Re: Is speed/technology really progress? LO140

Michael McMaster (
Fri, 17 Feb 1995 09:15:51 GMT

Replying to LO107

The following references to memory prompt an important part which is
necessary for consideration of organisation intelligence or organisational
learning. Without some kind of memory - retention of knowledge by the
system - there can be no intelligence nor learning as we understand them.

> > Emergent Phenomena! ... These patterns form of a need to build
> > and maintain the organization. Without them the organization fades from
> > memory.

> This implies that for organizations to be learning organizations
> they should accumulate learning experiences into some kind of centralized
> memory to which anyone has access! They also must be capable of
> "internalizing" those environmental experiences. Interesting! I wonder
> at this point, what kind of organizations are more susceptible to these
> learning and changing experiences!

Memory doesn't necessarily imply "centralised memory to which enyone has
access"" Its possible that we could have memory with no individual access
to the memory. It would be quite sufficient, for instance, that
cooridinated processes bring together previous knowledge as action or
ideas are beginning to form. Memory in humans, after all, is not a single
thing located in a single spot - even if a single memory. Memory emerges
from connections made via distributed locations based on some stimulation
or intention. (To give a slightly shorthand version.) So what is necessary
is that the "memory" be accessed in relationship to immediate action or

This allows for the possibility that much of "memory" is embedded in the
structures themselves. As energy or information go through the system,
they are affected by the "memory" without ever being aware of it. (This
is pretty much the everyday occurrence of memory in human beings. We are
only aware of access to memory a tiny fraction of the time but it is
always operating.)

To design for intelligence and learning, we need to work from principles
that maintain knowledge and apply it in response to situations that might
call for it. This is very different than having a library or catelogue -
or even map - and from systems which demand that "everyone know
everything" or even have access to everything.

Michael McMaster
From: (Michael McMaster)