This fall we’re celebrating 20 Years of DevLearn. As part of that celebration, I’m reflecting on the insights I’ve gained from some of my favorite DevLearn keynote speakers over the years. This week I'm revisiting Learning Through Travel, Curiosity, and Food with Phil Rosenthal, from DevLearn 2023.

Learning and development professionals constantly seek new perspectives and opportunities to enhance their approach. Phil Rosenthal, known as the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond and the Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil, joined us in 2023 offering a refreshing viewpoint supporting this quest for growth and innovation. During his keynote, I had the pleasure of sitting down with him for a funny and insightful conversation centered around the themes of travel, curiosity, and the universal language of food.

Here are some of the key themes I took away from our discussion.

The Power of Curiosity

Rosenthal's journey is a testament to the power of curiosity. One of his quotes that stuck with me is "Curiosity is the engine of achievement." This idea is pivotal. It underlines the importance of fostering a culture of inquisitiveness and continuous learning within organizations. Curiosity drives innovation and encourages individuals to explore beyond their comfort zones, a necessary trait in the dynamic world of learning and development.

Phil Rosenthal at DevLearn 2023

Learning Through Diversity and Inclusivity

A significant part of our discussion revolves around embracing diversity. Through his travels, Rosenthal experiences various cultures, each with unique perspectives and practices. This diversity, he notes, is not just enlightening but also deeply enriching. "The more we experience the world's diversity, the more we realize our common humanity." This underscores the importance of inclusive learning environments that respect and integrate diverse viewpoints, enhancing the learning experience for all.

Storytelling as a Learning Tool

Rosenthal’s success can largely be attributed to his storytelling prowess. He adeptly weaves narratives that are both directly engaging and indirectly educational. "Storytelling," he says, "is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world." In the context of L&D, this highlights the potential of storytelling as a tool for making complex ideas accessible and memorable. It's a technique that can be leveraged to enhance engagement in learning programs and educational content.

Humor as a Catalyst for Connection

Humor is the key element that Rosenthal employs in all of his work. He believes humor can bridge gaps and build connections, something we often look to incorporate into learning environments. "Humor breaks down walls. It opens up people," he asserts. Appropriately incorporating humor can transform the learning environment, making it more welcoming and conducive to engagement.

David Kelly and Phil Rosenthal at DevLearn 2023

Embracing Change and Adaptability

Rosenthal's adaptability in varied cultural contexts offers a key lesson in flexibility and resilience. He advocates not for adapting to change, but for embracing it, a relevant notion in the constantly shifting landscape of learning and development. "Change is inevitable, and adaptability is crucial," he remarks. This mindset is essential for professionals who are tasked with keeping their organizations and learners abreast and ahead of the evolving future of work

Phil Rosenthal’s stories provide much more than humor; they provide a rich source of inspiration for L&D professionals. His emphasis on curiosity, inclusivity, storytelling, humor, and adaptability are not just key takeaways but actionable strategies that can be integrated into the fabric of learning initiatives. By embodying these principles, learning professionals can create more effective, engaging, and inclusive learning environments, ultimately driving growth and professional development in their organizations.

Want to revisit Phil Rosenthal's keynote yourself? This recording is just one of the many keynote recordings that are available as part Member+, our newly enhanced member subscription service.