The School of Athens is HUGE! Do you think that "big?"

The everyday, little revelations we have are usually the genesis of some of our most profound philosophies. Did the great thinkers come up with their theories this way?

I had one of those aha moments today, thanks to one of my friends and a lunch conversation we shared. While driving (when I do ALL my best thinking) this morning, I wondered how we decide which car to buy, where to live, and why we do what we do for a living.

I once had someone tell me that being practical is over-rated. I had just bought a SUV cross-over vehicle instead of the open-air Jeep I had always dreamed of. Today I saw "my" Jeep on the road and wondered "are most of us too practical?" Are most of the decisions we make based on givens or situations we convince ourselves are limiting or "just the way it is" keeping us, in fact, "stuck" in our situation? AND, what happens to those who instead make their situation based on active and deliberate decisions they make? When I posed this question at lunch, my friend said, "This sounds like a KM blog to me!" So here it is.

Peter Kline and Bernard Saunders' "Ten Steps to a Learning Organization" offers a wonderfully deliberate way to examine a static organization in order to figure out the which and where and why of its culture.


And Mark Smith's article does a good job of explaining how my simple observation about "situational" existence fits well with learning organizations. Chris Argyris' theoretical contrast between single-loop and double-loop learning is featured. This distinction and its results are an essential concept for Knowledge Management!

"Single-loop learning seems to be present when goals, values, frameworks and, to a significant extent, strategies are taken for granted. The emphasis is on ‘techniques and making techniques more efficient’. Any reflection is directed toward making the strategy more effective. Double-loop learning, in contrast, involves questioning the role of the framing and learning systems which underlie actual goals and strategies. In many respects the distinction at work here is the one used by Aristotle, when exploring technical and practical thought. The former involves following routines and some sort of preset plan – and is both less risky for the individual and the organization, and affords greater control. The latter is more creative and reflexive, and involves consideration notions of the good. Reflection here is more fundamental: the basic assumptions behind ideas or policies are confronted… hypotheses are publicly tested… processes are disconfirmable not self-seeking."

So, then, are you in a position to think big... to question a given situation and be a little uncomfortable in order to enjoy the results of creative thinking?


Speaking of creative thinking

Speaking of creative thinking and the knowledge cafe, you
might find this of interest: