Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel Corp, has a provocative article in today's Wall Street Journal entitled "What Detroit Can Learn From Silicon Valley." If you read the article what he is really suggesting is that automotive executives as well as government bureaucrats unlearn the idea that the automotive is a vertically integrated industry.
I especially liked this quote, which strikes at the essense of why unlearning is such a critical skill in today's business environment:
"History shows that most companies do not deal well with transformation. One reason has to do with senior managers. They usually "don't get it." They have a difficult time accepting that the future will be vastly different from the present because they rose to power in the old business environment. They excelled in the old environment and didn't acquire skills necessary to operate in the new."
In short, they have difficulty unlearning.