The abstract definition of a “learning community” is a collective of individuals working towards some academic or skill development. Typically, there’s a cycle of collaborative and individual work (in academia, class and homework) and a cohort-based structure.

This definition applies well to startups too. The stages of a startup create a natural cohort structure too. Employees often “graduate” out of their roles within 2-3 years, and seek opportunities to learn either in the later stage organization, or elsewhere.

Startups should consider themselves learning communities with that have a common outcome. After all, in the knowledge economy, the raw ingredients for any startup is people. The most successful startups are known for their business results and their infrastructure for personal growth. This takes intentionality, a good relationship with failure and learning, all of which needs to be supported at leadership level. It’s a long term investment.

So much attention about the “Future of Work” goes to the collaboration problems, but there’s more unlocked value in solving the higher order problems.