Emergent Strategy

Nice article in Forbes on cultivating emergent strategy:

We are not suggesting that companies spend oodles of money sending middle managers away on learning junkets or to management training programs. The type of learning we are talking about can be done on the job, as part and parcel of their usual activities, through social or collaborative “learning events” like webinars, knowledge exchange workshops, and short topical courses that have relevance in the moment.

It’s “just-in-time learning” – where groups of middle managers realize they have a need to learn something and so they agree to meet up to tackle a topic, learn some new context, share their own knowledge and experiences, and then take their learning right back to their jobs where they apply it immediately. Their successes then cross horizontally to other managers in other divisions, and perhaps they also trickle up the ladder where senior executives buy into them and convert them into a wider strategic view. This is how emergent learning becomes emergent strategy.

Pro: Now why is that so hard to do? It all sounds so easy and natural! In particular, if the atmosphere was right, knowledge cafes or similar could play a really useful role.

Con: Sadly, a very common response to all this is (still) ‘great idea, but there isn’t a cost code for that sort of thing…’.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance…


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