Design Thinking: Composing The Learning Practices

The CULTURE GAME is a book of 16 practices that accelerate learning in your organization. If you do just 3 or 4 of them , you team, your department and even your entire division can begin to learn, as a group, faster and faster. This learning is essential to respond to change. Societal change, driven by technology, is literally re-writing the rules of business. Enterprises that learn really fast eliminate competition by out-thinking them in real time. This level of group learning is not random.


I wrote the book as a set of 16 standalone practices, what I call Tribal Learning practices. You compose them as you see fit, by remixing them. Each reader faces a unique situation and will use the book differently. As a manager, you can pick and choose from the list of practices to create a tailored an customized application of the guidance in the book. This allows you to immediately begin. You can choose the practices that fit your context, situation and preferences.

Here are some pre-fab combinations of the practices that work well in specific cultures and contexts:


Facilitate Your Meetings, Be Punctual, Structure Your Interactions

Notes: These 3 are good for tuning-up your meetings. When combined, these 3 practices convert meetings from soul-sucking death marches to intentional team learning events.These 3 practices are  kind of starting point for converting your meetings from bleak no-engagement events to highly enjoyable and satisfying episodes of work with others. The book provides loads of detailed support for your use of each practice.


Pay Explicit Attention, Examine What’s Normal, Inspect Frequently

Notes: Iterating on work is essential if you intend to make sense of highly complex (even chaotic) work. Iterations provide a natural inspection point… at the end. Having the discipline to periodically inspect exactly what is going on encourages adjustment, experimentation and adaptation. This concept can be applied to any kind of work. These 3 are appropriate for organizations that are already relatively safe and open (as compared to unsafe and closed.)

The book explains specific tactics and things to consider as you compose your implementation.


Conduct Frequent Experiments, Socialize Books, Get Coached

Notes: Get Coached and Socialize Books are the two Tribal Learning practices that cost something. The rest to do not cost a dime. Socializing books signals that learning is valued; the content provides ideas to try out as experiments. A culture of experimentation leads to more learning. If  even a small “failure” is a source of potential career suicide in your company, get a coach to help you and start socializing books like TRIBAL LEADERSHIP (and others)  with new  and useful ideas. These 3 practices are a good starting point if you organization is already moving in the direction of more organizational learning; for example of your IT teams are already using some agile methods.



The Culture Game book contains 16 specific learning practices and guidance on how to socialize these ideas in your organization.  The book provides a detailed tutorial and a reference guide. It also provides a rich bibliography for further study. Collectively, the book forms a complete toolbox, with tools you can use …  as YOU see fit.

You have to intend to create more learning and a higher capacity to adapt in your organization, because team learning is not random. Mix and match, pick and choose. Create your own custom program based on your context, and what people are willing to try, and willing to do. The book provides loads of ideas, starting points and specific A-B-C guidance in Part 3, so you can get going now.

You can learn more about the CULTURE GAME book here.