Canberra is the place where start-ups flourish, with the city’s innovative ecosystem is one of the best in the nation.
There is an unparalleled amount of support for all kinds of businesses in Canberra, giving people the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.
The geniuses behind The Learning Deli have had first-hand experience with Canberra’s innovation network, which helped them kick start their dream project in Canberra.
Six like-minded blokes with a love of good food, wine, and technology sit around a table at night and talk about the state of learning and the technology that drives it. Their love of food extends to regular catch-ups at each other’s houses, preparing great delicacies and degustation menus and continuing the conversations that would eventually lead to what is now The Learning Deli.
Their learning and technology discussions uncovered a shared understanding of the unique frustrations of the broader learning industry, and in 2010 this naturally evolved into the belief that they should stop talking and simply do something about it. So, in September of the same year, The Learning Deli was established.
So what’s in the name? Many of the frustrations with the learning industry were born from a sense that learning, and eLearning in particular, was becoming a ‘product’, hijacked by vendors promising that their particular flavour would provide a neat end-to-end learning solution. As Learning and Development professionals, the guys at The Learning Deli knew that eLearning was actually a delivery method that was comprised of a complex series of moving parts, that in order to deliver the best result for the learner should be blended by a professional, or indeed a team of professionals. This origin story came out of the understanding that a true learning solution was about devising a combination of a number of learning options to create a ‘recipe’ that would serve up the best result for the learners – much like choosing from the goods on offer in a good delicatessen.
The days of “one-size-fits-all” we know are over because the evolution of learning has been democratised by the internet.
These guys saw a real gap in the marketplace for just such a model that they had been discussing over a red wine or two; designing learning that people wanted, and customised to their individual tastes and needs, so that they could pick and choose from the menu, just as you would in a delicatessen, to create the perfect dish.
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Don’t you just love a good origin story!
The company started with those six partners initially, but as with any group of people, it evolved at a pace and direction that suited some more than others. Six partners seemed like a great idea to pool skills and scale quickly when needed, but as time went on, things changed, and the numbers dwindled over time.
Now, seven years down the track, there are three key partners remaining; David Sullivan, Mike Benjamins, and Nick Churchill. Evidently, these three complement each other with their individual skill sets and personalities, and from what I could see the company is now going from strength to strength.
David Sullivan has morphed into the Business Manager for the company, and in addition to the day-to-day running of the Deli operations, he brings a technical background, with an understanding of and expertise in, databases, networks, learning management systems and websites. Mike Benjamins is fluent in four languages and an expert in instructional design and communications. Prior to joining The Learning Deli, he had his own company delivering technical support services for businesses, as well as working with major change and training programs within large government departments. Nick Churchill has a significant training program design and delivery background, but is also a musician, a qualified award winning graphic designer and generally what you would call a ‘core creative’. “He’s the crazy ideas man,” they tell me.
Working with two full-time staff, Kieran and Nikita, and several casuals and part-timers, the business is buzzing.
After working in co-location spaces in the early days, which they quickly outgrew, they have moved into Mort street, where they fill out an industrial contemporary delivery and training space, more design studio that anything else, and inherently better suited to their company.
The company’s first big break came when they won a large contract with a government department back in 2014, where they needed to convert a five-day face-to-face course into a stand-alone eLearning course. This project and the lessons learnt helped to shape the future of the business. Since then, they have successfully delivered many interesting projects across large enterprises, government, and even smaller companies. Each new eLearning solution they design is innovative and creative. Of course, they also design and deliver face-to-face learning, blended learning courses as required, and all designed with the client’s learning requirements at the core.
I recently took a Scrum Masters course with The Learning Deli, and that was a most invaluable learning experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
This eLearning company is going places. They are bucking the trends with their state of the art eLearning course designs and approach to learning delivery in general, and I look forward to watching them grow!