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Definitions

For purposes of consistency and shared understanding, here are some of the definitions useful in our work at Mountain Quest.

Adaptation is the process by which an organization improves its ability to survive and grow through internal adjustments. Adaptation may be responsive, internally adjusting to external forces, or it may be proactive, internally changing so that it can influence the external environment.

A complex adaptive system is made up of a large number of self-organizing semi-independent agents that seek to maximize their own goals but operate according to rules and in the context of relationships with other semi-independent agents. Their activities and relationships are such as to result in overall cohesion of the system as a whole.

Balance.  As complex human systems, we continuously have priorities that compete for attention.  How much attention and energy is needed to create this reality?  Do I have enough personal resources available to develop and promote it?  How do I feel about this idea?  How strong is my commitment to this?   And, very important, how much passion do I have for this idea?  How we balance our lifeís work significantly determines what and how much we achieve.

Complexity is a measure of the number of possible states a system can take on, i.e., the condition of a system, situation, or organization that is integrated with some degree of order but has too many elements and relationships to understand in simple analytic or logical ways.

Context is the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular situation, the totality of features having relevance to the causation, meaning, or effect of an event or situation. Context is unique at any given point in time and to any given situation.  It is based on environmental factors, human interactions and recent events.  It is also based on our knowledge of potential future possible actions.  We cannot decide on future actions that we do not know about. 

CUCA is an acronym describing an environment characterized by accelerating change, rising uncertainty, increasing complexity, and the human response of anxiety.

DINK is an acronym used to collectively talk about data, information and knowledge.

Discernment and discretionTaken together, these terms address the concepts of selection, valuing and laying aside, i.e., the ability to identify and choose what is of value, and the equally difficult ability to toss aside that which is not of value. 

Double-loop learning occurs when problems are solved by changing the fundamental values and assumptions of the theory as well as the strategy and actions.

eLearning is any virtual act or process used to acquire data, information, skills or knowledge. In the context of our research, eLearning is enabled learning, learning in a virtual world where technology merges with human creativity to accelerate and leverage the rapid development and application of deep knowledge.

Emergence is a global property of a complex system (organization) that results from the interactions and relationships among its agents (people), and between the agents and their environment. These characteristics represent stable patterns of the organization that are qualitative and exert a strong influence back on the individuals and their relationships.

Empathy is interpreted as the ability to take oneself out of oneself and put oneself into another person's world.

Flow.  Flow deals with the availability, access and movement of ideas and thoughts, both within individuals and to others.  Flow is also the term used by Csikszentmihalyi to denote an autotelic state of work, i.e., the optimal experience. Flow is one of the emergent characteristics of the ICAS organization and, as such, is discussed in terms of the flow of information, the flow of people in and out of boundaries such as teams or organizations, as well as flow as the optimal experience.

ICAP is the intelligent complex adaptive professional.

ICAS represents the organizational model based on an intelligent complex adaptive system approach.

ICAT is the intelligent complex adaptive team.

Individual learning is the act or process of acquiring data, information, skill or knowledge.

Integrating represents the top-level capacity to take large amounts of data and information and pull it together to identify meaning or, as is frequently, called, sense-making.

Intelligence is effectively perceiving, interpreting and responding to the environment. It is also taken to mean the ability of an organization to survive and meet desired goals and objectives.

Intuiting represents he art of making maximum use of our own intuition developed carefully through experience, trial and error, and deliberate internal questioning and application. It can also mean the ability to foresee the result of a given action without knowing causal relationships.

Judgments are conclusions and interpretations developed through the use of rules of thumb, facts, knowledge and experience, and intuition.

Knowing is a cognizance, a conscious state of being aware or informed (having knowledge) (Oxford English Dictionary, 2002, p. 1510) beyond that which is perceived through the five senses, although it does not exclude incoming signals from the five senses. In rhetorical terms, knowing can be described as hearing beyond words, seeing beyond images, sensing beyond appearances and feeling beyond emotions. It focuses on methods to increase individual sensory capabilities and increase the ability to consciously integrate these sensory inputs with our tacit knowledge, that knowledge within each of us that is created by past learning and experiences but cannot be put into words. In other words, it is knowledge gained from experience that resides in the unconscious mind.

Knowledge is the human capacity (both potential and actual) to take effective action in varied and uncertain situations.

Knowledge centricity is the aggregation of relevant information derived from the knowledge of the organization's components that enables self-synchronization and increases collaborative opportunities while promoting strategic alignment.

Knowledge management is a process for optimizing the effective application of intellectual capital to achieve objectives. In an organizational setting, this would mean a systematic approach to getting an organization to make the best possible use of knowledge in implementing its mission, broadly viewed as either sustainable competitive advantage or long-term high performance. From the individual viewpoint, this can be extrapolated to mean optimizing the effective application of the individual's knowledge (their potential and actual capacity to take effective action in varied and uncertain situations) to achieve the individual's professional and personal goals.

Knowledge mobilization is the process of creating value or a value stream through the creation, assimilation, leveraging, sharing and application of focused knowledge to a bounded community.

Knowledge workers are individuals whose work effort is centered around creating, using, sharing and applying knowledge.

Learning is an increase in the capability for effective action. Individual, team, and organizational learning can all be measured by the outcomes that result from effective action. This definition emphasizes the importance of taking actions and achieving results vice intellectual knowledge without application.

Multidimensonality represents the instinctual and learned ability to sense, learn, and respond with a wide repertoire of actions.

Noticing represents the ability to observe around us and recognize, i.e., identify, those things that are relevant to our needs.

Optimum complexity is the number of possible states that make a difference to the organization that are important, i.e., the right level of internal complexity to deal with the external environment while maintaining overall order and unity of purpose.

Organizational intelligence is the ability of an organization to perceive, interpret, and respond to its environment in a manner that simultaneously meets its organizational goals while satisfying its stakeholders, that is, its employees, customers, investors, community, and environment. Organizational intelligence is a descriptive term that indicates the measure of the organization's (and its workforce's) capacity to exhibit intelligent behavior.

Organizational learning is the process by which an organization acquires the knowledge necessary to survive and compete in its environment. This includes the development of knowledge and understanding, shared among organizational employees, that leads to effective action. A learning organization is one with the capacity to acquire the knowledge necessary to survive and compete in its environment.

Patterning represents the ability to review, study and interpret large amounts of data/events/information and identify causal or correlative connections that over time or space may represent patterns driven by underlying phenomena which may become crucial to understanding.

Permeable boundaries represents the blurring of historic boundaries to allow the ICAS organization to optimize its results through teaming, partnering, alliances, and close relationships with customers and all stakeholders. The term "porous boundaries" is a simile.

Personal Knowledge Management refers to the individual and personal capacity to continuously learn, adapt and manage their knowledge for professional and personal success.

Scanning represents the ability to review and survey a large amount of data and information and selectively identify those areas or patterns that may be relevant.

Selectivity is the filtering of incoming information from the outside world, recognizing and interpreting the meaning and consequences of incoming signals.

Sensing represents the ability to take inputs from the external world through our five senses and ensure the translation of those inputs into our mind to represent as accurate a transduction process as possible.

Sharing.  Spreading is affirmation of the value of our ideas.  Control is a sure way to limit them and the reality they have the potential to create.  In todayís rapid and complex world, the patterns that generate new ideas are often discerned and acted upon in the same time frame by more than one individual.  In other words, the same new ideas are emerging in multiple places around the world.  With that realization, the continuous flow of new ideas becomes an imperative for organizations that seek competitive advantage. 

Single loop learning occurs when problems are solved by changing actions or strategies for achieving a desired result without changing the underlying theory or assumptions about those actions.

Spiritual learning is the process of elevating the mind as related to intellect and matters of the soul to increase the capacity for effective thought and action.

Team learning is the process of developing the ability of a team to create its desired results.

Trust.  Trust concerns not only the trust otherís have in you and your idea, but the amount of trust you have in yourself and in others. 

Unity and shared purpose represents the ability of the ICAS organization to integrate and mobilize resources to (1) provide a continuous line of focus and attention and (2) pull together the relevant parts of the organization when and where they are needed.

Valuing represents the capacity to observe situations and recognize the value underlying their various aspects and concomitantly be fully aware of your own values and beliefs.

Value streams connote the challenge of developing solutions to community issues that are sustainable and effective.

Visualizing represents the methodology of focusing attention on a given area and through imagination and logic creating an internal vision and scenario for success.

 

This Web Site copyright 2008 by Alex and David Bennet. For educational and knowledge sharing purposes and in the context of knowledge mobilization, permission is given to copy and distribute materials on this web site with attribution.
Send mail to adean@mountainquestinstitute.com with questions or comments about this web site.

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Last modified: 07/08/09