Learning History

The Learning History is a dynamic research intervention that helps in the implementation, adoption and acceptance of change in organisations and systems. It puts together a variety of qualitative data that reflects the thoughts feelings and experiences of those involved in a particular change programme.


Learning History– Developed by MIT with Art Kleiner and George Roth

The Learning History was developed by MIT with Art Kleiner and George Roth as a way of seeing and understanding the learning of an organisation. It was developed in response to the realisation that often in organisations the learning that happens around significant events or processes is lost. The feelings and thoughts, both negative and positive, are internalised by the organisation and along with that any learning that happened along the way. What that means is that any learning that did occur isn’t actually useful at all. Instead organisations will carry on doing things the way that they always have and carry on making the same mistakes. The learning is wasted.

That means that the organisation isn’t able to adjust the things that aren’t working, or avoid things that simply can’t work, or embrace the things that do. It really doesn’t know what people are thinking and feeling, that’s left to speculation and rumour. The Learning History was developed as a tool that captures what really going on.

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The problem with change

Organisationas and systems are living systems (so purport eminent systems thinkers such as Myron Rogers). This means that they perceive ‘change’ as a threat to self preservation and will do everything they can to resist change, including ‘killing’ the change mechanism or agent.
Learning research is an active intervention that explores the complexities of the human process of change.

Eminent systems thinkers such as Bateson, Maturana & Varela and Myron Rogers suggest that organisations and systems are living systems. A living system is typically resistant to change because anything that is seen as a threat (i.e. change) is a threat to its identity, functions and survival. This means that the living system will do whatever it can to resist change- including ‘killing’ the change mechanism or agent. Continue reading “The problem with change”

The Art of Change Making

The Art of Change Making is a freely available resource (http://tiny.cc/TheArt). It presents a handbook of models, tools and approaches of change used by ‘the enablers’, in systems leadership and local vision work. It shows how this work has been approached and offers a fresh perspective into working with novel and intransigent social issues whilst drawing on an extensive body of knowledge and wisdom.
Curated and produced by John Atkinson, Emma Loftus and John Jarvis on behalf of the Systems Leadership Steering Group.

Extract from The Art of Change Making. Freely available at http://tiny.cc/TheArt

For ten years, the Leadership Centre has sought to further our knowledge of what really works in response to the challenges of social issues in places around England. Through working with political, community and organisational leaders, the focus has evolved from local leadership projects through ‘Total Place’ to today’s ‘system leadership’ and ‘local vision’ work.

This guide is assembled from talking with the ‘enablers’ who have worked with each of these places. We asked them to share the models and approaches they have used in engaging with those places …….. Continue reading “The Art of Change Making”