I first heard about action learning from Professor Tom Bourner and Doctor Paul Frost.
I then found inspiration in the practice of John Lawson, Steve Reeve, Trix Webber and Sue O’Hara on the pioneering action learning based MA (Master of Arts) in Change Management at the University of Brighton. I realised the importance of reflection in the process of innovation and change. I was particularly interested in action learning which took place in the community, in informal spaces, making use of simple circle-based conversation.
Over the last twenty-five years I have been a member of many action learning sets, using the process to help me progress my ideas and projects in personal and and working life.
I’ve also facilitated action learning in the UK and overseas, in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The ALPINE project, based at CENTRIM (The Centre for Research in Innovation Management) at the University of Brighton, UK). ALPINE focused on “Action Learning in New Enterprises” and supported established small businesses in taking their next step of innovation having survived start-up. I also worked with David Knowles to develop ideas that found their way int ot he action learning element of Profitnet, a pioneering programme of business development in the UK.
The SEAL project is our current experiment in Drop-in Action Learning, and has helped over eighty people to explore and set up new projects and businesses.
CATS3000 and Paul Levy continue to create and innovate in the field of action learning. Over the last two decades we’ve been involved as a company in using action learning both in its classical form, and also we’ve incorporated the pr0cess in innovative ways in different situations. Personally, I’ve used action learning as a process in industry, the public sector, in the arts and in social development work. Working with housing associations, with manufacturing companies, with small businesses and freelancers, in personal and professional development, in biographical work and in local government, I’ve found the simple process of learning and reflection, action and exploration, has so many applications. In recent years. CATS3000, working with David Knowles has focused on more informal applications of applications. Learning from this has involved application back into more formal settings, with great success.