To organize for complexity also means to organize learning and development for complexity - on the individual, the team and the organizational levels.
Much has been said about learning in orgs and business schools, in recent years. And much of the talk has been based on flawed assumptions. Applying one of the thinking tools from the Organize for Complexity book may help to figure out how we can improve conditions and settings for learning, and maybe even create the high level of learning that Peter Senge and many of us have been dreaming of for decades.
The "thinking tool" I would like to use for this offers a distinction that many of you have probably heard about. But I believe the consequences are frequently misunderstood. Let´s use the distinction shown here - between Data, Information, Knowledge and Mastery - to reflect on how the transformation from one into the other works:
While the first kind of learning, "I2K", is sufficient to make sense and to solve known problems, the second kind is key to solving new problems, and to deal effectively with complexity. It is "K2M" learning that is needed for innovation and problem-solving in dynamic markets. Unfortunately, of course, today´s MBAs mostly offer I2K learning to their students - case study method and business simluations notwithstanding. Corporate conferences, leadership development programs and org development activities are loaded with de-spiriting I2K presenting and contribute nothing to the development of mastery.
What´s the consequence of all of this, then? In order to create effective development and learning spaces, we should leave "basic" Information to Knowledge learning to where it belongs: pre-readings, online courses, MOOCs, YouTube etc., And create space for Knowledge to Mastery learning in classroom and in our firms. This combines well with multi-faceted learing and classroom techniques, settings and methods. For example:
Let´s liberate the college classroom, the MBA, corporate gatherings and the Organizational Development from the boredom of lecturing, presenting and frontal teaching! Let´s put the technology to good use where it belongs (which is often I2K), and use valuable face-to-face time for high engagement settings, socially dense interaction and peer-to-peer learning. Technology can help us to liberate the workshop, the classroom, the course and the conference from I2K learning - so that we can make way better use of the live encounter.
I have found only few practical and theoretically sound approaches that are in sync with this insight of two-fold learning, unfortunately. Some that I found are those by
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