Intro: David Damm-Luhr (Cambridge, MA, USA)

Damm-Luhr, David L (
Fri, 23 Dec 94 12:01:00 EST

I joined the Learning Organization list several months ago because it seemed
like a good place to connect with others with similar interests, and to
learn. With the holiday time now upon us I now have a chance to introduce
myself, rather than race through others contributions and keep my
reflections to myself. Overall, I enjoy the L-O list (particularly the mix
of practitioners/theoreticians, the range of interests, and the
international flavor - I lived in Germany for 3 three years), and
appreciate Rick Karash s moderating.


I work in the USDOT's Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as head of
the Change Management Division. We're entrepreneurial, in that there are
billets but no funding in each year's federal budget, and we consequently
depend on paying clients. My own group of organization development
specialists, for example, does virtually no work internal to the Volpe
Center, but almost all for federal clients who pay for our services. Our
services range from assisting senior executives develop strategic business
plans, to working with "reinvention" teams on a range of organizational
effectiveness issues, on to helping organizations identify and improve
specific "business processes." With the National Performance Review (NPR)
of VP Al Gore still very much alive, we are paying attention to the
possibilities for new organizational forms in government (to "work better
and cost less" etc.). Conversations about "learning organizations" seems
to hold a lot of promise in that regard.


It has been 25 years since I first encountered "general systems theory" (at
the University of Michigan) and have been wondering ever since how
everything connects to everything else. This has taken me on some amazing
journeys. In order to condense, I ll just list out the headlines of my
current interests as an indication of where I am heading, all somehow
connected to "learning organizations" in my mind:

* Self-organizing systems & networks
* New science (quantum physics and chaos, etc) & organizational consulting
* Dialogue
* Community building at work
* Entrepreneurial government


I d really appreciate L-O list participants making their beliefs and
assumptions public, so I m going to do that now, at least for two that
occurred to me as I wrote the above:

* the seeds of the next step in our evolution are within us (as individuals,
groups, as organizations, etc.)
* structures needs to follow whatever processes underlie the current


Several of us here are trying to find information about the use in
governmental organizations of boards of directors that include outside
members. We re finding some info about boards that have union reps, but
currently stumped on the outside members piece. Anyone have any thoughts or
references? (We assume that having a board of directors with outside
members could be a means to encouraging greater organizational learning.)

best wishes for 1995

David Damm-Luhr
USDOT/Volpe Center
Cambridge, MA 02142-1093