According to ‘us’ (that is, the collective intelligence of the planet via Wikipedia), we define Tabula Rasa as:
Tabula rasa (Latin: blank slate) is the epistemological thesis that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception.
Let’s take that argument and apply it to the organization.
When we typically arrive onsite to start our new job, we’re devoid of specific organizational knowledge. (granted, we’re hired with some sort of specific acumen, bear with me on the argument)
Some of that organizational knowledge can be described in several ways, including but not limited to:
- Policies / Processes / Practices
- Org History / Current Vibe
- Cultural Stories / Urban Myths
- Past Wins / Losses
- Players / Networks
- Do’s / Don’ts
- Affiliations / Associations
The ‘old school’ way of handling Organizational Tabula Rasa was induction. Send your new employees to a 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. day formal training class, teach them (in a sage on the stage model) all the organizational knowledge you can, and hope for the best.
Sure, they may have a new physical network from those they met in class, but they aren’t exactly tapped into the organization; the CNS of the company.
With the advent of Enterprise 2.0 technologies, we now can utilize social networks, discussions forums, wikis, blogs, micro-blogs, video sites, and all sorts of user generated content to augment (or hopefully replace) the formal training induction class and create a richer, more connected experience.
The new employee, therefore, will be able to better fill their Organizational Tabula Rasa than simply the team they join, and the induction class they have taken.
By tapping into the collective intelligence of the organization through Enterprise 2.0 technologies, we now see how the learning function can help facilitate a much quicker, thorough and connected on-boarding approach.
It’s another great example, in my opinion, of how Enterprise 2.0 concepts, Learning 2.0 concepts (ie. Learnerprise) and a proper vision can lead to a more connected and collaborative culture.