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Year of the Intelligent Organization

Way back in the last century, circa 1990, a student of management science published a book, The Fifth Discipline, which introduced the concept of Organizational Learning to the business world. Peter Senge, the author of this best seller, took the business world by storm. I personally found the premise of this book very compelling – the enterprise can develop knowledge, much as a human does, and this organizational learning process can be managed intentionally for success.

15 years ago this was a big deal. Everybody seemed to have the book on a shelf at the office and there was huge follow up buzz including seminars and copycat publications. However, I am willing to bet that only a handful of professionals have put significant thought into the concept of organizational learning since that time. It is time to change that and 2007 could be the year.

Technology has caught up with the concept of organizational learning. CRM came first and provided the tool for capturing customer interactions – the basic building blocks of knowledge. Next, Web 2.0 provided a revolution in thinking about the notion of collaboration. All of a sudden, knowledge management became possible and the software vendors have been developing ever more usable solutions for harvesting knowledge. Place on top of this SOA technology and the integration of different sources of knowledge has become both more manageable and affordable. Finally, mix in a healthy dose of BI software and business processes and all of a sudden we move from organizational learning theory to organizational intelligence in action.

Old Cracks
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007 should emerge as the year of the Intelligent Organization. Businesses now have the ability to put organizational learning into practice, building on their CRM systems, leveraging the new propensity for collaboration, and gaining the benefits of BI capabilities. If you have not finished your business plans for the New Year, think seriously about putting actions in place to raise your organizational IQ.

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