If sense-making is a key part of knowledge work and is also essential for both innovation and creativity, does the average workplace help or hinder sense-making? I noted before that seeking works best with a playful attitude, exploring new possibilities in diverse networks with many connections in order to enhance serendipity. Sense-making, the most difficult aspect, requires a willingness to try new things, empowering through learning. Sharing is necessary in almost all work contexts today and it is through sharing that we can inspire and be inspired.
Barriers to seeking playfully
Jobs are designed around work that can be copied and workers who can be replaced, but anything that can be reduced to a flowchart will be automated. Relying on the job as society’s main wealth-sharing mechanism is a major mistake in the network era, but one that politicians and many others continue to make. We are entering a post-job economy.
Executives may believe that they want insights and innovations but are most receptive to new ideas that fit with existing practices and maintain predictability [e.g. project plans]. Business organizations treat disruptive insights and innovation with suspicion. – Gary Klein in Seeing What Others Don’t
Barriers to empowered learning
Staff who carry out day-to-day duties—and whose productivity you’re looking to improve—should ultimately be the source for defining what knowledge they need and what knowledge they know is valuable to others. – BloombergBusinessWeek
Training as a separate activity
As work becomes more networked and complex, the social aspects of knowledge sharing and collaboration are becoming more important. Learning amongst ourselves is getting to be the real work in many organizations. – The New Challenge for Learning Professionals: (PDF)
Barriers to inspiration through sharing
Performance appraisals are like academic grades and keep the focus on the individual. In the collaborative, social enterprise this is counter-productive. There is no place for this practice in doing net work. In today’s enterprise, work is learning and learning is the work, and it has to be done cooperatively.
When it comes to knowledge, and learning, only open systems are effective. All closed systems will fail over time, especially if discovery and innovation are happening outside that system.