What is a learning organisation?

Look, understand, act.
Look, understand, act.

Ask yourself what you did and what could have been done differently at the end of a project. Then act upon the findings.

In March 2008 Harvard Business Review published the article Is yours a learning organization? by David A. Garvin, Amy C. Edmondson, and Francesca Gino. There is a lot of learnings about how to implement findings in evaluation after having completed a project, speech, etc.

I would like to highlight one specific output easy to apply to everyday management: four questions you can ask yourself after having completed a mission or task. The questions are normally used by the US armed forces when returning from any operation, be it small or big, in order to know what can be learnt here and now.

  1. what actually happened
  2. why did that happen
  3. why was there a gap between what was planned and what actually happened
  4. what do we do next time: A. What do we continue to do? B. What do we do differently next time?


Harvard Business Online podcast no 83, ‘Is yours a learning organization?’, published online in March 2008.

Here’s the conversation on film:

What is a learning organisation?

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