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Want to Evolve into the Next-Generation Learning Organization? Adopt These 5 Core Pillars

Transformation of an organization into a Next-generation Learning Organization (NLO) is a challenging endeavor.  The main hurdles include convoluted hierarchies, bureaucratic red tape, delayed decision making, and complicated organizational systems and processes.

To develop a learning organization, leadership needs to trim down bureaucracy and complexities.  They should make the best use of technology to gather holistic real-time data, deploy Artificial Intelligence at scale, and develop data-driven decision-making systems.

Five Core Pillars of Learning are essential for the creation of a Next-generation Learning Organization, including:

  1. Digital Transformation
  2. Human Cognition Improvement
  3. Man and Machine Relationship
  4. Expanded Ecosystems
  5. Management Innovation

Let’s take a deep dive into the first 3 Core Pillars.

1. Digital Transformation

The first pillar is Digital Transformation.  Next-generation Learning Organizations (NLOs) are characterized by their speed of learning and their adeptness to take action based on new insights.  They use emerging technologies to automate as well as “autonomize” their businesses, without relying too much on human intervention and decision-making.

By autonomizing, the NLOs enable machines to learn, take action, and evolve on their own based on continuous feedback.  They create integrated learning loops where information flows automatically from digital platforms into AI algorithms where it is mined in run-time to gather new insights.  The insights are passed to action systems for necessary action that create more data, which is again mined by AI, and the cycle continues, facilitating learning at fast pace.

2. Human Cognition Improvement

Next-generation Learning Organizations (NLOs) schedule time for their people to have unstructured reflection on their work.  While most organizations fear disruption of human work in future by AI and machines, NLOs assign unique roles to their people based on human cognition strengths—e.g., understanding relationships, drawing causal judgment, counterfactual thinking, and creativity.  These organizations are aware of AI’s advantage—in analyzing correlations in complex data promptly—as well as its shortcomings in terms of reasoning abilities and interpretation of social / economic trends.  NLOs make design the center of their attention and utilize human creativity and imagination to generate new ideas and produce novel products.  They assign roles accordingly, inspire imagination in people by exposing them to unfamiliar information, and inculcate dynamic collaboration.

3. Man and Machine Relationship

NLOs foster innovative ways to promote collaboration between people and machines.  They recognize that this helps them in better utilization of resources, maximize synergies, and learn dynamically.

To create effective collaboration between people and machines, NLOs develop robust human-machine interfaces.  The existing AI systems lack the ability to decipher everything, which is an area where humans excel.  NLOs supplement these shortcomings by setting up human-machine interfaces, where humans assist the AI by corroborating its actions and suggesting sound recommendations.  These learning organizations bifurcate responsibilities based on the risks involved, assign humans and machines appropriately against each job, and select a suitable level of generalization and sophistication between humans and machines.

Interested in learning more about the Core Pillars of Learning?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Next-generation Learning Organization: Core Pillars here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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