Extending the Organizational Learning Process in Order to Enable Innovative Ideas

Kaiser, Alexander and Kragulj, Florian and Grisold, Thomas and Walser, Roman (2015) Extending the Organizational Learning Process in Order to Enable Innovative Ideas. In: 16th European Conference on Knowledge Management - ECKM 2015, 3-4 September 2015, The University of Udine, Italy.


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Innovation processes require organizations to transcend current boundaries. These include not only technological as well as social limitations but -above all- the way we address the future. We are used to face the future with our existing knowledge and experiences from the past. This strategy, however, can hardly lead to knowledge off the beaten path. We therefore suggest a new learning approach for organizations which enables to literally envision a desired future scenario and thus, allows for the creation of radical new knowledge. In this paper we focus on organizational learning towards the future and compare its output with traditional learning from the past. Based on the idea of Learning from the Future (Greenleaf, 1977; Jaworski, 1998; C. O. Scharmer & Kaeufer, 2013; Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers., 2005) we extend the organizational learning process with an additional source of learning. By interacting with an ideal envisioned future, individuals are enabled to detach particularly from their doubts, concerns and restrictions grounded in their past experiences, which in turn clarifies the necessary actions to realize this desired scenario. We have been successfully applying Learning from Interacting with an Envisioned Future, in short Learning from an Envisioned Future, to various problem settings and different project sizes. (Kaiser, Fordinal, & Kragulj, 2014) We argue that our method leads to new knowledge which generally yields a higher degree of novelty and radicalness. In order to support our assumption we present our findings from comparing the output of Learning from an Envisioned Future and learning from the past. For this study we use data from an on ongoing organizational learning project we are currently conducting with a high school in Austria. (Kaiser & Kragulj, 2015) To investigate whether the approaches lead to considerably different results in terms of quality and quantity we apply the Paradigm Relatedness Framework by Nagasundaram & Bostrom (1994). By using this method, we assess the novelty and degrees of "radical change" for the system induced by the individual ideas and compare the overall output in a systematic way. The research question of our paper is the following: How does the use of Learning from Interacting with an Envisioned Future as an additional learning mode support the quality and quantity of innovative ideas? Does the output of both learning modes differ in terms of quality and quantity so that they could be used together in order to provide a more holistic knowledge creation? Initial findings suggest that Learning from an Envisioned Future does produce significantly more output modifying the dominant paradigms in the school system compared to the output we gained from the conventional learning approach. Thus, we reason that Learning from an Envisioned Future yields more potential to knowledge that can be regarded as radically new. Our paper will be structured in the following way. Firstly, we will discuss the theoretical background of our advanced approach of Learning from an Envisioned Future. Secondly, we will describe the ongoing research project with an Austrian high school as a qualitative case study. Subsequently, we will extensively compare the results of the two learning approaches we facilitated in the case study in terms of their quantity and quality measured by the Paradigm Relatedness Framework.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Departments > Informationsverarbeitung u Prozessmanag. > Informationswirtschaft
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: None
Depositing User: Alexander Kaiser
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 09:38
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2018 15:51
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/71999/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/4642


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