the future will be distributed

Is this the journalism of the future?

“We can conjecture, for example, that the journalism of the future will be distributed  — with every individual in society playing a continuous role in providing the function. Indeed, given the primary importance and power of True Information to a well functioning Abundance Society, we might well expect that providing honest and thoughtful evaluation of experiences will become one of the principal activities in the future. Perhaps a main portion of the economy of Abundance will involve having experiences, evaluating them and curating them in a collective effort to ensure that every member of society is consistently presented with the best possible set of experiences for them to encounter at every moment.” – Reinvent Everything


We made the news!

Jordan Greenhall paints a very clear picture why distributed journalism is likely to happen. It is an accepted fact in some jurisdictions. As the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on defamation in 2009, all citizens can be viewed by the law as journalists.

“However, the traditional media are rapidly being complemented by new ways of communicating on matters of public interest, many of them online, which do not involve journalists.  These new disseminators of news and information should, absent good reasons for exclusion, be subject to the same laws as established media outlets.”

As distributed and shared sense-making pervades society, it is quite likely a similar pattern will emerge inside and across organizations. We will all have to be sense-makers and curators of knowledge in our increasingly distributed workplaces.

Evidence of one’s knowledge-sharing and sense-making may become the new résumé. It would be up to date and multifaceted, showing activities across multiple networks. It might even replace the useless annual performance review. In the network era, where work is learning and learning is the work, would it not be better to find out how people are actively learning?  It would be good to see questions like the following in workplace conversations and interviews:

  • How do you keep your learning up to date?
  • With whom do you learn?
  • How do you capture your learning?
  • How do you narrate your work? Please show us an example …
  • How do you stay current in your field?
  • How diverse is your network? Could you give us some examples?
  • How would you begin to look at the following problem, which is out of your normal scope of work …

Describing how we stay actively engaged in our learning is a better indicator of future performance than a list of past achievements. In a world where many answers do not lie in the past, but in how we manage to make connections with the present, our thinking has to remain relevant. In the network era people need to re-skill and address today’s and tomorrow’s problems, not yesterday’s. We need to think more like artists and look at creating new ways of working, not polishing our previous successes. Showing how we learn and manage our knowledge keeps us focused on the present and ready for the future.

Practicing sense-making, such as with the PKM framework, is a solid way to get people ready for the future of work.

4 Responses to “the future will be distributed”

  1. mark oehlert


    Great post as always. I’ve been thinking lately though about how this translates into workforces that are in manufacturing or retail. I think that all the problems that we face in training solutions not in those areas are just compounded. Smaller time windows, almost certainly totally mobile, higher turnover so time-to-competency has to happen faster. I’m even thinking that these arenas are ones that will live in a post-resume world first since their focus is really mainly on concrete skills…so what do you see as the main translation issues here or are there any?

  2. Harold Jarche

    Production work in manufacturing keeps getting automated. This means that human work has to be more oriented toward design. Shorter cycles increase demand for new designs, and technologies like 3D printers enable production runs of a single object. Those who thrive will be people who can create and build new products.

  3. mark oehlert

    ok…two thoughts…first-I see both a push towards automation and a place where you rightly focus on design but I also see a vector that goes away from automation, toward (or backwards to) a more artisan style..wonder if that could influence a return in some degree of master/apprentice relationships? Second thought, the service sector in the US has grown for 55 consecutive months…I’m still thinking that sector is ripe for a change in the way we’ve done things…

  4. Harold Jarche

    I wonder how much service sector growth is in low-paying jobs (?).

    Usually what happens with new manufacturing processes is that the luxury market retrieves older craftsmanship, so there may be a small market for those types of ‘old-fashioned’ goods, like fountain pens and mechanical watches today. I think the biggest challenge in the winner-take-all platform capitalist era will be finding buyers. There has to be a thriving (and achievable for the lower classes) middle class to keep all this going.


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