Learning histories

Tomorrow and the day after, I will be in Groningen (at the top of the Netherlands) for a scientific conference about learning histories.

This is a concept and way of working generated by George Roth and Art Kleiner. Both will be speaking there.

It’s another testament to my geekiness. I doubt that it has found widespread adoption as a process. But it would be great if it did get more traction. “A learning history is a written document or series of documents that is disseminated to help an organisation become better aware of its own learning efforts.” (Roth/Kleiner, Systems Thinker, Volume 6) We use some of it in the discovery/diagnosis phase in working with clients.

The good people at the university have it in mind that this may be a good process to help bring about more sustainable societies too.

In that case, sadly, we’d be pointing out the absence of learning habits as societies, I am afraid, looking at the course of recent events.

But I am an optimist. So I’ll schlepp out there and bring my inner Nosey Parker.

For one, I’m looking forward to seeing Art again after quite some time. He and I worked together when I got one his books published in Dutch and translated it. I’ll talk about that book some other time.

Talking about learning histories: get your hands on his book The Age of Heretics if you can. That is a great overview of the history of the science of management. And another stark reminder of what happens if you take science out of the equation in any domain.

We dabble in the age of mumbo jumbo, in many domains, or so it seems to me, sometimes.

Can you break that down into 140 characters for me? No. I can’t, for good reason. I exist to solve interesting, complex problems with good people. That takes some time. I do hope I am doing a better job every day at breaking something down in about 500 words or so.

What could you learn if you wrote a learning history for your organisation? For yourself?

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