Posts Tagged ‘Aggregate Knowledge’

The Challenges of a Digital Artisan in the 21st Century Workplace

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

A recent article on top technology trends talks about “wiki-work”, which describes today’s seamless internet-facilitated creation and distribution of work, and the “porous workplace” where mobile technology enables work to be carried out in any location and at any time. Trend spotter, Howard Tullman, believes that these and other trends will contribute to a future where more people will piecemeal their workloads, working multiple freelance jobs instead of one full-time position. “By 2020”, Tullman claims, “40% of the U.S. population is going to be acting as free agents.”

This projection aligns with the concept of the “digital artisan” that we have defined in our previous blogs; an individual who is adept at leveraging digital capability to create, enhance and deliver high quality products or services in small quantities, tailored specifically for select customers and markets. In other words, it’s the antithesis of today’s world of mass-production and mass-markets.

For me, however, Tullman’s forecast arouses some concerns and prompts me to pose the following questions: if 40% of the population becomes freelance by 2020, what will the overall economy look like? Will large companies still dominate the economic landscape? Will mass-production and consumption still be the drivers of economic growth? What will be the role of Wall Street in this new world? How will labor law and human resources operate? How will people transition into these new roles? And how will society and the ecosystem evolve to support them?

I’ve also recently been reading about the new Catch 55 – a derivative of the famous Catch 22! Catch 55 refers to the requirement for employees to now work beyond the traditional retirement age, primarily due to dwindling pension funds. This is becoming complicated, however, at a time when companies are being forced to ease the 55+ year olds out of their positions as the younger generation – which is cheaper to employ – push for promotion and the top jobs.  Again, this is something that we have written about – with the loss of the older, more experienced worker goes a wealth of tacit or aggregate knowledge that corporations traditionally hold so close to their chest as proprietary capability. This loss of know-how is effectively released out into the collective where it can, potentially, become fuel for the fire of competitors or new entrants.  The question then arises – how do these 55+ year olds transition into a new world where the corporate workplace considers them too expensive to hire, even though they invariably bring valuable experience-based capabilities and a keen desire to continue working for at least another 10 to 15 years?

Having been one of those 55+ year olds who made the transition from corporate life to free agent / freelancer / consultant, I can attest to the challenges that this brings, and in particular the acquisition and application of new and practical skills. Aspects such as learning how to sell and market yourself,  building a pipeline of work, ensuring that projects are in various stages of completion and execution to maintain a continuous cash flow, dealing with large companies that often delay projects, don’t pay or delay payment – all these are taken care of by others in a corporate environment. There is clearly an opportunity for a new type of agency to emerge – one that seeks and feeds jobs and projects to this select group of freelancers, and leverages their talents to meet corporate requirements. In a report by Vistage “The Future of Work”, this concept is referred to as “Going Hollywood”,  where in movie making today a different set of actors, directors, screenwriters and producers are brought in each time to fill the necessary roles, versus the days when large movie studios controlled the whole process.

One final thought that comes to mind is that, if 40% of the working population is going to become free agents with no guaranteed employer or income, then credit bureaus, mortgage companies and banks will have to drastically rethink and readjust their perspectives on how they assess people for loans and mortgages, or otherwise the future implications for home ownership and wealth creation, as well as the building industry, appear pretty grim.

Since collaboration is now the name of the game, the social networks and communities that have rapidly emerged over the last 5-6 years should now be evolved into broader learning and support mechanisms for today’s digital artisans, to ensure that this group of individuals acquires the necessary skills, support and training to make a smooth transition into the 21st century workplace.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Google Plus – A Tool to Transform Knowledge Sharing As We Know It?

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

I was a relatively early adopter of LinkedIn and Twitter and although I have a corporate KeySo Global Facebook page, I really live vicariously on Facebook through my wife who, let’s face it, has managed our friendships and social calendar for most of our married life!

Then along comes this Google Plus! I’m invited to join, not by a friend or family member but by a business acquaintance where I suspect I’m in one of his circles labeled “met and might be an interesting or useful contact”!

I have to admit, I’d been intrigued by Google+ and the statistics for its growth are staggering. The media, of course, are claiming it’s the return of the cold war as Google takes on Facebook – but is it? Or is it something far more compelling than just another social network?

This amusing but revealing video on YouTube caught my eye, so I read Pete Cashmore’s blog on Mashable on “10 Tips for New Users”. Then I acquiesced and signed up!

We live in a world of “digital bytes” that consume our attention every second of the day. My biggest challenge is to find a digital tool that blends into my life to make it simpler, and replaces what currently requires multi-tasking with an all-encompassing digital medium. Similar to that which Steve Jobs managed to do with digital music and mobile web access.

Chris Brogan identified some interesting technical, human and etiquette aspects related to Google+ in two recent blogs. Firstly, just because you find someone of interest to follow and put that person in a “circle”, there is no guaranteed reciprocity. Unless you are “circled” in return, those people don’t see any of your updates and you still have the challenge of getting on their radar so that they “circle” you!

The belief is that Google+ will attract more professionals but their plight is the “digital byte syndrome” – compounded with fatigue – from constantly setting up new profiles and being disappointed by limited results. Then there’s the nagging question – what can I share that’s new? As I see it, the opportunity is there to blend the news updates of Twitter with the professional perspectives of LinkedIn and the digital life observations of Facebook, creating an integrated digital montage that could greatly enhance business and personal interactions.

David Armano appears to have a similar take on the situation. He views Google+ as a social layer that cuts across media, search, communication and collaboration services. This social layer potentially provides a capability that integrates the best of Web 2.0 into personalized services. It’s fascinating to consider that this horizontal layering could give rise to unforeseen and potentially transformational implications for our personal and professional lives, and I believe that its impact will extend way beyond that which most of us could predict.

Could the challenges of corporate knowledge sharing, together with the horizontal layering capability of Google+, form the seeds of what we at KeySo Global call “Digital Wisdom Networks”?  These networks face the challenge of bridging the gap between the internal communities within an organization that protect “aggregate” (internal) knowledge and those communities outside an organization, where an explosion of “collective” (external) knowledge has been powered by social networking. Essentially, Digital Wisdom Networks become trusted circles of professionals, in- and outside of a company, who collaborate to share new information for the purpose of generating company specific solutions and fresh innovation. Google+ might be just the tool they’re looking for!

To find out more about Digital Wisdom Networks and how converged digital technologies can greatly simplify collaboration and knowledge sharing within your organization, contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

 

How to Gain 20/20 Foresight in the Digital World

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

“Hindsight is 20/20”. We can always look back and see how past events have contributed to current situations. Hindsight is often used to measure the progression of governments and economies, and in the business world financial reports and assessments are all based on past performance. Yet in today’s fast paced digital world, hindsight alone is no longer sufficient. Knowing where you were, or even where you are, is not enough. Today’s requirement is for 20/20 Foresight – the ability to assimilate hindsight with current insight to define the road ahead.

New converged technologies are forcing digital life behavioral changes in the way we communicate and socialize, and are bringing such dramatic change to the workplace that, for many businesses, planning ahead and preparing for future challenges and opportunities are often seen as overwhelming tasks. 

Digital life is clearly having a massive impact on humanity on both global and personal levels. Through digital world converged technologies, cultural barriers are dropping, industry boundaries are blurring, consumerism is rising, and the attitude and behavior of people are changing faster than “rearview mirror” measurements can hope to keep up with. As a human race we must devise new frames of thinking, new tools for measurement, and new approaches to meeting the needs of us all.

20/20 Foresight provides organizations with valuable perspectives on consumers’, customers’, constituents’ and clients’ needs and wants of tomorrow, rather than those of yesterday or today. The “low hanging fruit” for grabbing quick returns may seem attractive now but it won’t provide a sustainable business strategy in the long term. It is the anticipation and foresight of peoples’ needs and wants of tomorrow that will increasingly determine how sustainable a strategy really is.

By identifying those factors that are contributing to major changes in human behavior – factors such as converging technologies and industries, impending baby boomer retirements, global tribes, and the mobile cloud 3.0 – and forecasting future digital life trends, we at KeySo Global have begun to derive actionable predictions; these, in turn, provide early identifications of both opportunities and threats that will help to ensure the long lasting success of any strategy.

20/20 Foresight has moved from a nice-to-have competitive differentiator to a must-have survival mechanism. To make this transition, companies must adopt a digital mind set and rethink how they can more effectively interact with the collective knowledge base outside of their business, to better understand the shifts in market trends that are occurring across the globe. At the same time they need to learn how to blend these fresh insights with their existing in-house aggregate knowledge in order to reshape out-of-date business models and become a truly “social business”.

If you’re open to change and willing to learn how to create a new digital strategy based on 20/20 Foresight that will lead to sustainable long term growth, we at KeySo Global can show you how. Contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com.

Steve Benton, Principal, KeySo Global