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To learn or not to learn - that is the challenge

How can we get better at learning - as individuals, organizations or an industry? That is the question when division manager Liv Nielsen of the HSE department in Eni Norge takes the stand during the Safety Forum's annual conference on Thursday 13 October.

Link: Program (pdf file) (Norwegian version)

In principle the word "learning" has positive connotations. But to learn also entails overcoming obstacles - be it learning across generation gaps, across company hierarchy or bridging the gap between management and trade union representatives.

"How can we get better, meaning how can we challenge ourselves as individuals, organizations and an industry." This is what Liv Nielsen will ask the speakers at the dialogue session to help us understand better.

Keeping one's dignity
"We can see a number of problems related to learning on the individual level. It can, for example, be difficult for a manager to learn from an employee on a lower level in the organizational hierarchy. It may also be a challenge for an older person to have to learn from a younger one. Consequently, the topic is precisely how you can facilitate learning so that no-one feels that they lose their dignity", Liv Nielsen stresses.

Under the title "From unease to dignity", Senior Adviser Kari H.A Letrud, Vox, The national centre for learning in working life (Nasjonalt senter for læring i arbeidslivet) will concentrate on the individual in learning processes.

See our reflection in the mirror
"It has been said that we learn as we go along, Nielsen points out. "On the organizational level I particularly find a learning potential in all the data material we painstakingly collect. What does all the data we collect tell us about the organization and the technical condition? Do we allow ourselves to be challenged by what the data tells?" Nielsen asks.

"We are good at applying measures based on incidents, but when and how can we measure their effect?" she asks. In the lecture "From synergy to interaction", research fellow Rolf Johan Bye from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) will raise issues precisely related to learning from data material.

Learn from others
Bosse Renborg, engineer, pilot and member of the Swedish Reactor safety board (Reaktorsäkerhetsnemden), the Swedish government's nuclear power inspection (Statens Kärnekraftsinspeksjon) has been invited to speak based on his comprehensive experience within both aviation and the nuclear power industry.

"We probably have much to learn from other industries and we do not have to make all the mistakes ourselves", says Liv Nielsen. She emphasizes that learning is an extensive topic which probably could fill any number of conferences. "The session during the Safety Forum's annual conference 2005 will illustrate a small part of this diversity", she concludes.

Contact in the Safety Forum:
Angela Ebbesen