The network era workplace requires collaboration and cooperation because complex problems cannot be solved alone. Tacit knowledge, that which cannot be codified or put into a database, needs to flow. Social learning, developed through many conversations, enables this flow of tacit knowledge. This is not ‘nonsense chat’, as traditional management might view it, but essential for creating stronger bonds in professional social networks. Companies have to foster richer and deeper connections which can only be built over time through meaningful conversations. This is why social learning in the workplace is necessary for business.
Worker autonomy is a foundation stone for effective social learning. It is also the lubricant for an agile organization, where initiative, creativity and passion are encouraged. Individual autonomy in turn fosters group diversity.
As traditional core business activities get automated or outsourced, almost all high value work will be done at the outer edge of organizations. Life is complex and even chaotic on this fuzzy edge. Here, where things are less homogeneous, there is more diversity and there are more opportunities for innovation. Individuals, project teams, and companies have to move operations to the edge to stay current. Business models today need to be more open, networked, and cooperative to stay competitive in the hyper-connected economy.
Change and complexity are becoming the norm in our work. We already see this with increasing numbers of freelancers and contractors. Any work where complexity is not the norm will be of diminishing value.
Embracing complexity is where the future of work lies.