Category Archives: The Future

Brain matters

Brain Matters 2015 bannerpngEducators from Around the World Discuss How to Make Everyone a Genius at Brain Matters 2015: Bring Out Your Inner Genius

Online conference is expected to draw a diverse group of learning experts

Tuesday, November 10 at 9:00 AM EST and Wednesday, November 11 at 9:00 AM EST

Author Margie Meacham will present Brain Matters 2015: Bring Out Your Inner Genius, an online conference, on Tuesday, November 10 and Wednesday, November 11, 2015.  This highly interactive virtual conference explores the nature of genius through the lens of neuroscience.  A panel of esteemed learning experts discuss what is unique about the genius brain and how people can train their own brains to bring out their own genius-level performance. Attendees will get a deeper understanding of their own brains and some practical tips for achieving peak performance. Attendees can post questions and comments, watch video, collaborate on a white board or join in the discussion. Registered attendees can also visit the virtual expo, where they can interact with the speakers.  General admission for both days of the online conference is $147.  Registration is open to the general public and now available at

I'm speaking

I’ll be talking about Real Learning at noon Pacific/3 p.m. Eastern on November 10.

If you’re interested in attending, email me. I may be able to scare up a few free passes.

Imagining the internet. It’s what futurists do.

The 2014 Survey: Impacts of AI and robotics by 2025

A very good read. Opinions from all the hot shots. VInt Cerf, Jerry Michalski, Ben Schneiderman, Hal Varian, Howard Rheingold, Tiffany Shlain, Stowe Boyd, JP Rangaswami, John Markoff, danah boyd, Doc Searles, and more.

My contribution was chopped to three sentences:

Jay Cross, chief scientist at Internet Time Group, responded, “The nature of work will change. Heaven only knows what comes after the service economy but it won’t be mass unemployment. Perhaps finally people will only need to work a few hours a day.”


Future of Education 2020 Summit

mastheadcollegesiloAt a Stanford education conference this morning, speakers made presentation after presentation without once involving the audience, not even asking for questions. For the first couple of hours there was zero audience participation. Finally, following a panel session, we were invited to stand at a microphone if we had questions. Naturally, I was first in line.

I explained that I came to this event as an outsider. I am not an academic. In fact, my corporate title is “Chief Unlearning Officer.” A speaker had mentioned silos, referring to departments at schools. I said I felt like I was in a college silo. It’s as if the world outside didn’t exist.

Take STEM (Science, tech, engineering, math). All of these folks are vitally interested in STEM. After all, that’s what the Gates Foundation, the NSF, and the other benefactors are paying them hundreds of millions to produce. I said I don’t get it. The shelf life of STEM knowledge is about the same as for French mustard, several years. After that, the mustard begins to smell funny and the STEM knowledge is obsolete.

I didn’t mention my suspicion that STEM dumbs down education. It’s explicit knowledge. Life’s grand lessons are largely tacit. Besides, isn’t STEM often the algorithmic knowledge that robots are going to being doing in a few years? When that happens, lots of STEM grads may find themselves in the position of John Henry, the steel-drivin’ man. Nobody here was talking about liberal arts and continuing the culture.

Consider the role of STEM education in someone’s career arc. A career is a marathon. College teaches people to run the first 100 yards. Running the rest of the race is the individual’s problem.

“But we are working with industry,” replied the panel. Oh yeah? People have been touting big data as the ultimate quality control and planning tool in education. Are any of you looking at big data on people outside your walls? Correlating education with what happens after graduation? No; it’s a closed system.

Big data can help Arizona State University refine their algebra course to near perfection, but unless they go off campus to look at the world of work, no data will tell them whether algebra is worth studying at all. (I love Roger Schank’s putdown of the quadratic equation. When’s the last time you had to solve for AX2 + BX +C = 0?)

How’s the water?

It was troubling to hear one person after another lecture about learning more about how people learn whlle violating most of the principles we already know. Aside from the Push format, problems included no hashtag, no Tweeting, no backchannel, no power outlets, inoperable wi-fi (for me, at least), slow wi-fi at the podium cut several presentations short, weak visuals overall, and no encouragement to network online (although many probably already know one another). I don’t know how someone as astute at Peter Norvig could sit through an entire day of this stuff.

A few highlights. The president of Capella talked of converting their curriculum to competencies. Competencies can be counted up after the fact to give credit for courses. I suggested he wasn’t going for enough. Who needs courses? He wisely pointed out that accrediting bodies have a fixed mindset on this one.

Arizona State has put an entire first year curriculum on line. For free. Pass a course, no matter how many tries it takes, and you can pay a fee for credits. He sees no reason the entire four years shouldn’t go online this way. (And the guy from Capella suggested that as in the UK, we could probably have three-year bachelor degrees without losing that much.)

True to form, the LMS vendor supporting the show twisted the definition of “informal learning” so it could claim to have some:


What’s informal about purpose-built content? Most people probably missed this because next up was a hip-hop singer who claimed to be a customer of the LMS (he lists his tracks there). Naturally, he had put together a song for us. As he began his incomprehensible lyric, the batteries on my hearing aids ran out and I bailed out from the event.

The other attendees seemed quite satisfied, even impressed. “Brilliant presentations.” I guess events like this are de rigueur.

The Stanford campus is beautiful, the weather cooperated perfectly, and nobody was keeping score.


Wisdom 2.0: Mindfulness and business

Wisdom 2.0 Conference, San Francisco, February 27 – March 1.w21

Billed as “the intersection of wisdom and technology,” the Wisdom 2.0 conference drew 2,500 people who spent $625 for two and a half days of secular Buddhism.

I am interested in the interaction of mindfulness and business. Mindfulness – the opposite of mindlessness – is a natural component of Working Smarterw2-2

I generally sit in the front row at conferences. You can see better and often get to schmooze with speakers. But this time I opted for…w2-11

…the bean bag chairs in front of the front row. I spent most of the main stage sessions on my back, Mac balanced on my knees.

w2-5When I got tired of the main sessions, I’d head to Inspiration Village.


Part of the Village was set up as summer camp. Let’s play.




In the hallway outside, four Tibetan monks made an elaborate sand mandala. w2-10

Jack Kornfeld seemed so authentic and emotion-laden, not what I expected from a meditation leader. “Quiet your mind.”


Richard Davidson spoke on Well-being as a Skill. He reported on progress in neuroscience, a field that has come a long way in 20 years. What’s important?

  • neuroplasticity. need to intentionally cultivate it. take advantage to if.
  • genomics. epigenetics: how genes are expressed. can change this through experience. eights hours of practice is enough to change the brain. had thought brain was fixed.
  • bidirectional highway between mind and body. how alterations in the body will feedback back to the brain. data are clear. cultivating well being will change the brain in ways that change the body.
  • we come into the world with innate basic goodness. Animals demonstrate basic goodness as well.

Well being is a skill. You can get better at it.

47% go through life without thinking about what they’re doing.They report as unhappy.

Which kinds of people need which type of practice?


Sherry Turkle, advocate of face-to-face communications, ironically the only person to use PowerPoint, had this unscientific view of artificial reality. The slide drew applause.


Eileen Fisher advised us all to shut our eyes and take a deep breath. She rang finger cymbals to bring us back.16065114033_26cc9aa59b_z

Eileen has a daily practice. At age 64, she feels more energetic than twenty years ago. Her aim: to feel totally in my body.

Her employees take two days a year for spiritual retreats.

Blackrock, at $4.7 trillion and 12,000 employees, is the world’s largest asset manager. They’ve popularized meditation sessions 30 minutes, taking place in conference rooms around the world. Employees receive weekly emails with tips. Mindfulness is a topic at leadership off sites.

How do we bridge the gap between mindfulness and business?

Starbucks is the “perfect environment for exploring mindfulness.”

Their mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

(see mission statement)

100% said the campaign was very effective. Partners are hungry for mindfulness. Able to make it real, mesh authentically with others.

Barristas love it. It’s taking a life of its own. Bubbles up, organic.

16477779127_836797b6dc_zNeed a break? Visit the Meditation Studio.


Flashing lights and booming noises didn’t help me meditate. For $249, you can try it for yourself.16498921319_1ce0164f4d_z

BuHaGirl, which appears to make yoga bangles, was a major sponsor and had an exotic tent set up in the Inspiration Village.16065117023_24fd67b993_z


The Mandala nears completion.


Googler Chang-Meng Tan

Born at Google and based on brain science, SIY uses the practices of mindfulness to train Emotional Intelligence skills, leading to resilience, positive mindset, and centered leadership. In the midst of complexity, it’s about finding the inner capacity to create, to thrive, to lead. And it’s surprisingly fun. Backed by some of the world’s leading experts in neuroscience and mindfulness, SIY is changing thousands of lives in over a dozen countries.

With that vision in mind, Meng connected with Daniel Goleman and Jon Kabat Zinn to develop a unique program for Google. He then assembled a team that included mindfulness teachers, business executives and scientists. The Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program was born and launched, refined and tested over four years at Google, where it is currently one of the most popular, impactful and highly rated programs focused on wellbeing and sustainable high-performance.

Mindfulness in Business

“Once upon a time I was young….  I joined a startup called Google.”

Mindfulness day. Search Inside Yourself.

All leaders in the world are wise and compassionate, thus creating the conditions for world peace

Need to define wisdom + compassion.


  • Clarity and insight to know what to do.
  • Calm mind. Leadership: the ability to think under fire.
  • Self-awareness. Seeing beyond self


  • Beautiful intentions (do no harm, ahimsa). Generosity.
  • Loving kindness. (The wish for others to be happy). Create inner joy. It’s born of kindness. 
  • Compassionate action.

All of these are born of mindfulness. Self as process.

Business at its best is about helping people.

The best leader makes the team shine. They practice wisdom, impersonate


Video of the event is here.

Does mindfulness have a place in business? Not yet but it’s inevitable.

pendulumThe focus of business is shifting from Institutions to Individuals. Mindfulness helps individuals perform better — and be happier and more fulfilled.

Mindfulness shares many values with Working Smarter, digital transformation, social business, and Product Knowledge Mastery, for example openness, transparency, and self-determination.

Years ago, a professor named Herbert Benson wrote a book and a compelling article in Harvard Business Review on The Relaxation Response. He met with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Here’s the message: repeat a mantra; assume a passive attitude. A best seller in 1975, this Buddhism-without-the-Buddha book has faded from the scene but it leaves us a valuable lesson: putting the mantra in English makes the practice of meditation more acceptable to business people. (Benson’s medical school colleague had refused t meet with the maharishi.)

Mindfulness will go mainstream; it’s that essential a practice. I don’t think it’s going to win executive hearts and minds until we separate it from the Tibetan monks, BuDaGirl bracelets, and Patchouli oil.

Future of Conferences: Why People Attend

I’m investigating the future of f2f conferences. Will conferences be disrupted à la newspaper business? Will successful events become communities instead of one-shot deals? What’s the future for L&D conferences, say five years out? How can we make conferences more effective?


First of all, Why do people attend conferences?

Participants attend conferences to network and to learn. Specifically, they attend to:

  • Meet face-to-face with peers
  • Gather information about products, techniques, trends
  • Develop in their careers, see and be seen
  • Get the latest news, find out what’s hot and what’s not
  • Learn techniques and practices to apply back home
  • Socialize with members of their profession
  • Find out about new products, kick the tires, hear from vendors
  • Learn the basics of L&D from experts
  • Attend workshops and be certified
  • Get out of the office day-to-day scramble, retreat, break routine
  • Expose mind to new ideas from other fields
  • Add people to personal and problem-solving networks
  • Build reputation in the industry (speaking, presenting papers)
  • Represent one’s company as a leader
  • Pick up an award for performance for your company or product
  • Hunt for a job, add potential hirers and hiring companies to personal network
  • Renew acquaintances with old friends, refresh the Rolodex
  • Learn a particular skill to apply back home
  • Corporate has already picked up the bill; it’s a free-ride, time off
  • Form opinions on Big Data, informal learning, LMS, Open API, MOOCs, and other buzz-topics
  • Basic foundation skills for those new to the field: ROI, design, media
  • Earn a Certificate to put on the wall
  • Peruse recent books, meet authors, buy trade books
  • Prestige of being the employer’s representative
  • Another “Badge” 
  • Drink with pals
  • Be treated by exhibitors
  • Gossip about vendors and peers
  • Free drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres
  • Chance to brag about accomplishments
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Set benchmarks, compare employer to others
  • Introduce new products and concepts, e.g. The Experience API
  • Allay fears of missing out
  • Visit exciting cities like New Orleans, San Francisco, and (for some) DisneyWorld
  • Meet with vendors, see demos, compare products
  • Have fun!

What have I missed? Why do you attend conferences?

As with learning, conference-going is a much different experience for an experienced participant than for a newbie. The newbie will be enthralled to hear to likes of Ken Blanchard and Bob Pike. They’re inspiring speakers with great foundational messages. The veteran has heard it all before, perhaps from those same guys, and hangs out in the hallways, not the breakout rooms.

My gut tells me people attend conferences for Learning, Networking, Career Development, and Socializing. These activities blur into one another. The unifying theme is learning, the participant learning how to improve performance and fulfillment on the job.


Related: my Scoop on the future of conferences.

Timing is Everything

Your perspective on time is vital to the way you make decisions and lead your life. Right now your mind is looking to the past for viable solutions or monitoring present resources or scanning the future for new opportunities. You’re shaped by your focus on what’s gone by, what’s here now, or what’s coming next.


The MindTime Project has devoted two decades to studying these three time perspectives. They’ve derived a simple diagnostic tool that can pinpoint your time perspective in less than a minute.

Try it. Are you a past thinker, a present thinker, or a future thinker?

Past thinkers gather as much data as possible and are concerned with accuracy and truth. They refuse to take anything at face value. Refusing to trust that “everything will work out,” they attempt to reduce the risk of negative outcomes. They are reflective.

Present thinkers take action and seek control over unfolding events. They abhor chaos and confusion and are driven to establish balance and order, create structure, and get things done. They are practical.

Future thinkers are open to possibilities. They seek out new opportunities and intuit what the future will bring. They are visionaries who promote their visions with enthusiasm and energy. They push the limits of what is known and understood. They are imaginative.

Understanding where you stand on the time horizon is enlightening, but the big payoff comes when you interact with others. For example, I’m a future thinker. That explains why I get upset with Past thinkers who slam me for not providing footnotes and with Present thinkers who want to hold up the show for something I consider inconsequential. The MindTime Framework helps me understand where the others are coming from and appreciate how to work with them.

mindtime(image Copyright 2009 MIndTime)

MindTime can create maps of your organization that reveal the invisible thinking forces that are moving you forward or holding you back. You saw such a map of Chief Learning Officer readers who took the time Profile earlier. How well do you get along with this group? Think about it at the next CLO Symposium.

A landmark study by ASTD and IBM interviewed CLOs and CxOs at 26 leading companies across 11 industries (see The C-level and the Value of Learning, T+D magazine, October 2005). Reading between the lines, the CXOs appear to be Future thinkers; the CLOs are Past and Present thinkers.

C-level officers want their CLO to build the foundation for transforming the company not just to get people up to speed on today’s needs.

The researchers asked how the learning function contributed value to three strategically important business needs: accelerating growth, enabling transformation, and increasing productivity.

The CLOs reported that most learning was technical and focused on skills; training enables the organization to operate. The CxOs said they expected CLOs to lead, not respond. CxOs saw learning as the major investment in driving their businesses forward. Quotations from the study highlight the gap between the two groups’ expectations.

CxOs said,

“The learning function has to become more strategic, otherwise it is an unaffordable luxury.”

“Learning has to bring customers and along the change journey. It has to build the platform to enable us to change the business.”

“CLOs need to build capabilities to address future challenges of the enterprise.”

CLOs said,

“The strategic value of learning is to reduce the cost of turnover and increased employee engagement.”

“The business plan for learning ties directly to business unit goals. Also incorporate our roll-up of individuals’ development plans.”

“CLOs are focused on performance and talent issues related to the current needs of business units.”

Now that you know your time perspective, MindTime suggests you think about your role in your organization. How can you make your particular way of thinking an asset to the group and a contribution to the greater purpose? By being aware of your creative role.

Your thinking style tells you where to look for your most important gift — and what you have to offer others. Vision truth, and productivity: these are the universal values that make a company effective.

For a management team to be successful, each value must be present and respected:

If you are a Future thinker, your role is to carry the vision and ensure that your group embraces innovation, creativity, and receptivity to change.

If you are a Past thinker, your role is to gather true and accurate information and make sure the group considers it carefully.

If your a Present thinker, your role is to help things get moving, and your focus is on planning, low, and harmony.


cloAn edited version of this article appears in the December 2013 issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine.

Doug Engelbart, we salute you!

Doug Engelbart
This evening in Palo Alto a group of us in mourning for Doug Engelbart took part in an X-game to celebrate his values and, we hope, carry them far, far, far into the future. A tiny fraction of the time capsule:

When Doug was a young man, he staked out his mission and despite all odds, he never wavered. His vision was audaciously grand, so the cards aren’t played out yet, but his unwavering dedication is beyond awesome.

Moore’s Law should really be known as Engelbart’s Law. (Moore once said so himself.) Doug made us appreciate scaling.

For Doug, connecting hearts and minds was the obvious way to augment human intellect. Bill Gates (“A pc on every desk”) and Steve Jobs (closed Mac) didn’t get it. Neither did most of us until the internet spewed it in our faces. Doug’s office was one of the original two nodes.

Doug, we’re working to keep your flame alive.

Doug Engelbart
Photo by Bill Daul

Future of Talent

A few notes from the Future of Talent Institute‘s 2013 retreat at Marconi Center.

Serendipity powers pull.

The culture question: recruit people to preserve it or to change it?

Bring coyotes (disrupters) to meetings.

“Just let me do good work,” says the new generation.

Meet without a goal. Just listen.

Robotics is not about replacing humans; it’s about picking the right apps to augment humans.

Innovation is the Holy Grail.

Google criteria for hiring: 1. passion for the work, 2. demonstrated ability to do things, 3. eager to learn and able to unlearn

Big data: where the Google criteria came from.

Crumbling hierarchies.

Concept of employee is in question.

New org structures: pods, holocracy, agile, teams à la Hollywood.

The net is your resume. Your network is your references.

Read: Race Against the Machine (McAfee)

Demographics don’t matter at the edges of the extended enterprise. Why should they matter in the core?

Future of Talent is one of my top professional development activities year after year. If you’re into big picture HR, consider joining us next year.

Time and MindTime (2)

My previous post addressed time in general. Now I am am going to write about time and you: how you deal with time, how it helps you make progress and where it holds you back, and how it help or hurts your relationship with other people.

I’ll be drawing on nearly two decades of investigation by John Furey and his company, MindTime, that is summarized on the web and in this book:


Your time perspective influences your every thought. How important is the past, which you can be certain of but may not be replicated going forward? How important is the now, which is the only point in time where you are going to actually take action? And how important are the uncertain opportunities of the future? The different weights we assign to past, present and future define who we are.



This morning I answered a few questions online to determine my TimeStyle Profile, a “GPS for the Mind™, that measures the degree to which I utilize future, past, and present thinking perspectives. I tend to be a future thinker:




MindTime can tell a lot about my thinking from my Profile. If you know me, you’ll probably agree that this description fits:


Quick and energetic.


Innovative ideas in high quantities, ingenuity, intuition, spontaneity and impulsiveness, an embrace of opportunities, exploration, and a drive toward change.
Dominant Future thinking manifests as – Vision, innovation, ingenuity, idea generation, spontaneity and impulsivity, an embrace of opportunities, exploration, and a drive toward change.


You are a visionary and are always on the lookout for new opportunities. Your fast-paced thinking tempo allows you to generate ideas easily, although your thoughts may be all over the place. You are known for innovation and ingenuity and you love to brainstorm. Your dynamic thinking tempo also makes you someone who is driven to explore: you are spontaneous and impulsive, a person who makes decisions quickly and who likes to keep your options open. You are generally outgoing and persuasive, cheerful and high spirited, energetic and active. You tend to start more than you can finish and are good at multi-tasking; however, you tend to wait until the last minute to meet a deadline. You are a natural and dynamic leader who manages others through inspiration.

Possible Challenges:

  • Completing what you’ve started is difficult, since you tend to start so much.
  • Living with the status quo is sometimes uncomfortable, as you are stimulated by change and inspired to participate in it.
  • Taking time to reflect on what you’ve heard and gathering your thoughts before speaking and taking action.
  • Sticking with a plan, since doing so means ignoring opportunities along the way.

Your Values
As someone who relies primarily on your Future thinking perspective, you tend to value change, innovation, opportunity, flexibility, spontaneity, and ideas. All of these are values that by their very nature embrace that which is to come and the possibilities that will unfold in the future. These values are idealistic and do not have the more concrete specific qualities of Past and Present. They are values that lift us individually, communally, and socially towards what we perceive to be a more hopeful and better tomorrow. They are the values that energize us to change the status quo.

Your View of the World

As someone who relies primarily on the Future perspective, your view of the world is an optimistic one. That’s because Future thinking is visionary thinking. It is about change, exploration, creativity, and the ability to see how the future can be (its potential), not how it should be (grounded in truth), or ought to be (its framework and structure). Future thinking means that you look at the world with eyes that are constantly seeking new opportunities, possibilities, and ideas.

Useful feedback

My Profile contains more information and advice than I am reporting here. In the past, I have taken the Myers-Briggs half a dozen times, the Birkman Instrument (twice), the Campbell Interest Survey (three times), the Strong, the Rorschach, Zimbardo’s instrument, and others. None of them gave me as useful information as the MindTime Profile.

One big problem with other personality tests and assessment frameworks is that they tell you about you as if you were in isolation. In organizations, it’s how you get along with other people that matters. Here’s how I compare to the 1,345 other people who have recently completed a profile:

group map


Next Steps

John Furey is going to present MindTime concepts to thirty of us at NextNow’s August 29th evening meeting in Berkeley. We plan to assess our time Profiles — and then identify our Profiles on our name badges. We’ll look at a composite for the group and talk about how that impacts our roles.

If you are interested in joining us, please email me to be put on the waiting list.



The Tale of Two Cultures

clo_articleThis column appears in the current issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine.

In 1959, British scientist/novelist C.P. Snow wrote an essay describing the “two cultures,  whose thesis was that ‘the intellectual life of the whole of western society’ was split into two cultures — namely the sciences and the humanities — and that this was a major hindrance to solving the world’s problems. Snow contended that scientists did not understand the humanities and humanists did not understand science. As the world grew more complex, the two groups grew further apart.” (Wikipedia)

Half a century later, the world grows more complex everyday and the two cultures have grow further apart. It’s worth a revisit because the growing divide will shake the training industry to its roots. I am going to use the concept to describe two different sorts of knowledge and the different way we learn them. #1 is intuitive knowledge and #2 is logical knowledge. They are different as night and day.

Intuitive knowledge 

Intuitive knowledge is what Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman describes in Thinking Fast and Slow as System 1. It’s the province of the emotional brain. Intuitive knowledge works with patterns; it knows no words. In other words, it is tacit. Since the emotional brain is much older and works faster than the logical brain, intuitive knowledge is the first to come to mind; the rational brain uses logic to weigh whether or not an intuitive response is valid or must be tempered. Intuitive knowledge is also known as muscle memory.

Intuitive knowledge is complex and hence unpredictable, inductive, volatile, and emergent. It’s the realm of imagination. It deals with people’s interpretations. It lives in the minds of the people who pull it together.

Examples of intuitive knowledge: how to dance and to sell. Training departments can’t do much with the increasingly important Intuitive skills. Intuitive things are learned by doing: experientially. People “get” the skills of dealing with complexity: critical thinking, prioritizing, working with people, design thinking, and so forth — by doing them.

“I do things I do not know how to do in order to learn how to do them.” Picasso

Experience can be supplemented with stories (someone else’s experience), simulations (fake experience), trial and error (the school of hard knocks), and mimicry (copied experience).

Rational knowledge

Rational knowledge is the opposite of Intuitive knowledge. It’s the province of the rational brain. It works with logic. It is explicit and can be explained with words.

Rational knowledge is straightforward (or complicated, which is several simples mushed together.) It’s Newtonian clockwork, an equal and opposite reaction for every action. It is formulaic, yes or no, and reductionist. It deals with facts. It’s true no matter who is looking. Training departments help people learn the Rational. Workshops, programmed instruction, and Kahn Academy can teach Rational Knowledge. Example of rational knowledge: programming PERL, the states and their capitals, multiplication.

The Explicit and the Tacit

As the world becomes more complex, people need to rely more on the interpretive power of Intuitive knowledge. So what does this have to do with a CLO? (The editor here gets on my case if I don’t relate topics to the needs of chief learning officers.) Well, here’s the punch line: people learn Rational knowledge and absorb Intuitive knowledge by different means.

The basic difference is that you get to know Rational Knowledge. Intuitive Knowledge, on the other hand, transforms your identity. For example, I can know a lot about plumbing but until I have Intuitive Knowledge, I can’t call myself a plumber. It’s learning to know vs. learning to be.

While different parts of the brain deal with Intuitive and Rational knowledge, these are not the old (and discredited) left/right brain theories. This is more about the conscious and subconscious minds.

Dave Snowden, a oracular figure in interpreting complexity for business ends, says the greatest danger is confusing a complex situation for a merely complicated one.

If you are concerned only with helping people learn rational knowledge, you’re abandoning a vital facet of learning. Facts are impotent until coupled with feelings. Feelings without facts are mute. A successful learning organization is bi-cultural; it melds the intuitive with the rational

Bi-culturalism melds two originally distinct cultures into a holistic co-existence.

Ask yourself: is your learning  bi-cultural?