GroupWare & Learning Orgs LO11610

J.C. Lelie (
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 00:57:03 -0800

Replying to LO11596 --

Michael Gort wrote:

> "This is a small beginning to a much larger topic. I think it's
> clear, however, that E-Mail -- or better, GroupWare -- can be a
> powerful tool in creating a learning environment."

And describes a tool called TeamRoom.

I'm currently involved in designing a set of interventions for
organizational change based on mapping archetypical behavior and realities
(as described by McWhinney (1992) in Paths of Change or in The BrainMap
from Brain Technologies) into what we call work conferences. In the design
of these conferences we try to let the people from a team or organization
experience the different types of changes and realities there are and what
choices they have. In this way we try to support them in developing a
bigger repertoire to handle change. These sessions take place in
conference rooms or in our own 'Crealab'.

We use our own computerized Groupware system (?) called Crealogic(r) in
which people can brainstorm, categorize, evaluate and what ever.
Basically, they can e-mail all together at the same moment. The use of
Crealogic facilitates communicating, creative thinking, problem solving
and reporting. This is one type of behavior.

Next follow steps in which people work together (without machines) in
integrating their ideas; this is another type of behavior. Then they are
asked to do, to plan for results they themselves define, to become
practical. And lastly, they will make provisions to control, coordinate
the plans they designed. All this is rather straight forward, the only
difference being the direction of the flow. We try to change the direction
of the path from conventionalizing to differentiating. In other words: we
start from participating and end in analysing the design, whereas usually
organizations go from analysing problems to participating in (re)design.

I'm still learning to see and act on our findings. And this post is part
of it.

What i have learned, or rather seen re-enforced, is that there are
at least two basic attitudes towards using x-ware (x equals soft,
hard or group) in change processes:
a. solve it through the x-ware with other people
b. solve it with the x-ware through other people.

(note: men usually adopt the first attitude, women the second; i do not
know why i added this note)

The first is the most effective in well-defined problem areas (how do we
get from a to b?) the second with less-structured, more open problems
(where do we want to go to?).

I suppose these two attitudes correspond to the two directions mentioned
earlier. As i read through your post, i get the idea that the resistance
to collaborate (and use x-ware) is based on these two discrepancies. It
makes me think of the saying: 'for the man with the hammer, every problem
is a nail'. X-ware can be very hammer like: so we also should apply it to
hammer down a vision.

Recently we reframed this saying into: 'for the man with a hammer, every
problem is a savings pig'(spaarvarken in Dutch). When we now start to
hammer: we may find who knows what.

Perhaps, and i'll frame it in a question: 'what choices do we have to
consider in using x-ware' and 'how do we tempt people into making the
appropriate choices?' In other words: michael, you descibed one cycle of
actions with two directions of the visioning process, leading to different
results. Was the use of x-ware of any influence? Where were these
directions based on? Different back-grounds? Different starting points?
Expectations? Rank?

So does the tool have influence on the learning strategies? On changing
organizations and society? And if so, how?



Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (J.C. Lelie) @date@ @time@ CREATECH/LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development - + (31) 70 3243475 Fax: idem or + (31) 40 2443225

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