hyper-connected pattern seeking

Here is more confirmation that work is learning, and learning is the work. From a recent post by the BBC:

Crucial in surviving all of these unpredictable variables is the use of network design tools – software suites that can simulate what happens at the point of disaster.

“This helps when decisions need to be made in the next couple of days – maybe even the next couple of hours,” explains Tim Payne, research director for Gartner analysts.

“The processing speed at which they can run through a plan or simulation can take seconds — rather than having to run it over night.”

It means companies can take a highly-educated guess at how their decisions will immediately impact their supply chains – and their ability to meet their customer’s demands.

As feedback loops get faster with increased connectivity, the ability to learn and ‘spin on a dime’ becomes paramount. The BBC article discusses the use of technology to analyze data and spot potential risks and trends. But what about people? Technology is only a small part of creating more nimble companies. Workers have to be able to recognize patterns in complexity and chaos and be empowered to do something with their observations and insights.

The Principles of Networked Unmanagement provide an initial framework.

It is only through innovative and contextual methods, the self-selection of the most appropriate tools and work conditions, and willing cooperation that more productive work can be assured. The duty of being transparent in our work and sharing our knowledge rests with all workers.

Innovative and contextual methods mean that standard processes do not work for exception-handling or identifying new patterns. Self-selection of tools puts workers in control of what they use, like knowledge artisans whose distinguishing characteristic is seeking and sharing information to complete tasks. Equipped with, and augmented by, technology, they cooperate through their networks to solve complex problems and test new ideas. This only works in transparent environments.

If learning, and unlearning, are not integrated with the daily work flow then opportunities, such as the Duchess’s dress cited in the BBC article, will be missed. Organizations and their ecosystems that can learn and adapt quickly will be able to capitalize on the myriad opportunities that are constantly presented in a hyper-connected economy. This is nothing new, but it is becoming much more crucial for business survival.


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