March 7, 2007
March 7, 2007
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December 24, 2006
|Timeline of Learning Organization Concepts|
|If there are events or concepts you think should be included in this timeline, email us. Like “open source” software, the more people contribute to it, the more value it will gain. We’re trying to, as Dance of Change contributor Daniel Kim puts it, “capture the whole story before it becomes completely lost.” Eventually we’ll post the entire timeline here on the web site.|
|1938||In his book Experience and Education, John Dewey publishes the concept of experiential learning as an ongoing cycle of activity.|
|1947s||Macys Conferences organized by Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson and Lawrence Kubie bring “systems thinking” to the awareness of a cross-disciplinary group of key intellectuals.|
|1940s||Scottish psychologist Kenneth Craik coins the term “mental models,” which later makes its way to MIT through Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert.|
|1946||National Training Laboratories co-founder Kurt Lewin proposes idea of “creative tension” between a person’s vision and sense of reality.|
|1956||Jay Forrester begins developing “system dynamics”|
|Ed Schein’s research on brainwashing in Korea paves way for understanding of process consultation.|
|1960||The Human Side of Enterprise (Douglas McGregor) is published.|
|1961||Industrial Dynamics (Jay Forrester) is published. This first major application of system dynamics to corporations, describes the turbulence of orders in a typical appliance value chain.|
|1964||MIT graduate students develop the “beer game” to illustrate Industrial Dynamics, one of the first simulations of systems (conveniently converting toasters to beer)|
|1969||Urban Dynamics (Jay Forrester) is published, codifying the “Shifting the Burden” archetype|
|1970||Chris Argyris and Donald Schön begin their collaboration into “Action Science,” the study of how espoused values clash with the values that underlie real actions.|
|1972||Limits to Growth (Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, et al) is published, applying Forrester’s systems dyuamics to the “world problematique” for the Club of Rome, triggering a furious reaction from economists.|
|1973||Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn (Don Michael) is published, a book for policy makers that sets out the idea of organizational learning for the first time.|
|1971-1975||Erhard training seminars (est) demonstrate the powerful attitude shifts that can come about in a seminar lasting several days.|
|1974||Theory in Practice (Chris Argyris, Donald A. Schön) is published.|
|1975||“Management change” consultant Charlie Kiefer, Forrester student Peter Senge, and “creative process” researcher/artist Robert Fritz design the “leadership and mastery” seminar that becomes the focal point of their new consulting firm, Innovation Associates.|
|1982||Working at Procter & Gamble, and helping them follow up their famously secretive sociotechnical systems work, Forrester alumna and Innovation Associates consultant Jennifer Kemeny, along with Kiefer and Senge, develops the “systems archetypes” — a technique for translating system dynamics complexities into relatively simple conversation-starters.|
|Pierre Wack, scenario planner at Royal Dutch/Shell, spends a sabbatical at Harvard Business School, and for the first time writes his article about scenario practice as a learning activity.|
|1984||Senge, Arie de Geus, Hanover Insurance CEO Bill O’Brien, Analog Devices CEO Ray Stata, and other executive leaders form a learning organization study group, meeting regularly at MIT.|
|1985||Action Science (Chris Argyris, Robert Putnam, Diana McLain Smith) is published.|
|1987||Drawing on this group’s work, Senge and de Geus begin working on a book together, brokered by Shell networker Napier Collyns, who introduces them to Doubleday editor Harriet Rubin. de Geus publishes his ideas in a key Harvard Business Review article, called “Planning as Learning,” in which he concludes, “The greatest competitive advantage for any organization is its ability to learn.”|
|1988||Peter Schwartz, Stewart Brand, Napier Collyns, Jay Ogilvy, and Lawrence Wilkinson form the networked organization Global Business Network, with a charter to foster organizational learning through scenario planning.|
|1989||Senge and de Geus decide that they should develop separate books. Senge finishes his manuscript, for a book ultimately titled The Fifth Discipline, a few months after his second son is born.|
|Oxford University management scholar Bill Isaacs, an associate of quantum physicist David Bohm’s, introduces Senge to Bohm and to the concept of dialogue as a process for building team capability.|
|The Center for Organizational Learning is formed at MIT, with Senge as director, and with Ed Schein, Chris Argyris, Arie de Geus, Ray Stata, and Bill O’Brien as key advisors and governors. The research staff of the “learning center,” as it’s called, includes Daniel Kim and systems researcher Janet Gould; later, Bill Isaacs, Fred Kofman, and future “Dance of Change” coauthor George Roth will join the staff.|
|Daniel Kim, MIT researcher on the links between learning organization work and the quality movement, cofounds the Sytems Thinker newsletter, the first ongoing publication of “fifth discipline” – related issues with writer/editor Colleen Lannon-Kim. The parent organization, Pegasus Communictions, launches an annual Systems Thinking in Action Conference the following year.|
|The Age of Unreason (Charles Handy) is published.|
|1990||The Fifth Discipline is published, drawing upon a large body of work: system dynamics, “personal mastery” (based on Fritz’ work and the concept of creative tension), mental models (based on Wack’s and Argyris’ work), shared vision (drawing on the organizational change traditions at Innovation Associates), and team learning (drawing on dialogue and David Bohm’s concepts).|
|1992||The popularity of the “learning organization” community is recognized when 350 people from around the world gather for four days at a conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.|
|1993||Harvard University professor David Garvin publishes an article in the Harvard Business Review on organizational learning, arguing that only learning that can be measured will be useful to managers.|
|1994||-The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook is published. Its authors include Peter Senge along with longstanding learning organization consultants Charlotte Roberts, Rick Ross, and Bryan Smith (who is also the president of Innovation Associates of Canada), along with writer Art Kleiner, who becomes editorial director. The “Fieldbook” concept becomes a new management book genre.|
|Philip J. Carroll becomes CEO of Shell Oil Company, and fosters a four-year “transformation” initiative that will involve Shell Oil deeply with organizational learning.|
|The innovation of “learning histories,” a method of using oral history techniques to assess organizational learning, begins at the Center for Organizational Learning.|
|1995||The first major visible Organizational Learning Center projects are finished. Many of them have produced remarkable results, but they also have led to disappointing career prospects for the line leaders who invested in them —particularly for the two featured in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, the 1994 Ford Lincoln Continental and the GS Technologies dialogue project.|
|The Organizational Learning Center begins a two year process, working with Dee Hock, a founding CEO of VISA, to spring out into a more general international consortium called the Society for Organizational Learning. Peter Senge is named the first chairperson of SoL’s elected governing council.|
|A series of workshops and sessions take place, building on sessions that started in 1993 at the Learning Center, then at the Society for Organizational Learning, and then sponsored by the Fieldbook authors, to develop a better understanding of the forces that make it difficult to sustain organizational learning (and other change) projects. These lead to an unpublished paper, “The Ecology of Leadership,” by Peter Senge, which develops the idea of innate “challenges of profound change.”|
|1996||Arthur D. Little buys Innovation Associates; it is one of several consulting firms (others include Anderson Consulting and Ernst & Young) that invest heavily in building “learning organization” capability.|
|The Age of Heretics (Art Kleiner) is published;
Synchronicity (Joe Jaworski) is published.
|1997||Jack Welch asserts in the General Electric annual report that GE’s only competitive advantage is its ability to learn.|
|The Living Company (Arie de Geus) is published.|
|1999||The Dance of Change, built around ten “Challenges of Profound Change,” is published.|
Also, the Ten Challenges
|The Ten Challenges|
|System Map: Exclusive to this web site, and not available anywhere else, is a single map of all the “ten challenges” put together. This is a .pdf file. If you don’t have Acrobat 4.0, go to Adobe’s web site for a free download: www.adobe.com.|
|Challenges of Initiating
These challenges are often sufficient to prevent growth from occurring, almost before it starts. They are consistently encountered at the early stages of significant organizational change. The capabilities to deal with them must be developed under high pressure; but in managing these challenges effectively, organizations develop capabilities much sooner than otherwise for dealing with challenges down the road.
|1||Not Enough Time:”We don’t have time for this stuff!”
This is the challenge of control over one’s time. This challenge is represents a valuable opportunity for reframing the way that workplaces are organized, to provide flexibility and time for reflection and innovation.
|2||No Help: “We’re like the blind leading the blind!”
Some managers believe that asking for help is a sign of incompetence; others are unaware of the coaching and support they need. Meeting this challenge means building the capabilities for finding the right help, and for mentoring each other to develop successful innovations.
|3||Not Relevant: “Why are we doing this stuff?”
A top priority for pilot groups is a clear, compelling case for learning and change. If people are not sufficiently committed to an initiative’s goals, a “commitment gap” develops and they will not take part wholeheartedly. Building relevance depends on candid conversations about the reasons for change and the commitments people can make.
|4||“Walking the Talk” – Leadership values
What happens when there is a mismatch between the things the boss says and his or her actual behavior? People do not expect perfection, but they recognize when leaders are not sincere or open. If executive and line leaders do not provide an atmosphere of trust and authenticity, then genuine change cannot move forward.
|Challenges of Sustaining Momentum
These challenges occur sometime during the first year or two, when the group has clear goals and has discovered that new methods save more than enough time to put them into practice. Now the pilot group’s real troubles begin. Sustained activity confronts boundaries – between the work of the pilot group and “internal” attitudes and beliefs, and between the pilot group’s needs and the larger-scale company’s values and ways of measuring success.
|5||Fear and Anxiety: “This suff is —-”
The blanks represent the fact that everyone expresses their fear and anxiety with a different form of defensiveness.) How do you deal with the concerns of team members about exposure, vulnerability and inadequacy, triggered by the conflicts between increasing levels of candor and openness and low levels of trust? This is one of the most frequently faced challenges and the most difficult to overcome.
|6||Assessment and Measurement: “This stuff isn’t working”
How do you deal with the disconnect between the tangible (but unfamiliar) achievements of a pilot group and the organization’s traditional ways of measuring success?
|7||Believers and Nonbelievers: “We have the right way!” say pilot group members. “They’re acting like a cult!” say their other colleagues and peers.
Riding on a wave of early success, speaking their own language, the pilot group becomes increasingly isolated from the rest of the organization. Outsiders, meanwhile, are put off and then turned off by the new, unfamiliar approaches and behavior. These misunderstandings easily accelerate into unnecessary, but nearly unavoidable, opposition.
|Challenges of Systemwide Redesgin and Rethinking
These challenges appear as a pilot group’s work gains broader credibility and confronts the established internal infrastructure and practices of the organization.
|8||Governance: “They won’t give up the power.”
As the pilot group’s capabilities and activities increase, it runs into the priorities and established processes of the rest of the organization. This leads to conflicts over power and autonomy and to a destructive, “us-versus-them” dynamic that nobody wants – and that could be avoided if the capabilities are in place for organizational redesign.
|9||Diffusion: “We keep reinventig the wheel!”
Unless organizations learn to recognize and deal with their mysterious, almost unnoticed inability to transfer knowledge across organizational boundaries, people around the system will not build upon each other’s successes.
|10||Strategy and Purpose: “Where are we going? and “What are we here for?”
How do you revitalize and rethink the organization’s intended direction for success, its’ contribution to its community and its future identity? How do you improve the processes of conversation that lead people to articulate and refine their aspirations and goals for achieving them?
December 23, 2006
posted in error
December 20, 2006
December 13, 2006
June 23rd, 2006
Today’s session looked at communities of practice, everything from Alcoholics Anonymous to the Boy Scouts. I think we packed more wisdom into our 90 minutes today than you’d get from reading a book or taking a semester-long course on the subject. Go to the wiki. Listen to the recording.
This is us. The connectors are Skype contacts with one another. We also read one another’s blogs, talk a little during our bi-weeklly sessions, and sometimes post to the wiki. This is the start of a community but it hasn’t reached critical mass.
Our task for Monday is more open-ended than most. We’re going to focus on making ours a vibrant, living community — or perhaps decide that this isn’t really a good fit with our current situation in life and remain passive.
See the front page of the wiki for your starting point. Set aside a few hours to take this seriously. If you want to learn, that’s the price. Attending the seminar sessions and not following through with others in the group and on your blog isn’t worth squat: you’d be missing the best part.
What goes where?
Please read Jim’s and Jennifer’s posts to their blogs this afternoon — and then add your own.
There’s a fine line between giving members of a community freedom and creating confusion by not establishing boundaries. Jennifer makes the point that we aren’t clear about where our conversation should take place: the wiki, the blogs, the Google Group, individual Skype calls, the Pub or by email? In a community that builds over time, members define their group’s norms by their actions. If no one emails but the Pub is a hot-bed of activity, the Pub survives. Our group doesn’t have time for things to self-organize, so I’ll tell you how I see it.
The informl wiki is the town square of our community. It’s our home page. When something important is added, let’s note that on the front page of the wiki. Looking for the link to an event? Check the wiki. The wiki is also our repository for lessons learned and new discoveries. This is a shared resources, our own Wikipedia. Add to it; make it better. Want to start a discussion? Do it on the wiki.
Google Groups is an announcement service. Use it only when you want to send a message to everyone. Google Groups is not a good way to communicate with one or two people; use email for that. People have said Google Groups is confusing. My suggestion: don’t even go there. Think of it as a mailing service. Don’t let it distract you — but do note how it works because you may want to add something like this to a program you design. I will write most of the messages.
Skype is our primary one-to-one or small group discussion tool. It’s free. It’s not complicated. It’s personal. Use it. Call a couple of people a week. You don’t need an excuse: just do it. At your suggestion, I’ve put you into three groups. (See the wiki.) Call the people in your group. If you color outside the lines, call people not in your group.
You’re already accustomed to email. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. But we’re not going to use email much among ourselves because we are focusing on experimenting with what we don’t know. Same goes for the telephone.
Blogs are your means of personal expression. When you have an ah-ha, share it with the rest of us by putting it on your blog. Blogs are so useful, as reference material, as a platform for expression, as input to knowledge systems, and more, that you owe it to yourself to get to know them. Until you’ve made at least a dozen posts, you really don’t know what it’s all about. Put a picture on your blog.
The aggregator is a handy way to read blogs, but not something that takes any additional effort.
December 13, 2006
Steve Rubell (PR guy) posted this list of 35 things you can do with RSS feeds (in addition to keeping up with blogs):
1. Track drunk athletes (RSS)
2. Identify key blog phrases and themes (RSS)
3. Real-time severe weather alerts (RSS)
4. Subscribe to personal reminders
5. See what sports is on HDTV tonight (RSS)
6. Get notified when that must-have item pops up on eBay (RSS)
7. Watch for new music on iTunes (RSS)
8. Monitor for airport delays (RSS)
9. Track new software releases (RSS)
10. Subscribe to movie reviews (RSS)
11. Watch for cheap Travelocity airfares or on Expedia
12. Get the latest currency exchange rates (RSS)
13. Subscribe to traffic updates (RSS)
14. Read the Bible one verse at a time (RSS)
15. Check out new recipes that come to you (RSS)
16. Track your favorite baseball team
17. Track your favorite football team
18. Track your favorite basketball team
19. Track your favorite hockey team
20. Get your horoscope (RSS)
21. Monitor the latest on bird flu (RSS)
22. Assess the latest computer threats (RSS)
23. Track the latest video games for Xbox (RSS) or Playstation (RSS)
24. Get the tides for virtually any coast in the world
25. Read the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci one day at a time (RSS)
26. Subscribe to TV listings
27. Track the latest questions on Yahoo Answers (RSS)
28. Subscribe to tee times (RSS)
29. Peruse the latest photos on Flickr (RSS)
30. Scan the latest videos on YouTube (RSS)
31. Get hotel deals from Marriott (RSS)
32. Learn a new word every day using RSS (RSS)
33. Track the latest sales with Dealcatcher (RSS)
34. Subscribe to the Target circular (RSS)
35. Track the latest uses for RSS