I love this post by Harold Jarche. An elevator pitch in 10 sentences! It captures not only a business perspective but with some slight adjustments in language, these 10 pitch points capture what I believe is the gift of social learning and social media. I’ve borrowed and adjusted six of the ten that seem especially fitting to social learning in the work of creating community and organizational change. (Thank you Harold for the creative commons license).
- Complex and creative work is difficult to replicate, constantly changes and requires greater tacit knowledge – community work is among the most complex and yet often our solutions are prescribed, programmatic and driven by funding streams. While there’s room for these solutions, the surrounding environment (context) within which these programs exist is also an important influence. What works in one community will not in another requiring a those involved to develop deeper understanding and wisdom in convening the community around issues that matter to community members.
- Tacit knowledge is best developed through conversations and social relationships. While we are often caught up in developing formal knowledge there is more to learning than what happens in our rational brain. Learning and wisdom sustain us in creating the future we really want. What does it look like to convene and host conversations that support and enable positive relationships? There are methods/processes mostly overlooked by communities that can do this e.g., World Cafe, Open Space, Dialogue or Talking Circles and Art of Hosting, etc.
- Training courses are artifacts of a time when information was scarce and connections were few; that time has passed. For awhile now I’ve been noodling on what it means to learn in this age of abundant information and extreme social participation. We are now seeing the shift to social learning where each person takes responsibility for as much of their own learning as they can without waiting for a formal training system to be developed and provided. We can learn almost anything, anytime with social media. To sit back and wait for others to teach you may mean ending up being left behind.
- Social learning networks enable better and faster learning feedback loops that increase not only knowledge but wisdom. Jane Callahan at CADCA’s Coalition Institute has commented about helping coalitions get smarter faster. I so appreciate this perspective and see a huge role for convening and hosting both online and offline events that integrate social learning and opportunities for more feedback loops, more often. The more open our learning networks the more likely the changes we want to accomplish in our communities can happen and on a larger scale.
- Hierarchies constrain social interactions so traditional management and oversight models really must change. How often have you observed or experienced an inability to have an important conversation because it would break with prescribed (and enforced) protocol? Or maybe you couldn’t invite a stakeholder to the table until you figured out how to extend the invitation in a way that it would be allowed? While hierarchies and bureaucracies have their strengths, they can also become a serious obstacle to social interaction.
- Learning amongst ourselves is the real work in social change and our grants and leadership need to support it. I’m reminded of comments I’ve heard over the years about how we can’t incarcerate our way out of substance abuse nor can we treat our way out of it. I’d suggest we can’t provide enough services to work our way out of social issues either – even though all of these things are necessary. What I believe we can all do is LEARN our way out of most social issues. Learning together in networks and communities, more horizontal than vertical, has become the way of our times. While formal training will continue, the real power of any learning opportunity is in two things. 1) the conversations where learning is connected to context 2) the application and reflection of what we learn as part of our practice.
Now, what do you think?
Where do you feel yourself pushing back on the ideas?
What did I miss that you see as important to consider?