The fact is that in a Digitised Economy with control as the key behavioural modification tool utilised in organisational context; the more ‘control’ and micro management we apply, the more dysfunctional, disinterested and disenfranchised employees and collaborators become.
Now the terms employee and collaborator used in such close proximity should create a slight twinge of cognitive dissonance, but do we really pick up on the subtleties of the situation? Possibly not, however this thought piece is an extension of our initial thoughts on [the Future is collaboration], publish a week ago.
With collaboration and an Open Source or purely OPEN philosophy to achieving value creation for individuals and society in large, the biggest ‘contractual challenge’ of the beginning of the 21st Century is the revolution in the engagement process.
No longer a process purely dominated by an HR focus, but more around our key concept of CLUSTERS OF SKILLS & EXPERIENCE.
Creating the environment and framework that supports the ability of market participants to ‘cluster’ around skills bases and then for willing procurers of those clustered skills to engage in such a market is the cornerstone of the Digitised Economy in the third wave of ‘Industrialised Revolution’. In fact the word Industrial Revolution is a disingenuous statement to make, as the third wave of prosperity should be called the DIGITAL EVOLUTION.
The future of work and engagement has already begun. That is stating the blatantly obvious, but are we really prepared for it, yet?
Here is a little taster of what we think the future of work will look like for most individual participants in the labour and skills supply market.
The key is that the industrialised ‘factory’ and production line models are now slowly but surely falling apart. The expectation for grown up individuals to turn up 5 days a week and sit at ‘battery hen‘ cubicles and perform tasks a ‘production line’ manager allocates and oversees are numbered.
The fundamental problem today is that no one has yet effectively resolved the ‘contracting’ and hence TRUST problem of delivery on a large scale. We can do it effectively on the micro level, with freelancers selling there individual skills on small tasks and projects, where the risk of failure or an adverse outcome is mitigated. However, we have not yet evolved far enough up the trust hierarchy to fully outsource mission critical projects to ‘clustered’ skills and solution provider hubs, in remote and distant locations, far removed from the core.
Platforms where suppliers and demanders of services can be matched
A common global business Lingua Franca
These are only a few of the factors either contributing or detracting from moving the revolution on in significant leaps and bounds.
Therefore, to conclude this first stab at a look at the future world of work, we hypothesis that the future will have large groups (what we will call CLUSTERED SKILLS HUBS) of skills pools bidding for contracts to supply services and solutions to leaner and meaner multinationals in cross border transactions and flows that are worth trillions of dollars annually.
Right now, we can’t see any major G20 sovereign government dealing effectively with this challenge, to ensure that they contribute and facilitate the move towards the new future of COLLABORATION.
As economic beings we are extremely ‘short-sighted’ by nature. We don’t fully appreciate the differences and interactions between the short-, medium- and long-term.
It was Burns & Mitchell (1946) who tried to measure the economic cycles. Today there are four broad classifications of business cycles as follows:
Kitchin cycle (3 – 5 years) – The rate at which businesses build up their inventories
Juglar cycle (7 – 11 years) – Related to Investment flows into Capital such as factories and other capital means of production
Kuznets cycle (15 – 25 years) – Period between booms in corporate or governmental spending on large scale Infrastructure projects, such as rail, roads, etc.
Kondratiev wave / cycle (45 – 60 years) – The ‘super-cycle’ referring to the phases of capitalism. Crises such as the Great Depression and the current Financial & Sovereign Debt driven contraction.
But the Information Age has undermined these cycles? Or only undermined our understanding of these cycles? That is the key distinction we need to draw.
Are there any longer-term term cycles, which are beginning to contract with advances in Technology.
The Dark Ages (lets say from the collapse of the Roman Empire) until the enlightenment lasted around 1,000 years. The Enlightenment (approximately 1650s) through to the First Industrial Revolution (from mid 1700’s to mid 1800s) lasted around 200 years. The Second Industrial Revolution (driven by electricity from around mid 1800s) lasted another 100 years.
The Third Industrial Revolution, or rather the Digital Revolution is the COMPUTER or DIGITAL AGE.
However, interesting this brief synopsis of economic history is, the actual relevant issue is recognising the length of the TRANSITION period between these ‘Leapfrog’ Technological advances.
We are not very good (yet) at recognising, never mind managing these tectonic shifts in the economic landscape.