I found a recent HBR article on The Big Shift by Hagel & Brown via Betrand Duperrin, who provides his own comments in French (and in English). The key point of the HBR article is that Return on Assets have diminished over the past several decades, in spite of increases in productivity. The authors say that many organizations no longer reflect the realities of the external environment which now includes networks of transparency and multiple knowledge flows.
Twentieth-century institutions built and protected knowledge stocks—proprietary resources that no one else could access. The more the business environment changes, however, the faster the value of what you know at any point in time diminishes. In this world, success hinges on the ability to participate in a growing array of knowledge flows in order to rapidly refresh your knowledge stocks. For instance, when an organization tries to improve cycle times in a manufacturing process, it finds far more value in problem solving shaped by the diverse experiences, perspectives, and learning of a tightly knit team (shared through knowledge flows) than in a training manual (knowledge stocks) alone.
How does an organization adapt to become more transparent? Change the organizational framework from a hierarchy to a wirearchy, incorporating two-way flows of power and authority. According to Jay Cross & Jon Husband:
Intangibles travel via networks, and networks are the infrastructure for doing business in the future. An overarching caveat here: Strategist and practitioner Stuart Henshall said trust is critical. “It’s the one qualitative factor all networks depend upon.”
Without trust, human networks don’t work and without networks, businesses won’t succeed.
Even with an understanding of knowledge flows and networks, organizations are slow to discard training as the primary method of personnel development. Charles Jennings sees a very limited role for formal training. “The evidence has been around for a long time that formal training on detailed task and process-based activities in advance of the need to carry out the task or use the process is essentially useless.”
The alternatives to formal training programs include the integration of collaborative working and learning using online social networks, and Jane Hart is an expert with many of these platforms, have used and tested a wide variety of them.
So that, in my opinion, is how to address the big shift: to be effective in a networked economy, individuals and organizations must integrate working and learning so that there is no longer a distinction between the two. As Jay Cross & Clark Quinn say, “In business, networks supplement, surround and challenge hierarchies. Sound vision and leadership will inspire, not control, workers. Managers, workers, customers and partners will recognise we’re all in this together.”