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Peer-to-peer development is one of the 20 "breakthrough ideas" in 2006 according to the HBR.
By far the most obvious difference in peer-to-peer learning, is its insistence on questioning and gaining consensus about what the problem is. Questions are one of the most powerful but least used tools in business today.
Participants will be asked to bring a problem to the meeting. The other members give close attention to the problem-holder but will not solve the problem even if the answer is obvious. Rather, they ask open questions and dig deep to enable the problem-holder to get a deeper understanding of his/her problem.
Questions force the group to spend time on understanding the problem and its context and conditions. Most individuals and groups rush to search for the answers. This is natural because most people are uncomfortable with spending too much time in ambiguity. The original problem is rarely the one that is most crucial. Groups that accept the initial problem often end up solving the surface problem. The group's first and primary task is to understand the problem. As some wag said: "It's better to first put your finger on the problem before sticking your nose in it."