Knowledge Management &
Organizational Learning

Sending people to short skill-building workshops may be adequate for adding to an existing base of knowledge they already posses.
However, to develop new capabilities that are different from the current knowledge base, a short-term course will not provide the depth and span of knowledge and learning retention that is needed.  The difficulty goes up exponentially as additional, interdependent knowledge areas are added to the new learning mix.

This is the role of Communities of Practice (CoP) in organizational learning

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Barriers to a team implementing new business ideas (best practices in today's jargon) include:

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Requirements for spreading a best practice across the organization:

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Organizational Learning

Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline defines learning organizations as those that continually enhance their capacity to create the results they really care about.  This is accomplished by paying attention to three key areas:

As learning takes place, an individual (or organization) goes through five stages of learning.  Without an understanding of the stages of learning, a manager may think that more than enough time and resources have been spent training someone and are then disappointed when the level of knowledge is less than desired.  Or worse, the subject area being trained, if new, is discarded as being without merit because results are expected too soon.  If an organization is serious about developing its ability to create its own future, there must be a way to develop a critical mass of people at the competent level in the desired knowledge areas.  This requires an organizational awareness of its level of learning and the development of a learning plan to move forward.  Part of the learning plan is the identification of available internal training resources and acquiring outside resources when needed. 

Why a Learning Organization?

Behaviors associated with organizational learning

Systems Thinking - one of the Five Learning Disciplines

Information Taxonomy - preparing for knowledge mapping

Organizational Learning Activities

Other Resources

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Transformative Networking connecting change leaders to enable self-organized grassroots change.

Next Steps While still conceptual, transformative networking offers the possibility of leading change through the networking of those already interested or involved in similar initiatives, effectively tearing down existing silos of practice that exist across disciplines and fields of work.  The next step is to develop a proof of concept built on the theoretical underpinnings above, possibly using Google Wave as the collaboration platform.  Included will be identifying the minimal structure and governance required to enable self-organization within the network while not constraining what might emerge.  Join this initiative and help create the future of organizing - networking communities of interest.    

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Last modified: July 19, 2009