So you want to build a learning organization…

Easier said than done.

What does it actually mean? Are you learning from experience and always putting in place new practices based on newfound knowledge? If so, how do you manage the constant change this flexibility generates? What processes do you have in place to capture the learning and put it into action the next go-around?

Are you sharing knowledge between individuals, such as a more experienced staff person sharing with a less experienced? Or a person with the latest skills training the old dogs new tricks? Either way, how is this done?

Are you hoping to transfer knowledge based on relationships that have been built over the years? How do you download the inner social network of a senior team member when they don’t even know what might be useful until something triggers a memory that they conveniently dredge up when the need arises.

What are the best ways to share knowledge not just within an organization but also between organizations – such as nonprofits that are working towards a similar or common cause but approaching it in different ways or in different geographical locations? How do we create a natural flow of information from those with knowledge to those that are seeking it? How do we prevent duplication, overlap, and reinventing the wheel? Are the old methods of convening people in a space and guiding the conversation the best, or are the new whizz-bang virtual meeting tools really as useful as they claim to be?

My goal: sharing knowledge creatively (photo: Carla Funk, 2009)

I’ll be exploring these kinds of questions for a while. So many questions on knowledge transfer and mobilization, and when you look, so many answers. None of them seem quite right or complete though. More to come so watch this space …

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