Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

28 July 2015

The New Business Imperative

Clark @ 8:27 AM

Learning is the new business imperativeIt is now an indisputable business reality: companies must become more nimble and agile. As things move faster, new processes arise, and the time to copy a new business approach drops, it becomes clear that continual innovation is the only way to not just survive, but thrive.  And this doesn’t, can’t, come from the status quo.

And if the answer isn’t known, as is inherent in situations like problem-solving, trouble-shooting, new product/service creation, and more, then this, too, is a form of learning. But not the type addressed by training rooms or eLearning courses. They serve a role, but not this new one, this needed approach,  We need something new.

What we need are two things: effective collaboration and meta-learning. Innovation comes, we know, from collaboration.  Collaboration is the new learning, where we bring complementary strengths to bear on a problem in a process structured to be optimally aligned with how our brains work.  And we need to create a culture and set of skills around continually learning, which means understanding learning to learn, aka meta-learning.

Accelerating the development of these capabilities means doing things different and new. It means sowing the seeds by instigating a learning process that develops not only some specific needed capabilities, but also the meta-learning and collaboration skills.  It means understanding, valuing, and explicitly developing the ability of people to learn alone and together. It means making it safe to share, to ‘work out loud’. And finally it means scaling up from small success to organizational transformation.

This is a doable, albeit challenging move, but it is critical to organizations that will excel. Learning is no longer a ‘nice to have’, or even an imperative, it is the only sustainable differentiator.  The question is: are you ready?  Are you making the new learning a strategic priority?


  1. Not surprisingly, we’re in agreement about the importance of collaboration, as was obvious from the exchanges we had last week face to face and in a few online environments. Deeply appreciative for the collaborative approach you took to extending a Learnlet conversation on engagement (http://blog.learnlets.com/?p=4401) into another conversation about the importance of designing experiences in learning (https://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/rethinking-digital-literacy-collaboration-experience-and-riding-digital-waves/). It reminds me that our work in any setting–including a blog–can be a magnificent part of extended conversations that draw in far more participants/colleagues than any of us might have originally expected to draw in. Furthermore, those extended conversations that continue across a variety of platforms (blogs, podcast discussions, tweet chats, and more) and over longer periods of times–“extended moments”–as people see comments days, weeks, months, or years after we originally posted then and then build upon them in ways that keep those conversations going are one of the most fascinating aspects of extended/lifelong learning that I’m seeing, as we briefly discussed during that T is for Training session last Friday (archived at http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-24719/TS-991761.mp3). Thanks for those and the latest thoughts; very inspiring and encouraging. (And yes, I continue to make learning a strategic priority in every setting I can.)

    Comment by Paul Signorelli — 28 July 2015 @ 3:35 PM

  2. I totally agree that learning is a very important part of collaboration because it allows those who have learned to be more confidence while providing services. Once the learning has gained the confidence necessary to educate others, the cycle of quality education continues. Once quality education continues, companies are able to provide greater services and products.

    Comment by Brendon L. Garrett — 3 March 2016 @ 11:01 AM

  3. I couldn’t agree more…

    Comment by Dale Proctor — 17 January 2017 @ 8:52 AM

  4. I feel honored to work for a company that realizes these things and I agree very strongly with the concepts presented here. A learning culture is an adaptive culture, which is what we need to grow with the times.

    Comment by Alexandra Flanary — 6 October 2017 @ 5:54 AM

  5. I will start to make the difference today. I will be the role model my team could follow. Will you?

    Comment by Victor Hugo Herrera — 19 October 2017 @ 7:07 AM

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