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7 features of resilient organisations

Rop Hopkins writes in his book “The power of just doing stuff” about how the transition to more sustainable lives can come from, well, just doing stuff. Not waiting to be asked, not asking for permission. In tune with the idea of “do first, apologise later, if needed” which is often touted as the way to get things done in overly bureaucratic situations.
the-power-of-just-doing-stuffA section in chapter one about resilient communities resonated strongly with me and echoes much of what I have read over the past few years regarding organisational learning and what makes organisations better places to work. Indeed better places to be. Here’s Rob’s list together with my comments about what learning “trend” each heading could be linked to.

  1. Diversity – cultural, gender, age and any other diversity leads to the status quo being challenged, a more creative workplace and new ideas being introduced.

    “…diversity is associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, greater market share, and greater relative profits.” 1

  2. Modularity – with this Rob means to not let one failure bring down an entire operation. I find this similar to Dave Snowden’s Safe Fail idea which suggests that more can be gained by letting wild ideas prosper while having a clear method for pulling the plug if it turns out not to work. Without blaming or punishing anyone. Read more about this at:
  3. Social capital – “social networks and vibrant communities that show trust, leadership and the ability to respond to challenges together are essential for resilience” says Rob (bold highlights are mine). Social networks and vibrant communities is the mantra of Jane Hart who has championed social learning within organisations for many years. Trust is essential for any network to really come to life – you don’t share what you know if you don’t trust the other members of the network. Leadership as opposed to management is a clear trend and one that is increasingly in demand by increasingly stressed workers.
  4. Innovation – can anybody say that innovation is not required for organisations today? The trend here is innovation leadership – that innovation efforts can be led in a particular direction with a greater guarantee of success at the end.

    “…you have to be able to innovate. It’s a core skill these days” 2

  5. Overlap – related to modularity above, overlap refers to the need to move away from silos. The safegrounds of middle management, they serve to steer information flows and to disempower the people doing the work. The silos don’t necessarily need to be dismantled, opening them up to new ideas and letting information flow will be a great start to bringing life back to pats of the organisation.

    “…in order for a company to work efficiently, decisions need to be made across silos.” 3

  6. Tight feedback loops – in order for iterative improvements to be made and performance and engagement to be more ikely, feedback must be given on the work done. At frequent intervals. This is known as Agile HR or more simply, coaching leadership. Recent studies have (apparently) shown that Swedish managers in particular are not good at giving feedback and following up on work done.
  7. Ecosystem services – an organisation must think about the effects of it’s operations on the surrounding ecosystems. What effects do we have on our supplier’s environment? And our customer’s? On our own? This is of course Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR.

So in a world where change is becoming the norm, resilience would seem to be synonymous with success.

What changes can you see on the horizon? What possibilities do they bring?


1: “Does Diversity Pay?: Race, Gender, and the Business Case for Diversity” p219, C. Herring, University of Illinois at Chicago. Found at:



John Seely Brown’s keynote at #ASTD2013 – curated tweets

The yearly conference of the American Society of Training and Development is taking place as I write and while I wasn’t aware of the line up, the comments around the John Seely Brown (JSB) keynote caught my eye. I’ll include the ones I caught here and then comment on why this resonates with me and my current thinking.

In summary, JSB introduces the idea of entrepreneurial learning which is a feature of a new culture of learning and something which can help organisations survive and thrive in a constantly changing world. Each tweet gives different people’s takes on the content JSB is presenting and helps to build a multi-facted image of the content and it’s fascinating implications.

Stay with me it’s going to be a long post! But worth it!


David Kelly starts by giving some background to the speaker. David is a master of curation and adds value to the backchannel of any learning event.

More background information. This time JSB talks about “Learning, Working & Playing in the Digital Age” The article is from 1999 but very few have reached this level today.

A slide deck based on JSB’s latest book and which gives a good idea of his presentation today and is more or less essential to follow the train of thought that follows:
“Passion” here is used as a synonym for “engagement”.

Adjacency here refers to the Zone of Proximal Development. A key idea which is central to social and informal learning as well as a coaching leadership style. Seeing learning possibilities in everyday situations is also a key ingredient in Self Managed Learning (in Swedish).

And a consideration of what ideas or activities might be adjacencies for L&D professionals:

Here’s another tweet on the benefits of working in networks – what works for others could also work for you. This also brings in the power of self managed learning – that when YOU pull infomation, knowledge and understanding into your life, you will get best effect.

Aaron Silvers sums up well what JSB is talking about. That entrepreneurial learners are powered by very strong engagement which is brought about by passion (for the job) or survival. It is entrepreneurial learners who will get the complicated and complex jobs in the future. And do it without formal training (in swedish).

Factors that seem at odds with the old economy are a key part of what entrepreneurial learning is about:

The power of the network (here a “collective” but could also be a personal learning network or PLN) is commented on here as well as the motivation that must exist to engender the feelings of passion or survival:

A key action for many companies today is to capture experience from baby boomers and turn it into actionable knowledge for those who will carry on. Trust is a key factor in this work. Capturing stories of situations that have played out in the past is a good tool to use.

Culture is more important than teaching when it comes to encouraging entrepreneurial learning. And cultivating anything is a result of coaching leadership and promoting an organisational culture of personal growth.

To round off, Cammie Bean of Kineo did a great job capturing live notes:

Hur du utvecklar dig själv utan formell utbildning

Del 1 i den här serien finns här.

Det kommer att bli mer och mer att skol-/högskoleutbildningar inte håller jämna steg med utvecklingen in samhället. Nya jobb och nya branscher skapas på kort tid där nya möjligheter dyker upp. Och vad är det för jobb som kommer att finnas imorgon eller om fem år? Det kan vi inte föreställa oss ännu.


Lägg därtill att automatiseringen kommer att ta allt fler enkla jobb och det kan bli svårt för folk dels att behålla jobbet och dels att hitta ett nytt. Som Ross Dawson uttrycker det: “in a connected world, unless your skills are world-class, you are a commodity.” Harold Jarche säger liknande: “labor is replaceable, talent is not“.

Vad kan man då göra för att se till att man är en uppskattad talang som inte ses förbi?

Det handlar om ständigt lärande och bevisföring av det man gör.

Lärande måste ske ständigt. Det räcker inte med att lära något på en kurs för att sedan kunna använda sig av det. Kunskap måste hållas fräsch och uppdateras. Där kommer ditt personal learning network eller PLN. Det är där du kan söka information, åsikter och bolla idéer. Lärande genom ett PLN blir då ett exempel på connected knowledge. Ett PLN blir då en del av det som Harold Jarche kallar Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) och fungerar på alla steg av Seek-Sense-Share ramverket som han har utvecklat.

Bevisföring kan i det här fallet också kallas öppna reflektioner eller lärande i publik. Reflektion är en extremt viktig del av lärandet och det som alla använder oavsett om dem tänker på det eller inte. Med mer medveten reflektion genom att diarieför tankar kan man externalisera dessa tankar och på så sätt utveckla dem ytterligare. Om en diskussion skulle uppstå har man ännu mer möjlighet att reflektera kring idéerna som presenterades. En blogg är ett utmärkt sätt att göra det på. Facebook kan också användas om man är med i intressanta grupper. LinkedIn är kanske det som är närmast flest människor i Sverige – många intressanter grupper, inlägg som inte är begränsade i antal tecken och många användare. Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Google Reader och Facebook är mina val för att samla intryck från omvärlden.

Det är egentligen Seek-Sense-Share som kan bli ramverket för bevisföringen om man gör det publikt. Genom Seek-Sense-Share inom ramverket för PKM kan man lära sig nya saker och om man diarieför aktiviteten så bygger du en online portfölj av din egen utveckling.

När du kan visa upp att:

  • du har intresse av att lära dig
  • du vill och kan ta hand om din egen kompetensutveckling
  • du deltar i andras utveckling också
så blir du mycket mer intressant att behålla eller anställa!
Hur samlar du intryck från omvärlden? Brukar du addera värde till retweets eller Facebook delningar?