By background, I am a national newspaper-grade sub-editor and former employee at the Australian Financial Review newspaper group at Fairfax Media in Sydney.

That is, in the world of publishing, my skills make me a professional sense-maker, as my job is one of production, turning words into publications by checking and making the writing of others clearer and more precise.

I created this project having developed a solution to a substantial challenge of modern organisational learning that I call “narrative learning.”

Download a brief, printable pdf about narrative learning here.

The premise of narrative learning is that in any business there is more intelligence, creativity and imagination than ever gets captured and put to work in driving that organisation forward. This means that in many, great knowledge, experience, insight and native aptitude is routinely wasted.

Narrative learning engages simple professional editorial techniques to stimulate, capture, share and manage the development of organisational knowledge according to individual business need.

It explores, transforms, polishes and presents what is known in a workplace in a consistent, comprehensible cycle of questioning, assumption-checking “double-loop” learning. (Double-loop learning entails the modification of goals or decision-making rules in the light of experience.)

Essentially, narrative learning’s editorial validation and checking processes are found in the creation of media products of all varieties, and in so doing, underpin the ways in which most people learn everything they know.

Narrative learning helps a company communicate more productively with itself in the pursuit of its unique profit-seeking goals.

It is fast and cheap to implement, because the minds it draws on represent a workplace resource a business is already paying for.

Its economies include making better use of technologies the business likely either already has, or can procure quickly as a service in the cloud.

And it requires no prior preparation of special course materials, being guided constantly by its workplace’s unique and dynamic learning needs and demands for fresh, reliable, self-generated inputs.

Because it is already familiar to all involved in it, narrative learning both makes sure that better management of the business’s unique knowledge resource is commanded, and is the most naturally productive collaborative workplace learning solution of all.

Narrative learning is driven within an organisation through the use of collaborative workplace social technologies, in which I have first-hand experience, having in 2013, worked using them to create documentation for a major software development at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Please read the related post here: Some rules for effective workplace wiki publishing as a vehicle for organisational learning development and growth.

 

My interest in organisational learning is the product of my MBA (Technology) from the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

The forward-looking focus of that qualification is on creating the organisations of the future, both driving and in response to changes in technology. Its teaching is delivered through, among other things, the management of organisational and technology strategy, knowledge, innovation, new product development, sustainability, people, culture and change.

I first got excited about the scope for collaborative innovation in 2006 on reading the work of then Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee on the potential of “Enterprise 2.0.” McAfee’s key insight was that the traditional barriers to innovation result when people with ideas within organisations are hindered by distance or hierarchy, or simply by not knowing who is whom, who is qualified, interested or accomplished in what, or even that each other exists.

Yet through blogs and wikis, McAfee and his supporters proposed, an organisation could open up and enable those within to identify and reach each other and thereby capitalise on the specialised sum of personal knowledge of those within the firm, wherever it could be found. And they could be effective in capturing precisely the emergent organisational learning that results from change.

Through that reading, and my skills and subsequent study, I discovered a passion for documenting and transforming knowledge to drive organisational learning, using those best tools ever invented for the purpose.

And, as the workplace itself becomes increasingly virtual and remote, the demand for using these technologies to transform and control the way a business learns will only continue to grow, which means more are going to need to develop strategies for using them.

As the quality of its businesses, and their ability to perform internationally is of Australian national concern and interest, their progress in such learning in this emerging economy is worth reporting on.

Graham Lauren