Scalable learning will be key to your company’s success

By Ross Dawson

May 05, 2017

I first met John Hagel, Co-Chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge in Silicon Valley, when we both presented at a knowledge conference in San Francisco around 15 years ago. I have always found his work exceptionally relevant in a rapidly changing world. Hagel has long focused on "scalable learning" as the key factor driving value in an accelerating world. 

From his 2009 Harvard Business Review article The New Organization Model: Learning at Scale Hagel and his colleagues have put into the public arena and developed the ideas of how organisations must scale their ability to learn. They describe how the landscape has shifted from the need for scalable efficiency to requiring scalable learning:

"the key requirement for institutional success is to move from scalable efficiency to scalable learning. Near-constant innovation is the only way to respond successfully to near-constant disruption. Said differently, the rate of learning, innovation, and performance improvement within the institution must match (or exceed) that of the surrounding environment if the institution is to survive (or thrive)."

 In a more recent post Scaling Learning in an Exponential World, Hagel takes the ideas further:

"The institutions that will succeed in the Big Shift are those that help everyone to accelerate learning, rather than restricting it to a privileged few.


And, if we take scalable learning seriously, we won't stop at the four walls of our enterprises and narrowly focus only on our employees. Instead, we'll seek to participate in expanding ecosystems that will help us to build deep, trust-based relationships with a growing number of third party participants that are all driven by a desire to learn faster together.


Rather than focusing on snapshots of performance at any specific point in time, scalable learning organizations are relentlessly focused on the trajectory of performance – not only whether performance is improving over time, but whether it is accelerating. If it’s not accelerating, it’s not good enough. In an exponential world, we need exponential improvements in performance."

This thinking is at the heart of the concept and design of Rh7thm. In an exceptionally fast-changing world, to help our clients and create value we must be learning at scale. 

We aim to achieve this through the people we hire, how we work, how the organisation functions, but perhaps most importantly, how we develop and tap our ecosystems so we can keep on the vanguard of technology and organisational change.

On our journey we will aim to share as much as we can of our journey of building scalable learning.


About author
Ross Dawson

Ross Dawson

Ross is CEO and Chief Futurist of Rh7thm