Learning by Watching
There is only a certain amount you can learn by reading. Sometimes you have to go and see.
With complex knowledge, there is more going on that can ever be documented, and (if it’s possible) the best way to learn is to go and see for yourself. Toyota call this “Genchi Genbutsu” – an approach they apply to problem solving. Wikipedia has this story –
“Taiichi Ohno, creator of the Toyota Production System is credited, perhaps apocryphally, with taking new graduates to the shopfloor and drawing a chalk circle on the floor. The graduate would be told to stand in the circle, observe and note what he saw. When Ohno returned he would check; if the graduate had not seen enough he would be asked to keep observing. Ohno was trying to imprint upon his future engineers that the only way to truly understand what happens on the shop floor was to go there”.
In Knowledge Management, these Knowledge Visits have a place in knowledge transfer. If you really want to learn from something complex and truly understand what happens, then go and see and talk to the people who are involved.
See for example the Observer Programme organised by the International Olympic Committee as part of their Knowledge Management framework.
This article describes how more than 100 staff from the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games visited and observed the Rio 2016 Olympics.
IOC’s Observer Programme, which is an integral element of the Olympic Games Knowledge Management, represents a key component of the knowledge transfer process, providing a unique opportunity to live, learn and experience real operations to future hosts, guided by key personnel of Rio Organizing Committee or IOC.
POCOG will attend the total of seventy-six programmes, including Airport Operations, Look of the Games, Accreditation, Medical Services, Venue Management, Ticketing, Venue Energy, and Transport.
SEO, Min-jung, the Head of Doping Control Team said, “After closely observing Rio Games, I now know what to do for PyeongChang 2018.” She added, “I can expect what needs to be done to give athletes absolute confidence in the doping control system and uphold the integrity of Olympics and Paralympics Games.”
POCOG Spokesperson SUNG, Baik-you commented, “Thanks to invaluable IOC Observer Programme, POCOG staffs are here to watch and learn, and every moment and experience from airport arrival to competition venue visit will be a learning experience for PyeongChang 2018.”