Thursday, 2 July 2015

Peter Senge on KM and org learning

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a seminar with Peter Senge at the World Bank. Here are some of the things he said about KM and organisational learning. 

No organisation is a learning organisation, but every organisation must learn or die.

Knowledge is the capacity for effective action

Learning is a process that enhances the learners capacity to produce desirable outcomes.

All learning occurs in a social context.

In any learning process you can be 100% sure that you will fail

Learning is a process of disciplined mistake-making

An environment of safety is crucial to learning

Knowledge Management often (mis)defines knowledge as "know-about", and confuses it with "lots of information". There is no "capacity for effective action" in a database.

Learning (in the Arts) is through the development of theory and method

(To be a learning organisation is to live with the fact that) "we want to be an organisation that recognises its incompetence and stupidity"

There is no learning process without doing something, specifically doing some thing collectively

The working team is the fundamental learning unit

There is no objective truth - everything has a bias

There is no "subjective view" because all views are subjective

All things that are said, are said by someone (and therefore subjective). The only important thing is, does it make us more effective?

The industry that as made the most progress with organisational learning is the software industry, because software development is so complex that nobody can predict an outcome

Organisational learning is about the cultivation of discipline

The quickest way to undermine shared understanding in an organisation is the rapid movement of people

(Peter also praised Oxfam as a learning organisation)

1 comment:

Rupert Lescott said...

Thanks Nick! Am somewhat envious and hope to meet the man myself one day. I love Senge's work but think the challenge for all of us is to make him accessible and meaningful for our clients. I don't doubt that the board of a large multinational has the time and energy to think his big thoughts but, for the project manager with schedule and budget crowding in on him/her, it can seem some way removed from their immediate experience. [Although I know that Senge has little time for our immediate experience and thinks nothing but the 'bigger picture'!]

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