Part 2: Learning Support for Business Development

Ross MacDonald's picture

 Part 2: Learning Support for Business Development


Providing learning opportunities of immediate relevance enhances the sustainability of businesses and business ecosystems.   This second post on learning support for business development considers pragmatic questions:

1. What does knowledge transfer look like?
2. How does it work?
3. What are some example topics? 

As noted in an earlier post, the educational objective of learning support for business development is to expand the collaborative communication skills of emerging groups. The approach is to develop a set of appropriately timed learning opportunities, structured as a flexible framework, delivered on a group-by-group basis, as guided by four values. The values are: (a) learner-centered, (b) adapted to specific groups, (3) timed for maximum receptivity and benefit, and (4) makes best use of real examples and cases.

1. What does the curriculum look like?

Actually it is a "stealth curriculum," meaning that, in the ideal, the knowledge transfer is indistinguishable from the activities of people who are building business clusters. This is not a "learn now, apply later" approach. Instead it is a "do now and here's some tools to help" approach.  The rationale: learning is best delivered when people reach out for the learning and pull it in.  When learning is pushed onto people, they tend to resist.  Curriculum needs to fit into, not disrupt, the group's on-going flow of activities.  Thus, the curriculum is a set of evolving and easily adapted modules.  Moreover, each module provides knowledge about tools and processes delivered on an as-needed basis. Tasks and content particular to the group will be inserted into each module.  By timing the delivery and ensuring its relevance to suit group needs, learning happens in the process of doing business: Stealth Curriculum.

2. How does it work?

The short answer is in recurring but progressive loops.  Here's what that means.  Think cycles. Each time learning opportunities are inserted into a group's on-going work, it progresses through these functions: design, deliver, receive feedback and adapt.  These four steps comprise one cycle and ensure that the learning process continues to evolve, improve, and remain relevant to the group's interests.  In addition, testimonials, examples, and stories will be collected and fed back into the modules.  The examples illustrate tools and their applications and so should also stimulate confidence and creativity.  

3. What are some example topics?

Examples of some of the topics include: techniques for sharing documents and plans especially in regard to business case and business ecosystem development, tracking group progress, identifying and overcoming obstacles to group progress, engaging new participants, creating productive linkages with local schools, and enhancing student-community connections. Remember, this list is illustrative, not comprehensive. While we can anticipate some particular needs and so prepare in advance for them, there will be other needs that we can't anticipate at this point, but which will require additional modules.


Knowledge transfer is critical for our vision of a set of "business ecosystems,"  which refers to a network of related businesses that work together to strengthen each business and enhance their collaborations, and so that, as a cluster, they become sustainable and increasingly powerful economic engines in their respective locales.  

The next post in this series will describe a tracking tool for assessing and monitoring group progress.  The Holistic Group Assessment Table tracks group development through seven stages.



Groups audience: 


Group content visibility: 

Use group defaults




The curriculum is a set of evolving and easily adapted mo

wikirandy's picture

I agree with this - interesting post.

But for the curriculum, and the network of people to realize its 'power', the curriculum developers and sponsoring organizations have to be open to feedback about the course content and delivery, for improvements - and respond accordingly.


- Randy