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A learning organization

Learning has been on top of my head lately. I blogged on my personal blog my first ever entry on learning. On that blog post I raised a question what could I learn to help a(ny) organisation to become a learning organisation? In this post I try to figure out what it would mean to me in an organisational context.

Disclaimer: I’ve only been at Ambientia for three months and thus I am not making a statement whether Ambientia is, or is not, a learning organisation. What I do describe, instead, is what it could mean for an organisations, generally speaking.


Learning is something to celebrate together!

I went to #LESS2012 to meet new people and to learn. And it did exceed my expectations – both of them. I loved the discussions we had with Claudio, Mark, Stefan, Vasco to name a few. And I went there to learn more about Lean Startup and the ideas behind it.

That learning, regarding Lean Startup, together with my new insight that learning happens in reflection, made me realise something: the concepts indeed seem to have a point.

In Lean Startup, there’s a core concept of creating feedback loops on potential customers – would this thing(y) solve that problem of yours. And as part of that process, in reflection, we learn a great deal about our markets. In Lean Startup, we run many experiments and gather feedback from our potential customers. And in reflection, we learn a great deal about our customers.

In reflection we learn.

A3 – a thinking tool for problem solvers. And what happens in the process of creating A3. It’s about taking time to reflect the problem. Taking time to plan – to create a hypothesis, that is. To run an experiment to validate the hypothesis. And to learn, in reflection, by measuring the results of the experiments.

Some say, PDCA yet again. I say: Yes, and I couldn’t care less.

Since in reflection we learn.

So, what does this bring us with? We started to work with my first-ever A3 report a little while ago here at Ambientia. I hope we learn in this experiment we are running. And I hope there’s a lot more to come of these experiments.

I want to thank Claudio Perrone and Jacopo Romei for making a difference!

Aki works at Ambientia as Software Developer

6 Responses to “A learning organization”

    • Aki Salmi

      Hi Fabio,

      And thanks for the link. I did not even know such a program existed!
      I will take some time to familiarise myself with it.


  1. Tuuli Aalto-Nyyssönen

    Thanks Aki for your post!

    “We started to work with my first-ever A3 report a little while ago here at Ambientia.”

    We did! It was a challenge to stay focused and to really process the problem form a totally different angle. But we did it!

    “The A3 paper” is now located in my backpack. I should keep the engine going and process it a bit more…. but… How to find the time? Uuuuh and aaaargh…


    Aki – could you look at the A3 with me next week? I’m at the office on Mon, Tue, Wed and Fri.

  2. HenriSora

    Thanks, Aki. I have been thinking a lot about learning organisation also lately. And, I say PDCA. I have a A1 drawing about it that might interest you…

  3. Tommi Hakala

    Hei Aki,

    I’m sorry to say this so openly without even trying to re-phrase it in more politically correct way. ūüôā

    There is no such thing as ‘learning organisation’. That is just a buzz word. I had an excellent debate around this topic with one of Professors in Oulu University.

    People are trying to link and justify that ‘Learning Organisation with Agile manifesto or with LEAN philosophy. It only looks funny. And to be honest that will not work in the end. Seen that, been there..

    We can agree the basic principles:
    – People formulas the organisations.
    – Only people are capable to learn – organisations not.

    If you take people out from organisation, how the organisation will learn by itself?

    Please, do not mix LEAN and Agile together. And please do not mix ‘learning organisation’ with Agile or with LEAN. I got an impression from your post that you’re already on that track..

    • Aki Salmi

      Thanks for the comment Tommi!

      And no reasons to apologise – I rather feel privileged for you challenging my thoughts. And I thank you for that.

      I totally agree with you – it’s only the people who learn. And if we take people out of the equation (organisations, that is), there is no organisation. Which implies, no organisation can learn in itself.

      And I am a strong believer that when a single person learns something, the organisation learns a little. And when a bunch of people learn together, then the organisation – I’ll just define it as ‘the collective us’ – does learn a great deal.

      I will take note on the warning you posed. And I’ll ponder how that relates to my world view, before I’ll jump to any conclusions.


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