For more than the past 40 years, I have enjoyed working in the fields of biology and education with over 350 graduate students and visiting professors and numerous colleagues at several universities. The past 3 decades as Professor at Cornell University and now Professor Emeritus have been especially rewarding. More recently, I have been working with corporations to apply ideas and tools my colleagues and I have developed in the field of education to improve knowledge creation and utilization in corporations. This book represents a synthesis of much that I have learned with a focus on what I believe to be a universal problem facing society; namely, how can we more effectively help people learn, create, and utilize knowledge?
In some ways, the work we have done in the field of education has been successful, and many of the ideas and tools we developed are being applied in both school and university education in countries all over the world. In other ways, my work in education has been a constant frustration because there remains a huge discrepancy between what I believe we know that can improve education, and the quantity and quality of applications of this knowledge in school and university settings. I believe there have been enormous advances in the past 3 decades in our understanding of how people learn and in our understanding of the nature of knowledge and the process of new knowledge creation. Little of this knowledge is currently being utilized either in academic or in corporate settings. It is my hope that this book shall make some contribution both to the understanding of this new knowledge and to its utilization.
The ideas and tools presented in the book are equally applicable to governmental and nongovernmental organizations other than schools, and also to religious organizations. However, my work with these groups has been limited, and it would be too overwhelming to include examples and illustrations from these institutions as well. We are currently launching a major project in religious education and this work may be the subject of a future book.
Given the enormous pressures that are being brought to bear on businesses and societies through the rapidly accelerating globalization of business, I expect the adoption and development of ideas tools presented will have more rapid acceptance and application in the business world than has been true for the academic world. Recent work with one of the Dow Jones 30 companies where these ideas and tools are beginning to be applied widely suggests the enormous potential that exists in utilization for the enhancement of corporate effectiveness. My hope is that in the