Welcome to week five screenside chats. The first question I wanted to answer was posted by Stephen Dowy, and his question had to do with learning from failure. And he writes, Professor Macfarlane mentioned the dangers of focusing on failure, but isn't there a lot to be learned from failure? Why is flying so safe? One reason is that it has institutionalized through procedures and culture a way of learning from failure. My experience in the submarine service is similar. A culture is developed where mistakes are not covered up but publicized for others to learn from. As far as possible, we try to avoid blame culture. Near miss-reporting provided ways of learning from others' mistakes before they became failures. Perhaps we learn more from failures than success, and many of you upvoted this. This was a great comment and a great topic for us to think about for a second. I think it reflects a lot of the issues we're confronting within the course. A bunch of you said that you agree, there is value in learning from failure. In fact you think there's greater value. So someone like Angie Greenhaw, Giuliano Martin and Yuranya Josephy, you guys all kind of agreed with that and I can see why. Sudesh Carnick argued that maybe there is a point at which you took it too far, perhaps, which is that if we focus on failure all the time, and we're always analyzing it, that can be problematic. We can have a culture of critique or a culture of problems, right. And that's why someone like Fabio Oliva talked about analyzing failure, and success. So a concern that we can do appreciative inquiry, and so that's kind of a slightly different take that we don't just focus on our failures, and try to analyze that, but also analyze certain things that went well. And then Don Price wrote that critique and iterative development, as we critique as we go. And we go through iterative development to adapt what we're trying to accomplish, that that's also a positive way of learning and reflecting on failures. That said, I mean, you can have horrible failures that are catastrophic, so you want to avoid those and the like. I think the point of the readings wasn't that this kind of learning process would disappear, in fact it's encouraged, and the reflection on it should be central to the organization. That your technological core, the key task that you're trying to do well at in terms of taking inputs and creating outputs. That you want to constantly try to reflect on how you can improve that practice, or the practices essential to it, to find the levers so you can have this learning curves of where you increase productivity and efficiency, and improve the firm, right? Now I think in terms of the readings, though, what I had meant really was that all too often in most companies you enter certain kinds of learning traps. And these tend to be of two sorts, when I make a mistake or I fail at something, for example trying a new curriculum or trying a new way of doing peer assessment or a new grading rubric. If it doesn't go perfectly the inclination in a lot of companies would be to drop the product or to drop it altogether and move on and not reflect on what went into the failure. And not only that, that's kind of a learning trap because what might have been an excellent thing to adopt, had you interatively developed that curriculum or that peer grading rubric, so that it can improve. That it could actually become a global optimum, meaning something that would have worked incredibly well if you just stuck with it, and tried to learn from the incremental failures that you're having. That said, if you stick with something too long, you need to know when to cut loose, right? That something just won't work or it won't reach your kind of level of expectations, right. The opposite is also true, though. I mean in appreciative inquiry you could also think that always focusing on the positive could lead to just so stories. And, all too often in most firms, I was trying to argue in the readings, that when you do something successfully, even if it is a, maybe not the most optimal activity or task or procedure to use, that because it went well that one time you repeat it. And because you repeat it again, it typically goes slightly better, and you have this little learning curve. But you don't know if that curve would have gotten you to a better place in magnitude, several times over than another one. And so that's why a positive learning trap is problematic. That you never try something new. You get stuck in the cycle of thinking you're doing things great, when, in fact, there might be a better way out there. All too often we tend to react to problems. And organizational learning is hopefully getting your firm to think a little bit beyond just problems and successes to reflect on your core technology, your core practices. And to discuss them as a community of practice, a community that collaborates and constantly tries to improve what they're doing. And then the network of practice is something that reaches out into the world far more into other ideas, say at other universities, or other firms or in other countries, where you learn about something quite different. And come with creative ideas that maybe you wouldn't have found within your local community or your group. That you would find these other ways of doing things and perhaps adapt them to the local context. So network of practice and community of practice kind of are combined. And I think the other thing to think about too is that the theory actually is proposing a balance of search and exploitation. This comes to the point of well, do you constantly try to make something work that just won't? When do you explore for new solutions and reflect on things, and constantly adapt them, or innovate them? And when do you really try to make them work efficiently and effectively and stick with one thing and do it really well? And it's this balance of exploration and exploitation which is really kind of related to this notion of success and failure and the process of reflection within firms about their practice. And I think the theory is generally arguing that you need a balance, you need some kind of moderation involved here. And that the reflection process is important, but sometimes you have to act. And I think that's the exploitation mode, and reflection is more about exploration and considering alternatives and ways that you could improve. Hopefully with your core technology, your core input to output task, that you are constantly thinking of ways to improve it and you're doing this kind of balance search versus exploitation mode. And you are considering where things are failures and what you can learn from them and trying to move quickly through successes, and reflecting on why they were also so helpful. So this constant reflection about practice is the key thing about organizational learning, and I think you picked up on that. And hopefully I didn't downplay failure as a way to learn, because obviously, it is an important one. So thank you for bringing that up, Stephen.