Re: Organizational Memory LO156

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Sun, 26 Feb 1995 16:14:55 +0001 (EST)

On 18 Feb 1995, Carol Anne Ogdin wrote in LO156:

> 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
> LO?
> [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 :-) ]
Yowsah! And every once in a while it occurs to us to reminisce and see how
far we've come. For example, from the general perspectives of this group,
idea-systems such as B.F.Skinner and Watson's "behaviorism" seem farther
away than the moon.

Not that I ever liked any of that anyway, but it was always hard for me to
articulate just what was so claustrophobic and stultifying about them.

The world-view that this group is struggling out of, tribally, is the last
expiring gasp of some _very_ old extensions of Newtonian/Baconian physical
science into areas of knowledge and human wisdom where it could _never_ have
worked. But to _see_ that has cost us about two centuries.

There are more different kinds of people in the world than there are people...