Since the look and feel of Emergent Learning disciplines varies widely
to match an organization’s needs and culture, the best way to understand
them is through examples of real-world challenges and solutions:
One of the reasons organizations find it difficult to truly “learn
our lessons” is that we wait until the end of a project and “capture”
lessons for some other team, rather than learning as we go in our own
work. This is a simple example of how starting during (if not even before)
action can launch an on-going Emergent Learning discipline.
After experiencing repeated problems with duplication
of efforts, inconsistent commitments to delivery and unclear roles, a
business planning team for Shell Oil’s exploration business met
midway through the annual planning process to conduct an After
Action Review. Then they took their insights and looked forward using
a "Before Action Review" to predict what challenges the next
phase might bring, and to analyze and plan for anticipated "train
wrecks," such as the anticipated fallout of switching to a new planning
tool. After the planning process was complete, they conducted another
AAR and planned how to take lessons learned into next year's process.
Positive results from this initial experience have led to "BARs"
and "AARs" becoming normal operating procedure for this team.