Chris Collinson has an interesting post on the use and abuse of the concept of lessons Learned. Based on Kolb’s learning cycle, he posits the “ignorance spiral” where the abstract conceptualisation stage stys ust that, abstracted” with no discernable imact on future behaviours. The same mistakes and errors are made, the lessons aren’t learned.
Now it seems to me that the key to closing the Kold circle is the importance of the organisational environment. The type of organisational sitation is critical as Lynda Gratton’s new (ish) book Hot Spots describe. In organisational “hot spots” managerial behaviours, organisational processes and organisational culture can all come together in an intense learning system (what I see as she means as a hot spot).
Now I’ve had the privelege of working in a hot spot maybe twice so far and the difference in the learning I experienced personally and observed in other individual, teams and for the organsiation as a whole was phenomenal. Everyone learned so much and seemed to really value the experience – like the difference when you were at school between the majority of teachers & lessons versus the one or two truly inspiratonal teachers. So may be what Kolb’s cycle needs is more work on environment and context to assist in closing the loop and avoiding ignorance