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You mention learning in small workgroups. Are they scalable? Can we have enormous habitats of many small workgroups working on a new problem? Something like AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town meetings, but not just in one place on one day? How do you get everyone in a large organisation to take part in a learning activity (e.g. in an offline and online political party conference)?
For 1, discovering the mechanisms starts with qualitative research. Unlike naturalists like David Attenborough, we can ask people what they think. So anecdotes can help us formulate hypotheses. We generalise quantitative data to populations, qualitative data to theories (see Allen Lee's MISQ paper on Generalising Generalisability).
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Mar 21, 2011