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16 April 2016

My week at Harvard

Written by
Jennifer Garvey Berger

I have spent this cold springtime week at Harvard doing a variety of interesting things that have filled my head and given me some pieces I’d like to explore with you. Just to hold on to the ideas:

On Monday I taught for Bob Kegan’s class for the last time—he retires this year. I have been teaching in his Introduction to Adult Development class each April since I graduated 14 years ago, and it has been interesting to watch the content change, the students change, and to watch myself change. I might write a little about that class and how I have thought about it over the years and about the excellent questions and observations from this years remarkably bright and curious folks.

On Tuesday I went to the launch of Bob Kegan and Lisa Lahey’s new book. The book, An Everyone Culture, is about Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs), and the book launch was held in the Boston offices of Next Jump, one of the three DDOs mentioned in the book. In addition to seeing dear old friends—some of whom I haven’t seen in 15 years—I also got to take a tour of Next Jump and think a little about some of the features of DDOs. I’d like to muse about that.

On Wednesday and Thursday I have been at the Learning Innovations Lab (LILA) gathering at Harvard. This is an incredibly interesting gathering of people from organizations large and small—often chief learning or talent officers of biggish organizations and assorted people from smallish ones, mostly in the US but also elsewhere around the world. LILA is a Harvard research project designed to explore issues of importance to organizations, and to simultaneously learn what makes learning conversations most effective. Their process is that they have one theme that stretches across a year (this year the theme was Managing Complexity–How organizations navigate strategic paradoxes). They meet in person for 2 days four different times, and each time there are two guest experts (mostly university faculty, I think) who offer two different “provocations” each, each day. The rest of the time is spent in community sensemaking and discussion about the topic, and each of the yearly sessions builds on the others—and each year builds on the years before it. This year Chris Kayes and I were the speakers at the 3rd event. It was an amazing group of people, a really interesting design, and a spectacular set of supports that live around the learning—each of which is making me think about things in a new way.

So, come back and check out what I’ve learned and toss in what you’ve learned (especially if you’re one of the folks who was there…)

PS The picture today is of Bill Torbert and me at Bob and Lisa’s book launch. By the way, I love our new website—I hope you love it too.

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