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Lessons

1 July 2004

A lesson is a recommendation for future behavior learned based on past experience. A lesson is the product of initiated active thinking performed at the end of an event, project or other selected activity. It is created as a result of constructed learning that is in essence an analysis of results identified and a formulation of the required future course of action in terms of performance in order to prevent similar mistakes in the future or to enhance the advantages of said performance as preparation for the future. There are many lesson-production methods. The most famous one is the After Action Review (AAR).

In practice, since this is a structured process which takes place following processes or defined events, it usually covers only part of the overall organizational knowledge. If we review the quantitative ratio between lessons and practices it seems the bulk of knowledge in the organization is usually accumulated as practices during the work process itself, since producing a lesson is a long and complex process which usually takes place only when certain conditions are fulfilled. The bottom line is that also organizations that produce lessons leave most of the knowledge held by the individual worker and is not managed. It is recommended that each organization that wishes to perform organizational learning will combine the lesson producing & insight management with practices. This combination may well lead to organizational growth leverage.

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