360 Degrees Group Inc.

Learning Process: Learning is an ongoing cyclical process

I want to develop a clear plan by improving upon what I’ve done before

Learning is an ongoing cyclical process. The Learning Loop is a tool that helps you to define how the work you do now informs what you do next. It provides a high-level perspective on how implementing social change can be broken down into a gradual process of iterative cycles. 

The worksheet, inspired by the Learning Plan from IDEO (2011), describes four different stages that your work might pass through in a cycle of continual improvement. Using this tool can help understand the different phases involved when trying to implement your ideas. By reflecting on the process involved, it can help you to understand what to do next. 

This tool offers you a framework to plan with and work in. Each of the four components relate to the methods, systems and processes that your organization works with. It helps you check whether your organization actually learns from its experiences (both success and failure) and is improving continuously. 

Use the Learning Loop worksheet to make notes in each of the four quadrants. There is no strict start or end to this process – you could use the worksheet to plan a new project or make notes on a current project. Essentially the learnings you gain by collecting stories, feedback or outcomes will help you to reconsider and improve the next steps in your process.

Case Study

Tool used: Business Model Canvas

Organisation: SBCSol – INCUBADORA de Empreendimentos Solidarios

Country: BRAZIL

Sector: Entrepreneurship and Skill Development

Based near the southern coast of Sao Paulo, the Criqué Caiçara’s formed by seven local residents, is part of a traditional community and is supported by the Elos Institute and the NGO Central Artesol. 

The aim of this community is to preserve the culture, the environment and generate job opportunities using artisanal know how. From caixeta, the wood that is native to the area, products are created using the elements found in Juréia (one of Brazil’s Ecological Stations i.e. preservation area). These include educational toys, accessories and home wares.

Why we used the tool: We wanted to build the business on the existing strengths of the work – on what was already being done, and create a social business that is sensitive to the local environment, community and the craft. We wanted to start building the foundation of a business plan with as much participation as possible so that the people who form the community also choose how their business would be. 

How we used the tool: Until now the group was only looking at activities, but seeing all aspects of a business laid out in one visual, helped us connect the different elements and activities in the business. The key activities thus became the point from which we started filling out our Canvas. This exercise generated a flow chart that contained all areas of the business, and who is responsible for each of the areas. 

Results of using the tool: Having the business model laid out in a one sheet visual helped the group find connections between the different aspects of business while also coming up with new ideas and even repurposing known information in a new way. The tool enabled discussion of each area of the business, which was especially important for Criqué Caiçara where different functions are performed by the same people due to it being a small group. 

Crique Caiçara is a family group which includes both young children and their mothers as part of their group. The Business Model Canvas was key in the active participation of all, helping capture aspirations of both older and younger participants in a short time. The tool is useful to facilitate introducing business concepts for the artisans, helping them acquire a more entrepreneurial outlook by focusing towards more concrete goals. This workshop helped optimise our work: improving time management, helping better use of skills. 

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