Group thinking, many minds make projects work
Groups and institutions can magnify and accelerate the development of knowledge far beyond what an individual would be capable of. Interaction in groups is critical to this knowledge creation.
With the advent of technology, distance is no longer the great limiter it once was, with groups now able to exchange ideas and network freely. Its also easier to store and search archives, turning them into active libraries.
Organisations can harvest this knowledge by ensuring certain types of discussion are encouraged and recorded.
Ensuring the free flow of information through an institution and between separate projects needs more than meetings. This is especially true in large institutions where individual departments can become marginalised silos. Even with intranets and people directories, knowing the right person to speak to can sometimes be a challenge.
Presentations where different departments outline their projects offer great opportunities for colleagues to learn how the institution operates as a whole. It can also be the basis for future interdepartmental collaborations.
Successful learning institutions do more than merely record and transmit information. They ensure their members' diverse patterns of thinking are nurtured. Mentoring as well as training is one way that organisations can facilitate institutional change.
It is also important that the institution absorbs and implements these lessons. There should be structures in place to allow beneficial changes to be implemented and these should enable and encourage practitioners to take collective responsibility for managing the knowledge areas they use.