Importance Of Learning From Past Experience

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Learning from past experience involves the review of success and failure of a company. A company must assess the data systematically, prepare a record of the learned lessons and it should be open and accessible to all employees. An old saying by George Santayana suggests: “ Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Unfortunately, today a lot of managers are failing to reflect on the past experience and therefore, they let valuable knowledge escape. Sometimes failure works as the best teacher and the knowledge gained from it often helps in achieving the success. Garvin explains that IBM ’s most popular 360 computer series was invented just after the failure of Stretch computers. Here, learning was done by mistakes from…show more content…
Similarly, Boeing marked their name in Boeing’s history after the invention of 757 and 767-plane programs just after the failure of 737 and 747-plane programs. An unproductive failure happens when things go well, but nobody knows about ‘why’ or ‘how’. However, productive failure is one when everyone has a deep understanding and insight of all actions that leads to ‘why’ and ‘how’. Garvin says that the learning process is not expensive. For instance, Xerox and British Petroleum can reduce their cost by assigning the case study and post-project reviews for students, interns etc. It will not only reduce the cost but will also bring the fresh talent that really helps in the learning process of an organization. Therefore, learning only needs a manager’s time to manage the work.

Learning from others is not something that always originates from reflection and self-analysis. Sometimes, the most powerful insight comes from outside the organization’s environment. New perspectives are gained by looking at various kinds of businesses and it work as a catalyst for creative thinking. Milliken calls the process of borrowing ideas from outside as SIS. SIS stands for Steal Ideas Shamelessly. At a broader scale, SIS is also known as benchmarking. Benchmarking is an ongoing investigation and learning experience that ensures

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