Learning at many levels

Posted on Friday, 7 July, 2006 by


How to keep a learning log if your learning pace is higher than your processing pace? I did an assignment for a business association with 260 companies as members. Traditionally their objective was to strengthen business ties between the Netherlands and Portugal, but since structural funding by the Embassy stopped, they are basically free to do anything they like. Which puts them in a terrible fix: part of the staff wants to follow market opportunities and act like a consultancy company, while another part wants to tend to the members´ needs. Members do not form a closely-knit community, hence their needs are not articulated. The services to them are merely social events, like a golf tournament and a festive anniversary dinner.

The consultancy services are lucrative, the social events are not. Traditionally the two re-enforced each other, today, increasingly, the clients are not members, and do not want to become members. How to turn around the divergence between "clients" and "members"? I did a quick scan and discovered:

  • It is valuable to people if you just write down what you see and what they tell you. They seem all surprised and happy with the result, which is basically just a summing-up of what they gave you. Looking from a distance and the relative quiet I have in my daily life, are a contrast to the daily lives they are in, and this helps me to structure my observations.
  • The digital divide is everywhere. I assumed people my age who are university level office workers with Internet connections at work and at home would know what a blog is. Wrong.
  • How to create value from a network? The term "network" is also used for a network company, e.g. a telecom company. A lot can be learned for organizational networks from the comparison. Networks create value by mediating exchanges between their members: more members, intensified networking among members.
  • On a self employed consultant level I am still a beginner… How to negotiate? It is disturbing the rest of the conversation. I am now invited to prepare a proposal for follow-up… which is good, but which will cost time…
Posted in: learning log