Six Serving Men Blog

Six Serving Men Blog

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Experiential Learning – Learn from your Mistakes

Stef Elliott - Thursday, March 12, 2009

The increasing awareness of tools such as Google analytics and website optimiser have made people focus upon the importance doing something they have done subconciously for years – Experiential learning.

From an early age we have all learned from our experiences i.e. doing something expecting a certain outcome, reviewing what actually happened and then refining our thinking and ideas. This Do-Review-Refine (or Kolb’s learning cycle) process is in built.

However how many companies actually embed or institutionalise this process in their ongoing business development activities. The web has thrown up lots of information but to (mis)quote Albert Einstein ”not everything that can be counted counts”. 

  • How many executive hours and reams of paper are being focussed upon management information reports but without addressing the “So What” question – So what are we going to do.  
  • Even if the infomation is being reviewed how many companies have an ability and robust processes in place to easily refine and adjust their digital activity to reflect the insight they have drawn from their analytics.    

The British Army’s Special Air Service (SAS) have an approach that

  1. You should always learn from your mistakes
  2. It’s quicker, cheaper and easier to learn from other peoples

Even organisations such as the British Standards Institute in PAS 124 recognise the need that your digital presence should be in a continuous state of beta – But in order to profit from this companies need to be aware of what they are trying to achieve, what they are achieving and then reacting to benefit from their learnings.

Without putting in the regular disciplines of validating experience against expectations many companies are not benefiting from Learning from their mistakes – The definition of madness is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result!

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