Vigorous Learning Organization

Vigorous Learning Organizations

How can we organize to more effectively improve quality of life while using drastically less resources and taking other measures to help nature regenerate?

Vigorous Learning Organizations are key.

Vigorous learning is discovering something new by experiment, or by combining the experience of many people. Learning may be carefully structured or be serendipitous. Learning from the past is essential, but beware of perpetuating obsolete models of reality or unsubstantiated myths (the past is prologue). In any case a Vigorous Learning Organization is created, structured, and culturally tuned for operational learning,

A Vigorous Learning Organization has five elements. These are a composite of the practices seen in the very best operational companies over a 25-year span. None perfectly mastered all five elements (impossible), but all at least partly practiced all five. Since real people have done this, so can you. All it takes is dedication to the behavioral disciplines, augmented by supportive organizational policies.

Although Sekisui Housing was headed that way, no company observed was thoroughly symbiotic with a regenerative ecology. However, we presume that, somewhere in mind, organizations interested in vigorous learning desire to live better while using much less – and preserving all life.

A Vigorous Learning Organization (VLO) is operational; it does something, so learning is from doing as well as by passive absorption. A VLO might be a company, which is a legal entity for tax purposes. Or it can be an agency, a non-profit or a voluntary work group. In any case, a VLO is a human organization to carry out a project, or a set of projects.

No work organizations, including companies live forever. If there is no need for their projects, they die, some after hundreds of years and some aborning. By contrast, communities are dedicated to their own preservation. If they can’t adapt their work organizations to do what is necessary at the time, they also die.

Vigorous Learning Organizations


Below are the five major elements of a Vigorous Learning Organization:

1. Leadership for Learning

2. Transformative Common Mission

3. Rigorous Learning Systems

4. See the Whole – Systems Thinking 

5. Behavior for Learning

All these elements interrelate, so developing a Vigorous Learning Organization is more integrative than implementing independent modules, expecting them to fit together like bricks in a wall. The elements reinforce each other. For example, learning to engage in insightful dialog is an ingredient of all five elements.

Instead, think of developing a Vigorous Learning Organization as an organic process – like growing a garden. Structures, as with Rigorous Learning Methodologies, are trellises on which human capabilities can grow. Learning to become regenerative with nature is a human development process as well as a system development process. Vigorous Learning Organizations, including their leaders, grow themselves by learning how to re-develop the human processes in the world in which they live.

For any of us or for any organization, it is easier to change how we think by changing what we do rather than the other way around.

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