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Lesson from LSSC 2012: Focus on Learning to Learn!

“The possession of tools, techniques, and technology is not the competitive advantage…it’s the learning you wrap around them before anyone else.”
– Steven J. Spear, Senior Lecturer – MIT Sloan School of Management & Engineering Systems Division – May, LSSC 2012, Boston

“Specifications should come more toward the end of the project not the start…capture knowledge for future use – both successes and failures.”
– Michael Kennedy, author of “Ready, Set, Dominate”, retired Senior Member, Technical Staff after 31 years at Texas Instruments Defense Electronics – May, LSSC 2012, Boston

“I’ll probably annoy a few system thinkers as well as proponents for self-organizing teams, but that means I’m doing my job…extremes of centralization and de-centralization are sub-optimal.”
– Don Reinertsen, educator at California Institute of Technology , author of “Product Development Flow” – May, LSSC 2012, Boston

“Today, I’d like to be provocative, not obnoxious because I think that is the place to be…pushing people to work faster is not as effective as working on the interfaces (the handoffs).”
– Gregory A. Howell, educator, author, and co-founder & managing director of the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) – May, LSSC 2012, Boston

 “Experience is not the same as knowledge (remember from which you are answering a question).”
– Yochai Benkler, Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society – May, LSSC 2012, Boston

If you missed the Lean Software and Systems Consortium 2012 (LSSC 2012) conference in Boston and you’re looking for an overview of the keys from the keynotes, highlights from the presentations, or a taste of the pre and post conference happenings, I can point you to several posts that do that very well here, here, here, and here. (Note these conferences going forward are now referred to as Lean Kanban North America or LKNA conferences).

Here’s My Take on the Lean Software Systems Consortium 2012 Conference

An alternative perspective of LSSC 2012 that I’ll offer you orbits more narrowly around my single biggest takeaway. It wasn’t a single keynote talk or individual track presentation, it wasn’t some succinct brilliant message appearing in the titles for any of the keynote talks or track presentations, nor was it overtly offered as “the main point” for any of the keynote talks or the track presentations that I saw. It was, for me, an unmistakable message noticeably and repeatedly threaded, as the underlying (core) lesson, into the themes of the keynote talks and several of the presentations I attended. “Focus on Learning to Learn” emerged as my “un-official theme” for the conference and was the key takeaway from LSSC 2012.

On the surface that sounds a bit obvious doesn’t it? Learning is the focus or purpose of most any conference, right? Okay, I do wonder about some that occur year after year in the same resort places, but that’s for another time and place. Yes, of course, “learning” is the focus of most any conference. To be clear though, I’m specifically saying, “learning to learn” here, not just “learning.” What’s the difference? 1 (more…)