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Journal Article

Learning from an Envisioned Future: An Empirical Account  pp16-28

Alexander Kaiser, Florian Kragulj, Thomas Grisold, Roman Walser

© Mar 2016 Volume 14 Issue 1, Special Issue on Is KM in Decline?, Editor: Andrea Garlatti and Maurizio Massaro, pp1 - 88

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Abstract: Innovation processes require organizations to transcend current boundaries. These include not only technological as well as social limitations but ‑above all‑ the way we address the future. We are used to face the future with our existing knowledge and experiences from the past. This strategy, however, can hardly lead to knowledge off the beaten path. We therefore suggest a new learning approach for organizations, which enables to literally envision a desired future scenario and thereby, allows for the creation of radical new knowledge. We argue that the created knowledge yields a higher degree of novelty and radicalness. Along with an enhanced theory of learning including learning from the future, we present our empirical findings from comparing the outputs of Learning from an Envisioned Future and learning from the past. For this purpose, we use data from two organizational learning projects; one, which was conducted with a high school in Austria and another one, which was conducted with members of the Austrian Economic Chamber. Our findings from both case studies suggest that Learning from an Envisioned Future does produce significantly more paradigm challenging knowledge compared to the output gained from conventional learning from past experiences. We conclude that the combination of both learning sources may lead to best learning outcomes in organizations.


Keywords: Keywords: organizational learning, learning from an envisioned future, knowledge management, multi-case study, learning modes


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