Diamond Light Source  

Winner - Findcourses.co.uk Impact Award for Innovation in Learning and Development


For Learning at Work Week, Diamond Light Source used innovative technology to overcome barriers to colleagues taking part and boost learning across the organisation.  

A digital event programme was created and shared on the companies’ intranet so colleagues could see all the activities available throughout the week and could book sessions via i-calendar links. New software was also used to drive engagement in the week.
To launch the week and content, the Diamond team took a novel approach using new software tools. They created animated characters of their senior management team which also brought humour, prompted discussion and promoted a positive, approachable view of the executive.  

For the previous two years, Diamond had delivered its Learning at Work Week content virtually due to Covid. To encourage engagement in learning and boost morale, Diamond’s Organisational Development team decided to move back to face-to-face delivery but keep some virtual content where this was time and cost effective. As a 24/7 facility a key consideration for the team was to deliver the week in a flexible way, trying where possible to avoid clashes with business-critical activities and ensure the widest range of colleagues could participate.  
Using a mix of innovative tools and content, the team designed the week to provide opportunities for collaboration and interaction, and to promote, engage and support learning. Live and hybrid sessions were recorded and added to their learning management system so the content was accessible to colleagues who were unable to attend in person.

As a scientific research facility, technical innovation is core to Diamond’s objectives and colleague engagement, so the team delivered sessions showcasing new technology including some led by colleagues for colleagues. These included:  
Human vs Robot – a team activity where colleagues built their own controls for self-driving ‘T-bots’ using an overhead camera and were challenged to devise a battle AI to defeat a human opponent.  
Introduction to AI - an interactive session led by a senior software scientist at Diamond who presented a short introduction, which was then followed by an open floor discussion on the impact on related work at Diamond  
Giant X-ray lasers for beginners - an opportunity for technical and non-technical staff to engage with technical innovation with an accessible presentation from the Physical Science Director on X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) and how they are used in different ways including nanoparticle structures, microfluid dynamics and structural biology.  

To further stimulate engagement, a caption competition  was run on a SharePoint site, with a daily reveal and encouraging colleagues to vote on the best captions through the site.  A number of team activities were also run including an in-house escape room.  

E-learning authoring software was used to highlight the company’s United Nations of Diamond theme in their atrium at lunchtime. Colleagues could touch flags on an interactive map to discover facts and images of the 49 nations represented by employees at Diamond. They were also invited to add a flag to mark their country and share edible goodies brought in by staff.  

In total 21 sessions were held with over 500 attendees – a record attendance for Learning at Work Week. The use of the company’s e-learning software for non-standard use was very well received and Diamond will continue to use it in innovative ways for Learning at Work Week 2024