Last October on a trip to London we had the chance to meet Arie de Geus together with Henna and Johanna. Arie is a very charming young spirited man, and he shared a very nice story about how the learning happens, also written in his book “The Living Company”.
He expresses in the book that the Learning comes after you “see” it, here it goes:
In the beginning of the 20th century, a group of British explorers travelled to the heart of a jungle in Singapore. Once there, they met the head of an indigenous tribe and invited him to the city of Singapore. Keep in mind that the indigenous people had never been out of the jungle or even discovered the wheel.
By that time Singapore was already quite developed industrially and had good facilities in the harbour to import and export with big cargo ships. They toured around and showed the indigenous the entire industrial area, harbour and city centre. After that, they took him back to the jungle, and seriously asked to the indigenous: so what was the thing that attracted your attention the most?
Indigenous answered: “I could never imagine that a person could carry so many Bananas!”
The explorers were expecting some answer connected with the big ships, machines, buildings…but it didn’t mean anything to the indigenous, since he had never seen or had the need to experiment with them. The reason behind is that while they were touring around, the indigenous saw a person transporting a carry or a track full of bananas, but the explorers didn’t even realize about that. Regarding the Bananas, the indigenous had to carry them on a daily bases to feed his tribe, and he had always been trying to find new ways to carry as many as possible. He saw and learned that it was possible to carry more bananas than he had thought ever before.
I don’t know what happened with the indigenous after that but I’m sure he kept on Monkeing around and continued feeding his tribe with lots of Bananas! Arie from his side promised that he would continue sharing this story in his future talks.