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Using SOLEs concepts within the work environment

In 2013 a Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University in England made a much-noted speech at TED. He proposed that old educational methods were outdated and ineffective and that simply allowing children to interface together around a computer, in what he calls “Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs)” increased aptitude exponentially.

The Professor actually had in past years plunked down computers in slum areas in a project called “Hole in the Wall”. This resulted in academic gains and inspired a book called “Q&A”, which in turn was the muse for the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

Some issues every organization might face at some point would be dwindling fundraising prospects, difficult clients, new regulations and audit requirements, among a whole slew of other possibilities. Oft times in the past, CEOs thought they and consultants had to devise the solutions. Quite often, solutions derived this way were not embraced as feasible or practical by the rest of the team.

Now, rather than lecture at employees, some intrepid consultants and management leaders are allowing their employee base to self-organize and self-learn. One large NGO in New York took on the challenge of change by pitching their issues to employees and inviting them to come up with the solutions. The incentive to solve the problem was job security, as well as job raises if the organization could find a way to set up a capital reserve. Within a year, within each department and segment, employees found creative ways to hit goals agreed upon collectively, including stretching the institutional dollar and re-branding the organization.

SOLEs are not just for children in slum environments anymore. They can be utilized in adult, professional settings as well.


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