Our Guiding Metaphor
The tree is a living system. It continually regenerates itself, creating new roots, branches and fruit. This regeneration arises from the interdependence of the elements. Can you imagine new branches emerging without roots? Or fruit arising without branches?
The tree, as a living, system engages in a transformative process that has deep parallels with the nature of learning. For the tree, this transformative process is photosynthesis, whereby complex carbohydrates are produced when carbon dioxide, water and nutrients are drawn up through the tree’s roots. These carbohydrates are the building blocks for the tree’s fruit.
Just so, at the heart of all learning is a deep, transformative process that creates new awareness and new capabilities, the building blocks for the new practical know how.
The tree’s transformative process is driven by energy from the sun, just as the learning process is driven by the energy of committed people. Thus it was natural to name our organization the Society for Organizational Learning – SoL – Spanish for “sun”.
(Adapted from Chapter 17 by Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer in Handbook of Action Research)