The only source of knowledge is experience.
Albert Einstein

The future is unknowable. Instead of attempting to design our actions based on forecasts of the future, we must continually discover, learn about and create our longterm future. By focussing on present issues that have longterm consequences, we deal with the longterm in a more realistic way.
Ralph Stacey

When someone speaks the unvarnished truth, something utterly compelling happens that cuts through all the nonsense that wastes so much time and energy. I know from experience that engaging people and organisations in narrative learning is a powerful way of recovering the power of our stories, which is central to our humanity. And, I believe, to our salvation.
Paula Downey

The things people say!

"“Although it started off as a task to be done, it ended up as a story full of ups and downs and a surprising sense of movement, life and hope."

"The process of evaluation has been a real learning experience. It has encouraged us to action which has been a sticking point for us."

"I learned a lot from just reflecting and writing my own review."

"The whole learning review process is a hugely constructive and enriching way of taking stock, and I will definitely use it again."

"From the very first moment, I felt there was something different here, a deeper learning. That feeling stayed with me throughout the two days."

"The learning review process has given us more confidence and new energy and enthusiasm for the work."

culturework

changing organisations
...naturally

Changing the way
you change

Action Inquiry

Not so much a programme or a project, change is a process that happens over time as we disturb habitual patterns of thinking and behaving, and approach the issues we care about in new ways. In the deepest sense, change happens when people engage in personal renewal.

Action Inquiry creates a reflective space in the busyness of professional life where people can question their assumptions, explore issues of common concern, challenge each other to experiment with new behaviours, and learn their way into the future.

We will help you to develop communities of inquiry in which the people who co-create the system discover together how to change it. read more

Learning History

"Experience is the best teacher" and "We learn most from our mistakes" are common truisms, but conscious learning from experience is quite rare, especially in professional settings. Mistakes are often hidden or denied, so inevitably they’re repeated again and again, and curiously, there seems to be little interest in figuring out why the things that do work well actually work. Put simply, organisations just aren’t very good at learning.

Of course, organisations don’t learn, people do. And this raises some practical questions. How can we capture the human experience to discover what we’ve learned? And how can we share it in a wider setting, so that collectively we become smarter?

The Learning History is an artefact of a shared enterprise which aims to do just that. Its purpose is to capture many diverse perspectives in order to create a more nuanced and holistic account of events and identify the patterns of behaviour that lead to success or failure.

Unlike professional reports written in a detached voice, the Learning History is an oral history told through the subjective experience of those who participated in events. When these are woven together into a shared narrative that reveals (rather than ignores) life’s contradictions and ambiguity, the result is a richer account of people’s real experience.

A Learning History is more than a physical document to read and file away. It’s a process, and its purpose is to anchor a deeper learning conversation within or between organisations, not only with those involved, but other people in other places who may learn from the experience, so that lessons from the past can be used to make choices about the future. In this way, experience, reflection, learning and conversation become an organisational asset and a resource for future planning.

Want to talk?

If you would like to talk with us about how a Learning History process could help to surface the patterns of behaviour that lead to success or failure in your organisation click here

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