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A Learning Organisation

From my In-house Day deck

For CAP&Design’s In-house Day Conference 2018, I decided to focus my attention on Learning Organisations, and provide the audience, all in-house workers, with some tools to map out how they manage, organise and create knowledge.

The journey started with a phone call to Fredrik Hallberg, a management consultant I like very much. I have booked Fredrik to speak both at Hyper Island and Berghs, and he is a big inspiration. We spoke for about an hour about the subject A Learning Organisation, and he pointed me in the direction of Ikujiro Nonaka and The Knowledge-Creating Company.

We also discussed Julian Orr and his work he did at Xerox, which you can deep-dive into in the article Organizing Knowledge by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid. The conclusion of our chat, was that this is nothing new. There has just been a series of developments and iterations to why it’s now on the tip of many tongues.

During the time leading up to the talk, I also had conversations with some of my MA Hyper Island alumni, and other companies on how they work with learning and knowledge. The examples they gave me proved that you can do a lot with very little.

I was on the right path.

I will start this blog post summarising the talk (which was in Swedish) in English, followed by the two Canvases I developed inspired by Nonaka’s The Knowledge Spiral and NHS Knowledge in the UK.

I call these two canvases: Organisation Knowledge Canvas (BETA) and Knowledge Map (BETA)

From my In-house Day deck

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

14,000 combinations

At the Holborn Dining Company in London, there are 14,000 variants of Gin & Tonic based on their 500 options of Gin.

14 THOUSAND.

Let that sink in for a minute.

What this tells me, is that they really know their Gin. Pretty impressive.

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

All organisations are already Knowledge Companies

Your knowledge is the most valuable asset in the building. And one way to maintain this competitive advantage is to manage, organise and create more of it.

Looking at the analogy of innovation as mixology (it’s not that far-fetched), all organisations need a process to mix their own perfect serve. And I believe, this competence exists (or should exist) in-house. In order to work your magic with the ingredients you have, you may however need the right tools and know-how.

Below Pete Senge, MIT Senior Lecturer explains what Organisational Learning is. I suggest you listen to at least the first part.

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

You don’t need an agency. You need the right humans.

Part of my talk at the In-House Day was how the traditional agency model is dead. Or at the very least broken. I am part of a network called Group of Humans, a response to the broken agency model. Below is a little bit about us from www.groupofhumans.com

The problem
Crippling overheads and entrenched legacy structures make it hard for talent to do their best work, difficult for clients to get value and impossible for agencies themselves to make money.

The solution
Group of Humans is a distributed elite network of the best designers, strategists and creatives in the world, all of whom share a belief that technology should be harnessed not for efficiency but for the benefit of people, society and the environment.

The value
This shared vision informs the clients we chose to work with, meaning we only do the work we believe in. And with close to zero overheads, we have a better deal for talent and for clients.

From my In-house Day deck

Part of my role as Design Education Human within GoH and Design & Educator at Studio Theolin, is working to make sure you, as an organisation, have all the talent, tools and methods you need to develop into a more efficient learning organisation with your own methodology and pedagogy.

Leading and connecting people and ideas is the common thread in all my work…

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

Knowledge is social

Your organisation is alive. It is made up of predominantly living, breathing, hard-working people.

As with Ikujiro Nonaka and many other working in this field, I too believe that knowledge is social. Julian Orr explains this in his study with the technicians at XEROX.

Whilst they were grappling with upper management about using/not using the pre-designed manuals for fixing technical problems, they actually solved most things by talking with each other, testing different techniques and sharing trouble-shooting processes.

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

In order for me to create this keynote, I had a few new things to learn myself. And as an education addict, I started with talking to a lot of people. Conversations about perspective, different industries and types of companies. As any project with an element of learning, it’s justified by The Learning Pyramid (below) that we do learn the most together.

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

So how can you become a more efficient Learning Organisation?

Knowledge Management is one of the answers.

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

Based on the Nonaka’s model The Knowledge Spiral which features heavily in his book The Knowledge-Creating Company, I have drawn up a Canvas version for you to use to determine areas of improvement. The Knowledge Spiral is a model for knowledge creation by the integration of tacit and explicit knowledge; the Know-what and the Know-how.

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

Organisation Knowledge Canvas (BETA)

This canvas is based on Nonaka’s The Knowledge Spiral

  1. Socialisation: Face-to-face | Share Experiences | Formal & Informal

  2. Externalisation: Peer-to-peer | Documenting | Publishing | Ideas Workshops

  3. Combination: Group-to-group | Synthesis | Adding, Combining & Categorising

  4. Internalisation: Individual | Reflection | Learning by doing

If you’d like to do a BETA test, contact me and I will run you through the theory behind it, as well as help you use it.

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Knowledge Map (BETA)

I also created a canvas based on NHS Knowledge and the questions they ask around working with knowledge. By starting here, you can quickly see what you have to work with!

  1. How do we capture knowledge? What have we missed?

  2. How do we organise knowledge? Is it easy accessible?

  3. How is knowledge used? What’s in place to ground decisions in evidence where you work?

  4. How is knowledge shared?Are all staff willing to be open with another?

 From my In-house Day deck

From my In-house Day deck

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Curio

It started as a “Curious Bauble” Christmas campaign, but somehow I got pregnant with ideas and gave birth to Curio.

I was reflecting a lot today about the amount of content, links and whatnot out there. I do a lot of research in various areas, and seldom find time to just be curious. And seldom time to sift through and cull.

So I am prototyping an editorial idea called Curio, a service allowing you to get one curiosity a day. Just one.

It’s not to replace research and content hunting, it is to get your mind daydreaming. The thought itself spawned because my internet at home shut down for hours today (#ComHemskt), and I started thinking about Christmas.

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So, what is the very well unthought out plan….?

At this stage, I am curious to see if any of you (friends, clients, collaborators) would like to adopt a Curio?

What does it mean?

One Curio is shared per day for all of 2019 as an initial idea.

It may develop into a standalone calendar (www.dailycurio.com has been purchased).

Or a text message service.

Something not even digital.

Or something else.

Or nothing.

I donno.

Depends how curious you all are? Let me know below:

Name *
Name

Some curious resources:

Curiosity: The Heart of Lifelong Learning - Psychology Today

“…people who were curious about a topic retained what they learned for longer periods of time.”

Why Curiosity Enhances Learning – Edutopia

“A neurological study has shown that curiosity makes our brains more receptive for learning, and that as we learn, we enjoy the sensation of learning.”

What Drives Curiosity - Washington Post

”We now have an unprecedented ability to quench our curiosity about the specific. Nevertheless, fear of the broad unknown — often in the guise of protectionism or hatred — remains. Curiosity is an overlooked catalyst that can turn such detrimental potential energy into true human progress — which can take us to the stars and beyond.”

How curiosity changes our brains – Washington Post

“The more curious we are about a topic, the easier it is to remember not only information about that topic, but also other unrelated information shown at the same time.”

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Sveriges Museer Workshop

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On 16-17 October, The Swedish Museum Association held a forum for municipal museum directors and managers at Uppsala Art Museum.

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A total of 26 participants from a combined 26 museums came, and the keynote speakers were the author and investigator Ewa Thorslund, Nikos Tsakiridis and Anna Lihammer from the Riksantikvarieämbetet and Louise Andersson from Sweden's municipalities and county councils (SKL).

The Swedish Museum Association also took part in "taking the temptation" of the municipal museums in a workshop led by myself and Sofia Embrén, project manager for our future and democracy initiative. Many interesting responses were collected and will be used in the future project.

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What is Group of Humans?

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What is Group of Humans?

Many of you have asked me what Group Of Humans is, and why have I joined forces. So let me tell you a little bit about it.

It's not often you come across a group of people you immediately feel connected to, from their collective vision and business model to the individual personalities.

The traditional agency model is dead

I have never had the urge to start an agency. After working agency-side for 8 years, I started a collaboration studio in 2009. Since then I have never had any employees, but I have worked with over 600+ extremely inspiring creatives and clients on numerous projects.

This business model has allowed me to reach clients and countries on a large scale, without incurring ridiculous overheads and charges extortionate prices. So, you can see how happy I was when Chris Clarke contacted me about joining Group of Humans, a business based on very similar values – but with an ambition second to none! And when I joined this constellation of competence, it really confirmed my own creative business approach being the way forward.

 (Image credit:  mrpaulbean )

(Image credit: mrpaulbean)

Yesterday I read a local article about how two advertising agencies collaborated for the first time in Swedish history. I am shocked (but not surprised) that an online publication like Resumé publishes this. Maybe it’s to provoke, maybe there are elements of truth in it. Nevertheless, traditional agencies have to change, or they really are doomed. Get rid of the rivalrous attitude to technology and innovation, stop pitching and competing, revise your ethics and design for good – happy to show you the way. A good example is the initiative in Gothenburg which literally translates to the Agency Collaboration; 72 companies break down their barriers and work together in response to the Swedish #metoo initiative #sistabriefen.

Group of Humans is not an agency, we’re a distributed curated network of the best designers, strategists, technologists, and creatives in the world, all of whom share a belief that technology should be harnessed not for efficiency but for the benefit of people, society and the environment.

We do not pitch

What I also love about this group, is that we do not pitch, as it’s a waste of your time and our money. If you would work with us, we join your team and shape the response to your business challenges in a completely open minded way. 
This isn’t something new when it comes to Studio Theolin, it’s just very satisfying to work with others who agree. I am very excited about this!

As the first Stockholm-based human, I am now looking for new clients who also believe in design and who share our belief that businesses have a duty to create products and services which help people, society and the planet. I will bring my design leadership, team curation and learning perspectives in helping your company become a Learning Organisation.

In fact, I will share some insights and learnings on this topic during my talk at Inhousedagen on October 25th (in Swedish). So, if you are curious about all of this, come!

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A few stats of our new life as Humans

  • Over 90% of the Humans have over 20 years experience at the very top of the business design, strategy, brand, experience, product design and human centered game. We don’t rename ourselves with the trends, or get caught up in twitter wars on semantics, we know what we do and we do it well.

  • Collectively we have designed, built and launched products with 100% of the current top 10 performers in the S&P 500

  • 40% of us reside in USA and Canada. 40% in the UK and Ireland. 10% around Europe and 10% in APAC

  • By the end of this calendar year we will be 150 strong. With representation in even more countries.

  • Our diversity is natural. it’s how we grow.

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For more information and some inspiration:

Contact

We are looking for clients who believe in design and who share our belief that businesses have a duty to create products and services which help people, society and the planet.

+46 (0) 723 926 805
jenny.theolin@groupofhumans.com

 

 

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