How Organizations Learn:
One of the Center's main objectives is to improve organizational learning within the wildland fire community. Read about organizational learning here, discover how it will add value to the wildland fire community and understand how you can become part of the solution.
During this incident we worked hard to redefine the role of a safety officer. First, we purposefully avoided the clichés and by avoiding these expected admonitions firefighters remained engaged. Second, by recognizing the strengths in our firefighters (their ability to adapt and handle complex situations) we were able to develop a rapport and build trust between the command team and the field. Finally, by being a respectful yet questioning voice we were able to ensure mission accomplishment didn’t become unmoored from safety.
While driving Water Tender 66 to a grass fire on April 17, 2008, two firefighters from the Chino Valley Independent Fire Protection District were involved in an off-road rollover accident. The firefighters received minor injuries; Water Tender 66 (WT-66) was a total loss. The case study is based on an actual investigation, which took place in 2008. The members of the investigation team were not trained investigators; they were firefighters with a mission to understand an incident that could have been disastrous. As luck would have it, it was not. What resulted was a spontaneous understanding of the event in terms of conditions, culture, equipment limitations and communications. The underlying construction of the method of the analysis was "Learn, Share and Be Fair".
David Christenson gave this 20-minute presentation at the Human Dimensions in Wildland Fire Conference in April, 2010. The International Association of Wildland Firefighters brought people to San Antonio, Texas from all over the world to learn more about the science of firefighters fighting fire. We were able to give them a little history, a quick update and a few things about future directions of the LLC.
Sometimes Incident Personnel experience stress reactions because of a particularly traumatic event, or because of the cumulative effect of stressful events. Critical Incident Stress Managment (CISM) services are crisis intervention techniques that help participants reduce stress levels and experience less stress symptoms. These CISM related interviews will provide you with information on CISM Peer Teams and how they help to establish trust and increase effectiveness.
Organizational Learning and Managing Fires for Multiple Objective
The following articles come from Fire Management Today, Volume 70 - Issue 1
"Managing Wildfire for Resource Benefits" - Fire Management Today
Written by Tom Harbour (86KB pdf posted 7/29/2010)
"Change has come to wildland fire use (and its precursor, prescribed natural fire). The Federal Interagency Wildland Fire Community now has only two kinds of fire: wildfire (unplanned fire) and prescribed fire (planned fire). According to the 2009 “Guidance for Implementation of Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy,” the Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior agencies can now manage wildland fires for multiple objectives concurrently, and the objectives can change as the fire moves across the landscape."
"Implementing Federal Wildland Fire Policy - Responding to Change" Fire Management Today
Written by Richard Lasko (237KB pdf posted 7/29/2010)
"A revision to the 2003 Interagency Strategy removes the distinction between wildland fire use and wildfire. This will enhance a fire manager’s ability to implement Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy by allowing consideration of the full range of positive and negative attributes of a fire."
"Organizational Learning Contributes to Guidance for Managing Wildland Fires for Multiple Objective" - Fire Management Today
Written by Tom Zimmerman and Tim Sexton (119KB pdf posted 7/29/2010)
"Since the inception of organized fire suppression in the early 1900s, wildland fire management has dramatically evolved in operational complexity; ecological significance; social, economic, and political magnitude; areas and timing of application; and recognition of potentially serious consequences."
More Examples of Organizational Learning
The Prescott Basin 2010 Drill (posted 5/11/2010)
The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center has teamed up with the US Forest Service's National Incident Management Organizations to capture a regional, interagency, complex drill that demonstrates the value of region-wide simulation of emergency response to a multi-juristictional wildfire. It is an excellent example of striving together toward high reliability and continuous improvement in a complex environment. Their preparations have evolved over two decades and recently paid huge dividends when the Indian Fire actually occurred as they suspected it eventually would. Now, many new players are included in the 2010 Drill as members change and organizations grow.
This paper - along with its companion DVD program - tells the comprehensive story of this country's history with naturally-ignited fire.
Interagency Aviation Safety Alert Effective SAFECOM Use
(77KB pdf posted 7/14/2008)
The interagency SAFECOM system is misunderstood, under-utilized, and on occasion, misused. Failure to understand and use the system as it is intended can not only prolong an unsafe situation or increase cost, but can result in injury or loss of life. Misuse of the SAFECOM system, or use for purposes other than reporting safety concerns, jeopardizes the communication needed for the SAFECOM system to work effectively.
Wildland Fire Safety Awareness Study (TriData) Phase Three - 10 Year Anniversary Project
(742KB doc posted 6/12/2008)
This year (2008) marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the TriData Phase 3 study. This was a landmark safety study for the interagency wildland fire community that helped shape fire management direction during the past decade. Several of the NWCG Safety and Health Working Team (SHWT) projects and initiatives came out of this study as did the formation of the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC).
THE U.S. ARMY’S AFTER ACTION REVIEWS: SEIZING THE CHANCE TO LEARN
(128 Kb PDF) An Excerpt from: David A Garvin's Book, “Learning In Action, A Guide to Putting the Learning Organization to Work” (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2000), 106-116. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Organizational Learning and Wildland Fires
(128 Kb PDF) Recommendations to the Wildland Fire Community from David A. Garvin, August 2003 was sent to the Center shortly after our first 3-day meeting in June 2003.
Professor Geoff Cumming and Dr Mary Omodei of the La Trobe University Bushfire CRC Safety in Decision Making and Behaviour Project visited the US Interagency Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC) in July and October of 2006 in order to gain some perspective on how to develop an Australasian center.
Organizational Learning Survey:
Asses how well your organization learns. You can choose either the complete survey
, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, or the condensed version
, which takes 2 - 3 minutes to complete. You will receive a report at the end of your session that scores your data.
During the summer of 2005, 196 people from the Wildland Fire Community took the initial Learning Organization Survey created by Harvard Business School in cooperation with the Lessons Learned Center. Learning Organization 2005 Survey Report
TriData Phase IV, "Developing a Cooperative Approach To Wildfire Protection" paper, presented to the Federal Fire and Aviation Leadership Council in Boise, ID, on January 6, 1998, by Charles Perrow, Sociologist, Ph.D., Yale University.
A Learning Organization is skilled at continuously:
1) creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring and retaining knowledge and
2) at purposefully modifying their behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.
(Definition by David Garvin 2000)
View the Six Critical Tasks of a Learning Organization created by Dr. Garvin.
||The Center has been working directly with one of the world's leading experts in Organizational Learning, David Garvin, Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He has worked with over fifty organizations around the world on organizational learning and strategic change. He is the author or coauthor of eight books, including the highly acclaimed Learning In Action, A Guide to Putting the Learning Organization to Work.|
The Fire Management Deep Smarts Project was initiated to capture the experience of our seasoned employees who are acknowledged by their peers to have high expertise in planning and implementing fire programs. The Deep Smarts project personnel video-tape interviewed more than thirty people with extensive expertise in prescribed fire, fire behavior prediction and wildland fire use. These experts, some retired and some still working, represented all fire agencies, most positional levels within fire organizations and most geographical sections of the United States and Canada. View the background paper at The Fire Management Deep Smarts Project
To view the videos created from this Deep Smarts project, follow this link, Learning From the Experts, which is on our videos page. You can view them through streaming video and download them to your iPod!
Bob Barbee, Deep Smarts Interview
) was a professor for 20 years at the Harvard Business School
, where she taught courses on innovation, creativity and knowledge management. She has consulted for industry and government and has written hundreds of cases, articles and book chapters.
is Professor of Psychology, emeritus, and former Chairman of the Psychology Department at Tufts University
. Dr. Swap served for nine years as the Dean of the Colleges, responsible for all aspects of undergraduate academic life at Tufts.