Learning in Monkey Style

This week there  was an interesting article in the Finnish Science (Tiede) magazine about Japanese snow monkeys – Macaque. It was rather funny to see that, these monkeys have learned enjoy bathing and they actually have their own spas built for them, so that they would not enter onsens in their neighborhood.

What really triggered my interest was how did the snow monkeys learn taking baths, and the way did it actually happened. It was accidental discovery by a young female macaque “Mukubili” . She reached too far when drying to catch some floating soy beans, and fell into a hot spring. She liked the sensation much , and began regular bathing. Other young monkeys got curious and tried it as well.  Then the mothers joined in, and after a while the whole troop was into bathing. However, the older male macaques seem to avoid bathing since their tick and fluffy fur looks less impressive after bath.

This story really made me think how people learn. Lately, I have thinking about how can Social Media be used and utilized in business context, and how new ways of working will start and how they will diffuse to wider communities. For some people it seems like a natural evolutionary and easy step, but for some not. The diffusion will take some time.

Japanese Macaque are known of their survival skills, learning and intelligence. About 15 years ago I had an opportunity to visit at T?sh?g? shrine, Nikk?, Japan. There are the famous Three Wise Monkeys carved on a stable housing sacred horses  “Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil.” It emphasizes the positive thinking and seeing good in everything.  This attitude – naive and altruistic – can be helpful when learning new ways of working. Keeping your mind open for new things, looking for possible benefits, and not too much worried about possible disadvantages.

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4 thoughts on “Learning in Monkey Style

  1. Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

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