As I was driving home from work today I started thinking. Thinking intellectual thoughts after a 13.5 hour shift may be a crazy idea, but i actually did!
My thoughts started off with wondering how much the place I work could be improved by providing adequate training to staff, and not have a constant influx of new agency workers who will largely only work there once or twice. This stream of thought led me onto thinking back on my reading about organisational learning, and then the literature i'm currently going through about continuous improvement and this is what tonights blopic is (blog topic. yes, i know blopic isn't actually a word, but I like it) Hence the blog title ciol (Continuous Improvement & Organisational Learning)
When considering organisational learning, the literature we covered in our group went through alot about instigating cultural change, ways to incorporate learning into an organisation, the systems that would be needed, the methods by which learning can be accomplished. Some literary sources also went into details about what learning should be undertaken.
Looking into continuous improvement, I've read lots about the implementation of continuous improvement in an organisation. Seeing area of improvement within a process or systems, defining what is to be improved, finding a solution, implementing the change and analysing the results.
But where do we learn from or find methods of improving a system? Models that are related to management mention a variety of factors within the system. Its seems to me that learning and finding improvements can come from any factor that makes up the system of the organisation. These include, but are not limited to the people, processes, environment (including customers, competitors, suppliers and society) and results. But where is the line drawn for sources of learning?
When considering the environment, do organisations that are about to undergo a change take into account the actions of competitors and their resulting successes or failures from a similar change... Definitely. Taking this further, can an organisation learn from the actions of firms of the past, or do the differentiated conditions of seperate time spans makes nulify similarities of situation? Consider a firm seeking means to improve a process in a country where industrialisation is underway. Can this firm look at past firms from countries that have already industrialised when implementing change? Or does the difference in eras mean that methods learnt from past firms actions would be irrelevant in todays world? How far in the past can you look into before knowledge and methods of improvements become too outdated to be put into use? On his blog, one of my colleagues even talked about some ideas within excellence models that have been mentioned in ancient philosophy. Should we... or can we even go back that far when considering sources that will be learnt from? Does it depend on the firm, or is there a cut off point for useful information. Where do we draw the line, if we can even say a line should be drawn? This may be something that the more I read, the more I will gather snippets of information about. But then again, in my reading I haven't seen much that strays from "what" and "how" to learn/improve, into the realms of "when to learn from".
If anyone has any thoughts about this, or has come across an interesting book/journal/whatever please share!