helping make the network smarter

In what is likely the best example of my mantra that ‘work is learning and learning is the work’, Nokia’s CEO Risto Siilasmaa describes how he learned about machine learning because everyone was talking about it but he still did not understand it enough to describe it. Frustrated, he was acting like many of his fellow CEO’s.

“I spent some time complaining. Then I realized that as a long-time CEO and Chairman, I had fallen into the trap of being defined by my role: I had grown accustomed to having things explained to me. Instead of trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of a seemingly complicated technology, I had gotten used to someone else doing the heavy lifting.” —HBR 2018-10-04

The result of what Siilasmaa learned is an excellent example of the integration of learning and work, a necessity in the network era workplace. (more…)

adapting to constant change

Perpetual Beta

The future of [human] work is perpetual beta: adapting to constant change while still getting things done.

“Basically: technological innovation and artificial intelligence are going to accelerate at a pace we’ve yet to really comprehend. (Fifteen years ago, Facebook wasn’t even around. Now it’s so efficient at micro-targeting that it helped sway a democratic election. Imagine what it might be capable of in another fifteen years.) That means automation will likely disrupt your current job (and your next one, and the one after that), and you’ll be the target of attention-grabbing, behavior-modifying algorithms so exponentially effective you won’t even realize you’re being targeted.

The best defense against that? An emotional flexibility that allows for constant reinvention, and knowing yourself well enough that you don’t get drawn into the deep Internet traps set for you.” —GQ Interview with Yuval Noah Harari


learning as we work

In an essay on cognitive coaching, Gary Klein recommends six mind shifts that trainers can use to help improve cognitive skills.

  1. From criticism to curiosity
  2. From following procedures to gaining tacit knowledge
  3. From getting through the material to encouraging curiosity
  4. From providing thorough explanations to providing focused explanations
  5. From explaining to discovering
  6. From evaluating to training

In section 2, seeing the invisible, Klein recommends several strategies to improve tacit thinking.

  1. Subtle cues
  2. Hindsight perspective
  3. Anticipating
  4. Shifting focus
  5. Fixation
  6. Hypothesis Testing
  7. Workarounds

Klein’s essay is written as advice for trainers but do we really need trainers or coaches to implement these recommendations? I have shown how the discipline of personal knowledge mastery, AKA agile sensemaking, can help people gain better insights and even help see contradictions by seeking disconfirming data. These are based on Klein’s book, Seeing What Others Don’t. (more…)

post-modernity: a way-station to the future

The TIMN Model describes how people have organized through history — first we lived as Tribes, then Institutions (church & state) dominated, and now Markets reign supreme. Each new form did not obsolesce the previous ones, but did change them. For example, tribes and clans have less influence over global markets than stock exchanges do. But families are still powerful bonding units between people. T+I+M is what David Ronfeldt calls a triform society, which we are currently in. T+I+M+N is when the Network form becomes our main way of organizing society. This will be a quadriform society. We are not there yet but can already see examples of what could be our future with  — networked warfare, networked cryptocurrencies, and networked social movements. (more…)

from modernity to meta-modernity

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

“I should have followed Ni Kuang’s process for doing work. Get paid first, deliver on time but absolutely no rewrites. That’s your business. Genius.”@ActivateLearn

“Freelancing is a tightrope act of sharing and protecting your wares.”@White_Owly

“The beauty of science hugely outranks the charms of superstition. Nature is miraculous enough.” —Christopher Hitchens via @Hitch_Slapping

“Question authority. No idea is true just because someone says so. Test ideas by the evidence gained from observation and experiment! If a favorite idea fails a well-designed test, it’s wrong!” —Richard Feynman via @ProfFeynmam (more…)

continuous learning for collaboration

For the eleventh consecutive year, Jane Hart has polled thousands of respondents and asked what are their Top Tools for Learning. I contributed my own list of tools once again this year. In addition to the extensive list, complete with Jane’s observations and insights, she provides an interesting look at ten of the emerging trends. I find two of the trends of significant interest.

  • Learning at work is becoming personal and continuous.
  • Team collaboration tools support the real social learning at work.

Learning at work

One of the primary reasons to promote learning at work is because it is directly linked to innovation. Gary Klein examined 120 case studies and in, Seeing what Others Don’t, identified five ways that we gain insight.

  1. Curiosity
  2. Connections
  3. Coincidences
  4. Contradictions
  5. Creative Desperation


toward distributed governance

Last year I wrote a post — cities & the future of work — as an introduction to my session with the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland. I have been invited back to Helsinki this year to further discuss some issues around reforming the government’s operating practices particularly moving toward a more collaborative culture.

In the emerging network era, leadership is helping communities and networks become more resilient. Government agencies can focus on creating more human organizational structures that enable self-governance. Leadership becomes an emergent property of a network in balance. Depending on any one person to be the leader only dumbs-down the entire network. Viewing all of our work and learning from a network perspective may in the long-run create a better society. One role of government in the network era is to enable knowledge-sharing and curate the knowledge of all citizens. It can start by doing this internally. Countries, regions, and cities should be designed to enable more and better connections between citizens. Learning and innovation are more about making connections than having unique ideas. Increasing connections makes for a more innovative country.

In Finland the government is looking at a cross-sectoral and phenomenon-based approach, which ensures that a phenomenon like youth social exclusion is understood and addressed by government departments together, before individual budgets and projects are initiated. I liken this to agile sensemaking, where these ‘situation rooms’ (work teams) are based on temporary, negotiated hierarchies, that can be re-organized to address different phenomena as they appear. (more…)

staying alive in the modern world

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

“I’m convinced that people think freelancers have their lives funded by some kind of freelancing fairy, and that invoices are therefore an exercise in comedy.”WhiteOwl

“AI makes us more powerful. It doesn’t make us wiser.”@joi

“The impact of technology on our lives — and on the future of meaningful work — is the result of research, investment, regulatory, and business model choices that are made by people.”Byrone Auguste

a personal learning model

The Seek > Sense > Share framework of personal knowledge mastery was the result of many iterations over almost 15 years. It is simple to understand but under it are many layers. You can keep digging for a lifetime as each part reveals deeper aspects — algorithms, heuristics, complexity, critical thinking, media literacy, cognitive load management, network analysis, etc.

Many people have shared their PKM routines and it is great to see variations on the theme, as there is no lock-step method or recipe to mastery. We must each find our own path as we likely will not keep to another person’s path over time. PKM is personal.

Clark Quinn has taken my Seek > Sense > Share framework and added a layer that makes it easier to understand. It is not too detailed but gives extra value. Clark has ‘added value‘, a key part of PKM. (more…)