Information Flow

6 out of 10 organisations don’t systematically share learnings* and 4 out of 10 leaders aren’t consistently looking for opportunities to learn*.

If learnings aren’t being sought and shared, blind spots can persist and the same mistakes can be repeated, losing out on valuable opportunities to boost collective intelligence and to innovate and improve.

In today’s complex world, organisations need to be able to anticipate and adapt to external change, or risk being disrupted and left standing. So it’s vital to have systems and processes in place for sharing learnings and information. Then when mistakes do occur, they are new and different rather than avoidable ones!

This requires creating a ‘just culture’, where people believe that they won’t be unfairly blamed when incidents occur. When Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust implemented a ‘Just and Learning Culture’ in 2016, they saw a reduction in suspensions and dismissals, increased reporting of adverse events, improved staff retention, and realised a total economic benefit estimated at around £2.5 million**.

Some techniques for sharing information and learnings and boosting collective intelligence include:

  • After Action Reviews (AARs) – originally created by the U.S. Army to learn quickly from soldiers’ experiences in the field and now used by all kinds of organisations to capture and transfer critical lessons and knowledge.
  • Rose-Bud-Thorn – a simple but powerful practice that can be part of a regular meeting or forum to normalise discussing mistakes and to emphasise and encourage learning.
  • Connectors or cultural brokers – these are people who can act as a ‘bridge’ between different teams or division to increase understanding and collaboration and avoid siloed working.
  • Feedback loops – such as ensuring that customer and employee feedback is captured and used to improve products or services.
  • * Data based on responses gathered through the growth mindset psychometric, Mindset Advantage, from thousands of leaders and hundreds of organisations globally over a period of 7 years.

    ** Kaur, M., De Boer, R. J., Oates, A., Rafferty, J., & Dekker, S. (2019). Restorative just culture: a study of the practical and economic effects of implementing restorative justice in an NHS trust.