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Front-line stories of Emergent Learning disciplines

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:

Improving an annual planning process at Shell Oil

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.

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