Organizational Serendipity

This is the follow-up site for participants in today's dialogs on informal learning.

Caution: Some of this material is controversial.

Catalysts to the discussion

    Informal learning is the unplanned, "unauthorized" learning that generally flies under the corporate radar. It includes such things as swapping information in the office kitchen or hallway, asking the person in the next cubicle, calling the help desk, watching someone else, trial & error, and calling teammates. People learn most of what it takes to do their jobs informally. Can we afford to leave this up to chance? Today's session addressed how to take advantage of informal learning to improve the bottom line.

    Complexity means that the world is more complicated than you thought and that you'll never have all the answers. Everything's connected and interacting. The future is unpredictable. Shit happens. Today's job is to solve the problems we're not yet aware of.

    Standard problem-solving limits our perspective and buries good things that are not part of the solution to the problem at hand. David Cooperrider says, "Once we describe something as a problem, we assume that we know what the ideal is - what should be - and we go in search of ways to close any 'gaps' - not to expand our knwledge or to build better ideals." As Einstein said, "Problems cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them." ADDIE is dead.

    Serendipity is a "happy accident." People can develop a state of mind that makes serendipity more likely, more frequent, and far more consequential. Fortune favors those who have a cause or mission and pursue it with sagacity, sensitivity, and wisdom. Applying this approach throughout an organization's culture prepares it to expect the unexpected, to notice what others miss, and to be receptive to impressions and intuitions.

    Positive psychology posits that we should stop relying on what we've learned from the mentally ill when advising people who are mentally healthy. Better to look at what makes happy people happy. Take this approach organizationally and you get Cooperrider's Appreciate Inquiry.

    Stories are a compelling way to share knowledge and learn informally. Stories are natural, entertaining, and engaging. When fully engaged, the readers' minds work in concert with the storyteller to focus entirely on generating the virtual world of the story. The power comes from propelling listeners to invent their own stories. Then they own the outcomes. "I liked the book better than the movie because the colors were better."


Emerging conclusions

  • Start from strength, not from problems.
  • Cultivate organizational serendipity.
  • Co-create stories to change the culture.
  • Fight bureaucracy creep and (of course) over-formalism.
  • Be aware that the issue is not formal or informal; it's formal and informal.

I will post more after this afternoon's session.

Posted by Jay Cross at September 10, 2003 12:11 PM | TrackBack

the encyclopedia of informal education is another good source of information.

Posted by: Jay at September 11, 2003 09:51 PM

cool stuff

Posted by: nifty erotic story at June 28, 2004 11:57 PM

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)

Subscribe to this Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe. We vow never to share your information with anyone. No Spam.

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Reference Pages

Building Community
CSS, Semantic Mark-Up, and codes
First Principles
How People Learn
Knowledge Management
Learning Links
Learning Standards
Making It Work (Implementing)
Metrics & ROI
Social Software
String theory
The eLearning Museum
Visual Learning


Our Infrequent Newsletter
Sign up for our sporadic newsletter.

Entries by category...

Customer care
Emergent Learning
Just Jay
Recycled from Blogger
The Industry
Workflow-based eLearning


Internet Time Group

© 2004 Internet Time Group

Click for Berkeley, California Forecast
Berkeley, California

Recent entries

New Blog
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Loosely Coupled
Above all
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Virtual Apps
Aerobic Learning
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
The Blogosphere
ASTD Silicon Valley
Performance Support
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
Inactive Blog
RSS Feed for New Site
Comment Spam
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Mutlimedia Learning
Damn, damn, double damn
Nonverbal impact?
The New Religion
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Really Big
Business Process Management Conference
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Who Knows?
Cognitive Mapping
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
Art Break
TDF Finale
New Community of Practice Forming
More TDF04
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
PlaNetwork LIVE
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Upcoming Events
eLearning Effectiveness?
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
Knowledge Tips
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
User indifference
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
Windows fixes
The Alchemy of Growth
Grab bag
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
China Bloggers
Sonoma Dreaming
Upcoming Events
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics
e-Merging e-Learning
Loosely Coupled
Search me