I’m reading Dean Burnett’s “The Idiot Brain” at the moment (very interesting and worth a read).
One thing (of many) that struck me as relevant to KM and learning was from his chapter about memory and biases.
Apparently our brains don’t like to “criticise” our actions (by storing a negative memory) if they are fairly recent, but *can* criticise past events, as the ego is still happy because we’ve clearly grown and improved since the past event.
So how can this information help KMers?
I had two ideas.
Reflective learning and After Action Reviews are great ways for people to create and share knowledge from real-life experiences, but if they struggle to remember events in a way that could criticise their recent actions due to natural biases, how can we help them?
Firstly, for an AAR that needs to take place fairly soon after an event, we can take time and make sincere efforts to create a non-judgmental atmosphere, so that no one needs to feel criticised and everyone can feel they are on a non-judgmental journey of learning, with a focus on how much everyone has learned and changed. This is more easily done by having an outsider as facilitator, but you can follow the army advice about AARs to hold successful ones yourself (see article at the end).
Secondly, for effective personal reflective learning, we can concentrate on recording events and brief initial thoughts daily/weekly, but spend more time monthly/quarterly at looking for the learning points/criticising our actions/looking for gaps in our knowledge and also revisit old reflective learning diaries later on for new learning out of old experiences.
What do you think? Do you agree and if so, what other ideas do you have to improve our KM using this knowledge?
Read more here
- “The Idiot Brain” by Dean Burnett
- “From chump to champ” by AE Wilson & M Ross, 2001 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80(4) pp572-84
- “Iterative Improvement” an article on After Action Learning for Managing Partner
- Projects 9 & 10 in “Practical Projects in Legal KM”
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Also, think about coming along to a KM: The Works day, when we cover learning and reflective learning as well as all the KM basics.