Those who know me know that I am passionate about public education and have invested the better part of my adult life promoting equity in terms of educational opportunities for minority and immigrant children in our community through a foundation I started in 2009. In seeking to educate myself about education and human learning over the years, I came across the work of Sugata Mitra, a respected researcher at Newcastle University.
Mr. Mitra became a popular TEDx talk speaker based on his research related to self-teaching. His work is truly extraordinary and he has aspirations of expanding education to every child everywhere on the planet. You can drop into one of his early talks in this video where he summarizes what he called his “Hole in the Wall” experiments conducted in some of the most remote parts of the world where formal education is a luxury item.
His findings were extraordinary and include evidence that the most effective and deep learning happens when individuals self-teach in small groups. The academic results were so promising he devised a system he called, “Self-Organized Learning Environments,” or SOLEs. Wow.
If there were one dimension to team agility I could point to as a indicator of success in agile adoption, it would be the team’s ability to create its own SOLE. The heart of agile (hat-tip to Alistair Cockburn on his new agile movement!) is the emphasis of shared learning and adaptation to accelerate value delivery. Teams that devise better ways of learning and collaborating outperform their peers every single time.
So if you are looking to “be agile,” ask yourself and your team this: “What are we doing to create a self-organizing learning environment?” As you answer that question, you will move your team faster and faster along its journey to agility. Find your SOLE and become agile!