Byron's Babbles

Social Ecology: Creating Voracious Learners


“The starting point for management can no longer be its own product or service, and not even its own market and its known end-users for its products and services. The starting point has to be what customers consider value. The starting point has to be the assumption – an assumption amply proven by all our experience.” ~ Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker fancied himself a social ecologist. This was a person who attempts to spot major future trends in society that are discernible but not widely understood (Maciariello, 2014). I would posit that these persons are also pioneers, but that pioneers many times don’t do the social ecologist part. Drucker had a methodology the social ecologist should follow for the creation of emerging institutions that included four parts:

  1. Understanding their function
  2. Understanding the disruptions they create for existing institutions
  3. Thinking through how they could be made to function effectively
  4. Thinking how the new institution will have a constructive impact on society

As a pioneer who tries to practice artful leadership this really hit home for me. We need to make sure that in education we take the time as begin new, innovative, and disruptive innovations to really think through and strategically think about Drucker’s methodology. We must also diffuse innovation throughout the entire education system to those affected by emerging trends and help them to capitalize on those trends. We must become a “teaching education system,” one devoted to the diffusion of innovation. IMG_0690

This week’s lesson in A Year With Peter Drucker prompted me to put Everett Roger’s seminal book, Diffusion of Innovations (2003) on my book reading list. Roger’s book is the standard reference on how innovations spread throughout a social system. I cannot wait to read this book! In order for our innovations which will create disequilibrium to become viable and do all the good possible we must become “voracious learners” (Jim Mellado in Maciariello, 2014, p. 301). This is key to spreading new ideas and innovations to the majority that need them the most.

thThe adoption of an innovation usually follows a normal, bell-shaped curve when plotted over time on a frequency basis.” ~ Everett Rogers in Diffusion of Innovations, p. 272

We must consider abandoning unjustifiable products and activities; set goals to improve productivity, manage growth, and developing our people. This will create resources to explore and undertake new innovations. We must not forget, however, to employ Drucker’s methodology as social ecologists and become voracious learners.

Maciariello (2014) had three great practicum prompts for this: “What are the risks of being an early adopter of innovations?” What are the risks of being a laggard?” “Where is the optimal place for you and your organization to be on the innovation diffusion curve?” Make plans to get there. diffusion+of+innovation


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Everett, Roger, M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th Edition). New York, NY: Free Press.


One Response

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  1. Zinga H said, on September 13, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Wonderful find. It is fun to see innovation as a wave of change. Technology’s affect on our economy and society is definitely pushing us to learn how to surf.


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