adapting to life in perpetual beta

Twenty years ago I was finishing my Master’s thesis on learning in the information technology workplace. A significant part of my research relied on the work of Marshall McLuhan, especially his laws of media. My job at the time was the development of all training related to a fleet of helicopters employed in tactical aviation: from pilots, to technicians, and including flight simulation and computer based training. The web was a new thing in 1997. But I was convinced, based on my readings of McLuhan and many others, that it would create an epochal shift in how we work and learn. I decided that understanding this shift would become my professional focus.

I retired from the military in 1998 and took a position as project manager at The Centre for Learning Technologies, a now closed external department of Mount Allison University, here in Sackville. This is why we live in such a remote place. Later I was in charge of professional services for an e-learning company. In 2003 I started my consulting practice and soon after, this blog.

Over the past +14 years I have always had a challenge describing what I do for a living. Today I came across an article on the future of work, by Deloitte. The image included with the article pretty well describes my professional focus for the past twenty years.

The bottom three boxes cover almost all my work. Here are some examples.

  1. Individuals: The personal knowledge mastery framework I have developed over more than a decade helps individuals take control of their professional development.
  2. Organizations: The social learning workshop is for those supporting organizational learning and I have developed a suite of models as guidance for the future of work, or what I call the network era.
  3. Public Policy: I have given forward-looking advice (PDF) to Canada’s Department of Justice, spoken on governance & the networked city with the London Voluntary Service Council (video), and worked with the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office on the transformation of work.

So, in a nutshell, I work with individuals, organizations, and public policy influencers to develop practical ways to adapt to the technological, demographic, and societal changes facing us today. You could call it adapting to life in perpetual beta.

5 Responses to “adapting to life in perpetual beta”

  1. William Ryan

    I have found it hard throughout my career to simply explain what I do (grandmother thought I was an interior designer!) and as I follow you on a similar career path your insight above is a gem. Thank you for your willingness to share!


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