Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning
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Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning

The Path to Sustainability

Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan

Improvement is fundamental to the competitiveness of networks and requires the participating firms to collaborate in identifying and introducing changes. This book presents collaborative strategic improvement as a cycle of activities in which firms in a network can engage together. Drawing on actual cases, authors link this cycle with disciplined action learning as a means of building upon experience generated through collaborative action. They describe how a network can learn from experience and deploy that learning in the marketplace.
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Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan


The CO-IMPROVE project was an EU funded initiative (Collaborative Improvement Tool for the Extended Manufacturing Enterprise, G1RD– CT2000–00299) involving action learning in complex networks of academics and business. CO-IMPROVE commenced in March 2001 and ran for three years. The CO-IMPROVE project focused on the design, implementation and ongoing development of collaborative improvement and learning in the EME through action learning. The proposition underlying the CO-IMPROVE project was that EMEs and researchers needed a welldeveloped collaborative learning capability at the network level to create and maximize synergy between the capabilities of the firms involved. Industry partners in CO-IMPROVE were organized as three networks of firms centred on Denmark, Italy and The Netherlands. Each network comprised a system integrator with strategic suppliers drawn from Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Germany. Academic partners were drawn from universities and research institutions in Denmark, Italy, Ireland and The Netherlands. Two IT firms facilitated the development of the software system related to the project: an ICT developer from Sweden, specialized in the development of enterprise resource planning applications for industry; and their Sri Lankan subcontractor. The project was implemented as a series of related work packages: investigating requirements, design, operation, revision and validation. The action learning work package was the largest individual work component during which the networks of firms engaged in collaborative improvement initiatives. 196 M2539 - COUGHLAN PRINT.indd 196 25/02/2011 14:43

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