Evolutionäres Lernen

5 Principles of next:land:
Evolutionary Learning

next:land organizations are designed to adapt quickly as they go. Sensing into what is needed and responding quickly is baked into all their structures and processes. Rather than striving for the right answers or decisions they are designed to increase the speed of learning instead - and failure is considered as inevitable part of the game.

Why evolutionary learning? The accelerating change in customer demands, available technologies and competitive landscape requires organizations to adapt processes and competences in a fluent manner. In next:land organizations structures are not built to last, but designed to adapt in order to last. Rapid learning is part of their operating system, both in mindset and in practice, on organizational and on individual level. Sensing into what is needed and responding quickly is baked into all their structures and processes. Rather than striving for the right answers or decisions, they are designed to increase the speed of learning - and failure is considered as part of the game.

What does Evolutionary Learning mean?

Learning becomes evolutionary when organizations accept the fundamental need to become ever-more complex. No longer is it left to leaders to “give directions”, define the change management process or prioritize the inputs collected in an employee survey.

In next:land every member of the organization becomes a sensor for learning requirements, and everyone is entrusted to be a change maker for the organization. Company structure will support learning by making sure that various perspectives are integrated and processed in a fair and effective manner.

Furthermore, every member is entrusted to be a change maker for herself as well. Individual learning no longer consists of prescribed career paths and performance coaching, but becomes a self-responsible journey that can only be supported: by peer-to-peer interactions (that provide opportunity for learning on all sides), open learning spaces, and training budgets that can be spent at own discretion.

5 principles of next:land and their practices (c) dwarfs and Giants

How this principle shows up in practice

... different levels of evolutionary learning:

Basic Question: WHEN, HOW and HOW OFTEN do we reflect, adapt and change the way we relate, work and organize - as individuals and organization?

Level 1: Occasional learning elements to reflect and improve

  • Individual: leadership development programs
  • Team/Org: a lessons learned session after bigger projects often triggered by failure

Level 2: Structured formats that distinguish between ACTION and REFLECTION with various degrees of intensity and frequency:

a) First order learning: Doing things and reflecting HOW we explicitly do things: learning mostly comes from observing an action and assessing the result.

  • Individual: Mentoring or Buddy Systems, Feedback processes
  • Team/Org: problem solving techniques, Scrum Retrospectives, Communities of Practice

b) Second order learning: Reflecting about WHY we do things like we do them (Referring to the more implicit elements of autopilot mode and cultural patterns below the surface) What is it about my way of being and/or our way of being as organization that I/we see the situation this way and act in a specific manner?“

  • Individual: Coaching processes, psychotherapy, etc.
  • Team/Org: Reflecting Team, Cultural diagnosis, partly also regular (high-frequent) employee engagement surveys (great place to work), continuous client feedback

c) Third order learning: The org has defined structures and processes for working IN and working ON the organization in high-frequent iterations and these structures are subject to evolution themselves

  • e.g. fluid governance structures that can be changed based on tensions senses by anyone anywhere in the system… (egg Holacracy)
  • individuals take ownership for their learning, even ecosystems might have a structured way to process tensions into the organization as well

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