From May 19th-22nd, 2019 we attended the ATD International Conference & Expo in Washington, DC. These three action-packed days were filled with engaging speakers and sessions, interesting discussions with visitors to our booth, and of course, lots of serious fun.

After a day of exploring the amazing sights and history in Washington, DC, a group of inspired Celemists gathered on Sunday evening to get prepared for the three days ahead.  With representatives from our offices in Shanghai, Malmö and Chicago, we were a truly international group, and we spent the first evening sharing our excitement and expectations for the days ahead. Under the guidance of our ATD General Alicia Adams, we were ready for three days of intense learning and inspiration.

“ATD is always a fantastic opportunity to meet professionals in our business and hear what is trending, even more important are all the customer dialouges where we get a chance to have  many conversations in a very brief time to understand what is top of mind for organizations trying to navigate todays VUCA world.”

Kjell Lindquist, CEO Celemi

On Monday morning all systems were go, and we were ready to launch! We welcomed L&D professionals from all over the world to visit us in our space-themed booth, where a group of eager Celemists were waiting and ready to discuss all things Leadership and Agile.

Our 60-second “big picture” challenge was a mind-twister for everyone who came through the booth, but many attendees won the challenge and made it into Celemi’s Hall of Fame! We had so much fun challenging everyone who came through our booth over the three days, showing them the benefits of gamified learning and discussing the future of leadership development.

Libby running the 60 second challenge for one of our visitors

ATD was absolutely electric! So many eager, like-minded individuals on the same mission to find out what is new in the training world. At Celemi’s booth we met many enthusiastic and committed training professionals eager to knowledge share and compete in our 60 second challenge. Our visitors were not easily stumped by our cow challenge earning a spot of the infamous Celemi Hall of Fame. Conversations were swirling around Agile principles, diversity & inclusion, technology integration, and so much more. Two and a half days is not enough time to connect and share with all of our wonderful visitors. I am look forward to connecting with them personally in the upcoming weeks. ATD 2019 made a major impact on me and was one for the books!

Alicia Adams, Celemi’s ATD General

The interesting conversations certainly weren’t limited to the expo floor, but even extended to all of the interesting speakers and sessions that we had the pleasure of attending. Between the sessions, keynotes, and expo floor, we noticed three main themes coming out of ATD 2019: technology, gamification, and learning based on neuroscience.


Learning Management Systems (LMS) were one of the hot topics on the expo floor! People are increasingly looking towards learning journeys and ensuring that learning takes place with a holistic approach: LMS can help to fill this gap. Microlearnings, which were previously a hot topic at ATD, have now rightly been integrated into the LMS trend.


Gamified learning is still a growing area within the field of learning and development. Increasingly many companies want to integrate learning into their everyday and are trying to do so through mobile apps. While many interesting, complex, and fun games were presented, nothing we saw has yet been proven to be effective, and companies are struggling to engage their employees in mobile gamified learning as part of their everyday routines.

Learning supported by Neuroscience

The why behind learning has been a passion of Celemi’s since we were founded in 1985. This passion was shared by many at ATD this year, with a huge focus on how, when, and why people learn and want to learn, explained by neuroscience. In which environments does learning thrive, and why do people want to learn? Some of our favorite speakers on this subject included the Arbinger Institute, Britt Andreatta, and Carmen Simone from Memzy. Many of the research presented by these speakers validated Celemi’s learning methodology, and we were especially interested in hearing about how anticipating reward can drive behaviors, and the need for a sense of trust and safety in order to trigger effective learning environments.

Celemi in Demand

In line with gamification’s popularity this year, Celemi was a popular spot for L&D professionals and other gamification companies. Tore Byström, VP of Sales in EMEA, saw potential in many of the conversations he had with other gamification and learning organizations. “Several of the other exhibitors approached us to discuss collaborations. It was really exciting to see all the interest that other companies had for working together with us, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can produce together with other companies in the coming years.”

All-in-all, we had lots of serious fun at ATD International Conference and Expo 2019. We are excited to bring all of our insights back into the office over the coming year, and are already looking forward to seeing everyone again in Denver next year!