powers for good" in the spreading of ideas...


"What Do You Do With An Idea"


Plato's Allegory of the Cave in LEGION - caution Rated MA, in this case for offensive references

Comment by Dr. Sonny Magana on February 16, 2021 at 4:40pm

I think this is a particularly useful theme as our industry has been profoundly disrupted. There are two key things strike me about this theme: 1. Ideas are the source of all forms of innovation and invention; and 2. In order to generate value, ideas have to be shared, developed, refined, put into action, and evaluated. It seems that we are in the "Now What?" phase of remote learning, so this theme resonates deeply with me. 

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 16, 2021 at 5:17pm

Steph - thank you for taking the concept of an idea and helping us examine the positive and negative in how it is applied. It is also fascinating to understand how the definition of moral and ethical may vary -

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 16, 2021 at 5:34pm

Sonny - "Now What?" is a fascinating question - it reminds me of the infinite mirror imagery:

Comment by Michelle Prince on February 16, 2021 at 11:51pm

"What do you do with an idea?"

Interesting theme!

Action or decision may depend on what experiences you've had in the past when you've shared ideas.

May depend on the organization culture and openness to new ways of thinking / working.

May depend on the trust you have / feel from others.

Organizations that thrive during disruption and transformation are open to innovation and ideas are to be welcomed. Leaders with the ability to be open, to listen to ideas, and encourage innovative thinking are crucial.

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 17, 2021 at 12:48am

Michelle - thank you. My "analytical nature" forces me to explore all the options related to the important points you describe. Of particular interest to me - are the following:

1. As learning leaders how do we assure that we are helping others respond effectively to the question as they assess the points you describe.

2. As individuals what do we do if we have had poor experiences when sharing ideas; find ourselves in a culture that is not open to new ways of thinking/working; do not have or feel we have trust from others???

Comment by Michelle Prince on February 17, 2021 at 10:44am

Paul, exactly! A rich and dynamic topic that can go in so many meaningful directions.  As learning and development / talent developers leaders we help create and foster the culture, nurture the abilities of leaders today and of the future, and help our people build their confidence and abilities. Innovative and design thinking, agility, experimentation, active listening, etc. can underpin all these areas.

Comment by Vicki Hudson on February 17, 2021 at 4:35pm

I think this is an important theme, particularly as it relates to equity. You can have a powerful idea but how does that promote equity or perpetuate inequity? The COVID vaccines were an incredible response to the crisis, but they are not being equitably distributed in the world. Looking forward to learning more!

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 17, 2021 at 5:51pm

Vicki - thank you - Teri has taught me a lot about equity - I hope that I will never forget what I have learned from her. Thank you Teri!

Comment by Brent Darnell on February 18, 2021 at 7:54am

I love this theme.  I tend to throw things out there and see what happens. Some fall flat, some soar.  I wonder if there is a methodology to determine beforehand what will work and what will not?  It will be an interesting discussion!

Comment by Kerry Waller on February 18, 2021 at 11:24am

My mind immediately goes to the constant distractions that can separate us from the ideas that we do have. Of course, I say this in the middle of going through a giant pile of email that has been collecting...

I think it will be a fruitful topic that can take us in many different directions.

Comment by Doug McMahon on February 18, 2021 at 3:15pm

Like the theme. It is the 2nd step in the innovation process - First the excitement of coming up with a great idea - then - and sometimes more difficult - how do you operationalize it.

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 18, 2021 at 4:48pm

Thanks Brett - your comment reminds me of this comment from Teri -

Permalink Reply by Teri Williamson on October 24, 2017 at 1:22pm Delete

I believe people worry about win/loss ratios. Mine is actually pretty low. I try A LOT of things that do not work. However, when I LOSE, I lose small. When I WIN, I win BIG. So, I worry much more about PROFIT/LOSS.

I am not afraid to invest small to answer a question or to disprove a hypothesis (that is the scientific method, right?). I just won’t bet the farm without reducing uncertainty. It requires framing the right problem, managing a network, trying things that may be wrong to pivot to profitability.

It NEVER means stalling. Standing still is the death of innovation. Your competitors are certainly moving - racing - past you. You will cease to exist.

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 18, 2021 at 4:52pm

Kerry - well said - it is easy to get distracted - perhaps there is value in getting our ideas out in the open and letting our friends hold us accountable ?

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 18, 2021 at 4:54pm

Doug - thank you - what are the steps after that?

Comment by Daniel Shorr on February 22, 2021 at 1:39am

I love how the 2021 theme "What do you do with an idea?" can be taken in many directions.  As Jim Everidge and others mentioned, that the pandemic has dramatically shifted the learning/training world is a natural topic to be covered too and can dovetail in various ways.  For instance, a brainstorming session could take a few crowdsourced ideas related to the 'covid impact on learning' topic and discuss what to do with the ideas - whether the group would want to evaluate the ideas/combine them/refine them and think through how they could be operationalized.

Comment by Paul Terlemezian on February 22, 2021 at 9:38am

Daniel - your idea for "what do do with an idea" sounds quite relevant - especially when applied to something that has never been done before or for which no one has expertise or authority.

Comment by Anthony Murph on February 23, 2021 at 12:40pm

I love the theme for this year.  Many organizations are needing to change due to the pandemic.  These changes span the whole organization.  In order to change you must implement an idea.  There may be more ideas within peoples' minds than ever before of how their organization needs to move forward.


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