What does an investment in learning earn?

Every company has more potential investments than money. Good odds are not enough; the company has to choose the best bets and defer the rest.

Investments in learning often receive short shrift because measuring intangibles is fuzzy and CFOs have few rules of thumb about investing in people. (On the balance sheet, people with know-how are worth the same as clueless people: nothing.) As a result, returns on investment in people are under-valued and corporations under-fund maintenance of their most vital resources, the human ones.

Corporations would make wiser trade-offs when it comes to investments in people if we could model what this graph tries to get after.

What range of return can a corporation expect from an incremental investment of $1 in informal learning/working smarter?

I’m going to convene a salon of financial types, social quants, and business heads at the Internet Time Lab in the next couple of weeks to hack out some answers. Get in touch if you’d like to take part in person or virtually.


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