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Do We Need Learning Organisations?

September 2021

The short answer is a resounding YES! The world is increasingly subject to significant change and while the focus is often on the potential implications of exponential technology developments like artificial intelligence, robotics, adaptive manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality for example, political, economic, and social change are also happening at break-neck speed. This range of future forces act on life, society, and business and add to our personal and organisational sense of complexity and uncertainty.

Change management is about people and this statement of the obvious too often gets lost in over-complicated methodologies and technology focused approaches to change. What they tend to forget is that in order for change to happen, learning needs to happen and in order for learning to happen, change needs to happen. The two elements go hand in hand.

So to create a learning organization, it is critical to understand the different elements in which people like and do learn and learn best. Once this has been established then a variety of different methodologies need to be developed, delivered and established that enables the people to access the learning within their optimum time, as again this will differ. Even in a digital world, it is very possible to have active group activities and discussions, as well as, reflective and theoretical exercises to help people learn.

As John Denton said in his book, Organisational Learning and Effectiveness, “Organizations must be able to learn.” I would add, in order for them to be able to change and hence remain relevant and viable as a business, as we don’t have to look very far to see examples of just how expensive it is to not learn and change.

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