learning and the future of work

The following extract is the concluding section of finding perpetual beta. The last personal knowledge mastery in 40 days online workshop for 2015 started this week

“Work is learning, learning work” — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Our increasing interconnectedness is illuminating the complexity of our work environments. More connections create more possibilities, as well as more potential problems. On the negative side, we are seeing that simple work keeps getting automated, like automatic bank machines. Complicated work, for which standardized processes or software can be developed, usually gets outsourced to the lowest cost of labour. On the positive side, complex work can provide unique business opportunities. Because complex work is difficult to copy and creative work constantly changes, these are where long-term value for human work lies. (more…)

opportunities to connect

‘As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”’ – Michael Simmons

Michael Simmons shows that Jobs had the ability to be a member of many networks, meaning that he was often the outsider, but this gave him a larger perspective than someone in a closed network, where everyone knows each other. Successful people, according to network theory, are those with more open networks. This goes against our tribal instincts and the norms of most of our institutions. Even the marketplace can be fairly homogeneous, with companies sticking to industry standard practices. But innovation often happens on the edges of disciplines. Jobs instinctively knew this with his innate curiosity. (more…)

always something to learn

Donald Taylor notes that, “everyone has a memory that is particularly attuned to learning some things very easily”. In his post, Donald says that the context in which we learn something, as well as how it is presented and received, are all important aspects of whether we will remember something. (more…)

cooperation, measurement, security and more

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@hrheingold: “Don’t refuse to believe; refuse to start out believing.” #crapdetection

@nielspflaeging: “Any tool involving points and badges is superfluous, even systematically destructive in an organizational context.” (more…)

it’s all about our data

Platform capitalism is the ability of a common internet exchange medium to enable easy commercial transactions. Buyers of services get convenience, while sellers get a larger market. The spoils go to the owner of the platform, receiving a significant percentage of revenues. Most of these platforms are created when regulations and oligopolies make these transactions difficult by traditional means. Platform capitalism initially disrupts a sector that is poorly served. It requires four contributing factors. (more…)

buck the established way

Here is a good story that shows the value of learning as working, as opposed to relying on previous expertise.

“On the surface, John looked like the perfect up-and-coming executive to lead BFC’s Asia expansion plans. He went to an Ivy League B-school. His track record was flawless. Every goal or objective the organization had ever put in front of him, he’d crushed without breaking a sweat.

But something broke when John went to Asia. John struggled with the ambiguity, and he didn’t take prudent risks. He quickly dismissed several key opportunities to reach out for feedback and guidance from leadership. It became clear that John had succeeded in the past by doing what he knew and operating rather conservatively within his domain. It also became clear that the company was going to massively miss the promises it had made to the Board and the Street if John remained in the role.

With a heavy heart, BFC’s CEO removed his promising protégé from the role and redeployed him back in the US. He decided he had no choice but to put a different kind of leader in the role – Alex.

While talented, Alex had come to be known behind closed doors by the moniker “DTM” – difficult to manage. He marched to the beat of his own drummer, and he wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. He loved a challenge, and he was comfortable taking risks. It turned out to be the best move the CEO ever made.

No stranger to ambiguity, Alex was flexible in formulating his strategy and sought feedback from the people around him. He made a risky move at the beginning that backfired on him. But as a result, he learned what not to do and recalibrated his approach. That was the key to success. His tendency to buck the established BFC way of doing things was exactly what was required for the company to successfully flex its approach and win in the new territory”. – Harvard Business Review: Improve Your Ability to Learn