Organizational Memory LO156

Carol Anne Ogdin (
18 Feb 95 10:04:31 EDT

Michael McMaster (LO140) wrote:

> 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.

[Rest of post deleted for brevity.]

There is, in addition, yet another form of organizational memory that
can only emerge when people collaborate. Have you had that magical ex-
perience of working with a group of colleagues where each individual's
contribution (a product of *their* memory) seems to stimulate an even
richer memory-based synthesis from another, the whole group spiralling
up to ever-richer interactions and productivity? (I sure hope you have

it's exhilarating!)

That reflects the synthesis that I believe comes only from the interaction
of multiple, simultaneous streams of memory converging at a point in
space and time. The problem is that this productive exploitation of
multiple memories has heretofore required the participants to be in the
same place at the same time for the synergy to emerge. This is, it seems
to me, the raw source of the benefits of what we call "organizational
technology" (called by the marketplace, "groupware"). The ability for
multiple participants, separated by space and time, to collaborate, merging
their multiple (and selected...and selective) memories, each feeding off
one another, each memory-based contribution stimulating other dormant ideas
from other participants, the whole producing rich levels of learning in
all participants.

Not unlike this list at its best, in fact.

But my point is this: We can harness modern technology (mail lists,
newgroups, collaborative tools like Lotus Notes) to facilitate this rich
source (and conduit) of organizational learning. We're actively working
in these areas, and are about to perform a multi-client "best practices"
project to find out what works best. My question to all of you: Who
else is toiling in this vineyard? Who else is coupling technology to the

[And enjoy the memories this evokes in you and which prompt you to respond
in ways that boost this seed of an idea into a spiral upward toward here-
tofore unimagined levels of creativity and productivity :-) ]

--Carol Anne
From: Carol Anne Ogdin <>