2.1.1 Here comes the magic!

Blue Zones are the areas across the globe which have the highest concentration of people living longer than average. 

Why is it that in these 5 Blue Zone areas on earth people live (much) longer than average? Researches have tried to figure out the secret of these magical places. Trying to learn from them so other areas/countries can benefit from this.

The same research for organizations was done by Arie de Geus. He worked for the planning department of Shell and was one of the founding fathers of the Society for Organizational Learning (SOL).

Here's a summary of his book "The Living Company: Habits for Survival in a Turbulent Business Environment".

"Most companies do not survive the upheavals of change and competition over the long haul. But there are a few remarkable firms that have withstood the test of several centuries. What hidden lessons do they hold for the rest of us? Arie de Geus, the man who introduced the revolutionary concept of the learning organization, reveals the key to managing for a long and prosperous organizational life. The Living Company speaks not just to aspiring leaders, but to anyone trying to adapt to a turbulent business environment. Only those steeped in the habits of a living company will survive". 

In his advice on how to create a living organization "Learning" plays an essential role. There is no living without learning, so there is no living organization without a learning organization. And the long term fundament for building a learning organization is a Learning Culture.

In this Learning Journey a lot of our knowledge on the subject comes from the following specialists: Peter Senge, Josh Bersin and Nigel Paine. 

  • Peter Senge is specialist in the field of the Learning Organization and systemic change. For developing a Learning Culture you need to work on different levels at the same time. You have to develop on the personal, team and organizational level. With extra attention to the leadership.
  • Josh Bersin has done a lot of research on Learning Cultures. He discovered the characteristics of a Learning Culture and found out that the top 6% best performing companies worldwide have a Learning Culture. 
  • Nigel Paine wrote a practical guide to all aspects of developing a culture of continuous learning. From how to introduce and implement a learning culture, to how to extend and develop it.

Learning organizations can't only deal with uncertainty. They flourish on it!

Patrick Bijman

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