Archive for September, 2008

Knowledge Driven Economy – Quotes & Reference List

September 25, 2008

A continuously updated list of citations or references around the knowledge driven economy:

“Knowledge-Based Work: The second factor that makes jobs dysfunctional today is more and more work is knowledge-based rather than industrial. (Even the new industrial work is knowledge-based: the latest model of car has more built-in computing power than some of the first generation of satellites).” Helgesen, Sally: Leading from the grass roots,Page 20 f., in The Drucker Foundation. The Leader of the Future, Jossey-Bass Publisher, 1996

“The equation of leadership with positional power also reveals assumptions about the nature and shape of our organizations that are fast becoming obsolete. Certainly, such as linkage fails to reflect the decentralized and organic structure of what Peter Drucker has called the knowledge organization, which is the dominant form in our emergin postcapitalist era. Drucker notes that “the knowledges” that today’s organizations exist to make productive are by definition widely distributed. They are to be found not only among those at the top, the “lead horses”, but also among those who constitute what in the industrial era we called the rank and file. Indeed, people in the ranks no longer interchangeable ciphers performing simple repetitive tasks; in the knowledge organization, they are all knowledge workers. Each posses specific sets of skills and varieties of expertise, all of which are subject to continual upgrading.” Bridges, William: Leading the De-jobbed organization,Page 14 f., in The Drucker Foundation. The Leader of the Future, Jossey-Bass Publisher, 1996

“In a world where knowledge-worker companies are multiplzing, this is an especially crucial passage. Today’s twenty-two-year-old individual contributor in a company is tomorrow’s CEO. She no longer has to wait thirty years to ascend to the top spot; she may be ready in five or ten years (or it may be even less). Plus, first-time managers in knowledge-worker companies have a tremendous impact on productivity (in terms of cost efficiency and revenue growth). If they’re acting like individual contributors, their impact will be reduced. For these resons alone, organizations must do more than just give lip servcie to the importance of this passage.” Charan, Ram; Drotter, Stephen; Noel, James: The Leadership Pipeline – How to build the Leadership Powered Company; Jossy-Bass, 2001, Page 34

Knowledge Economy

Knowledge Economy

Wired cofounder Kevin Kelly recently reported that humans have “published” at least 32 million books; 750 million articles and essays; 25 million songs; 500 million images; 500 000 movies; 3 million videos, TV shows, and short films; and 100 billion public Web pages – and most of this knowledge explosion took place in the lst half century. Now add the constant stream of new knowledge created every day; so much, in fact, that the stock of human knowledge now doubles every five years. Tapscott, Don; Williams, Anthony D.: Wikinomics, Atlantic Books, 2007, Page 151 f.

Impact of the global knowledge driven economy: Example U.K.

“Collaboration, publication, peer review, and exchange of precompetitive information are now becoming keys to success in the knowledge-based economy.” Tapscott, Don; Williams, Anthony D.: Wikinomics, Atlantic Books, 2007, Page 153.

“In 1962, Douglas Engelbart wrote an extraordinary paper entitled “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework”, where he explained how exlectronic workstations could augment the thinking and communications abilities of what he called “knowledge workers” Tapscott, Don; Williams, Anthony D.: Wikinomics, Atlantic Books, 2007, Page 245.

“The problem from an organizational and knowledge-management point of view, however, lies in the inability of firms to capture and codify those moments of inspired brilliance – the moments when someone does something spontaneous that could be the key to unlocking a whole new approach to getting things done. Mayfield suggests the self-organizing group formation process should occur in social software. “Those are the moments where the greatest amount of learning occurs”, he says. Tapscott, Don; Williams, Anthony D.: Wikinomics, Atlantic Books, 2007, Page 256.

What is the impact on future Merger & Aquisitions ?
“Feigen points out that holding on to talent after a merger is an adverse selection process. “The most desirable people with the strongest resumes start marketing themselves first, and those are the people you want. Then you’ve got people down the line who may be high performers, but they’re younger. They’re saying, ‘Oh my God, my mentor, my boss just left,’ and they start looking. Not only do you lose the good leaders, but you also lower the morale of the up-and-comers if you aren’t prepared to take quick action to stem possible losses. A knowledge economy where people are truly your assests can implode very quickly.””Carey, Dennis C.; Ogden, Dayton: The Human Side of M&A, Oxford University Press, 2004, Page 65 

“Court employees. Especially in knowledge-based industries, losing talented employees is the same as losing business assets. Court them as ardently as you court customers.” Carey, Dennis C.; Ogden, Dayton: The Human Side of M&A, Oxford University Press, 2004, Page 68

“Work No Longer Has Clear Boundaries
A major factor in the mounting stress level is that the acutal nature of our jobs has changed much more dramatically and rapidly than have our training for and our ability to deal with work. In just the last half of the twentieth century, what constituted “work” in the industrialized world was transformed from assembly-line, make-it and move-it kinds of activity to what Peter Drucker has so aptly termed “knowledge work”.
Allen, David: Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Pengiun Books, 2001, Page 5.

“The Real Work of Knowledge Work
Welcome to the real-life experience of “knowledge work”, and a profound operational principle: You have to think about your stuff more than you realize but not as much as you’re afraid you might. As Peter Drucker has written, “In knowledge work… the task is not given; it has to be determined. ‘What are the expected results from this work?’ is … the key question in making knowledge workers productive. And it is a question that demands risky decisions. There is usually no right answer; there are choices instead. And results have to be clearly specified, if productivity is to be achieved.”
Allen, David: Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Pengiun Books, 2001, Page 15.

“Too often “managing by wandering around” is an excuse for getting away from amorphous piles of stuff. This is where the need for knowledge-work athletics really shows up. Most people did not grow up in  a world where defining the edges of work and managing huge numbers of open loops were required. But when you’ve developed the skilll and habits of processing input rapidly into a rigorously defined system, it becomes much easier to trust your judgement calls about the dance of what to do, what to stop doing, and what to do instead.”
Allen, David: Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Pengiun Books, 2001, Page 198 f..

This doesn’t mean that everyone has to do everything. I hope I have described a way to relate to our releatively new knowledge-based world that gives room for everyone to have a lot more to do than he or she can do. The critical issue will be to facilitate a constant renegotiation process with all involved, so they feel OK about what they’re not doing. That’s real knowledge work, at a more sophisticated level. But there’s little hope of getting there without having bulletproof collection systems in play. Remember, you can’t renegotiate an agreement with yourself that you can’t remember you made. And you certainly can’t renegotiate agreements with others that you’ve lost track of.”
Allen, David: Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Pengiun Books, 2001, Page 235.

“The rapid growth in scientific and technological knowledge is one driver that has contributed to the growing importance of human capital. Second, the information technology boom of the 1990s and the accompanying talent shortage got firms thinking about human capiatla as never before. Finally, there is a growing recognition that more and more of the market value of firms rests in their human capital.” Lawler III, Edward E., Worley Christopher G.: Built to Change, How to achieve sustained organizational effectiveness, Joessy-Bass, 2006, Page 5.

“Knowledge Is Central
The centrality of knowledge to organizational effectiveness has changed the very essence of organizations, what they do, and how they do it. Because of the growth in knowledge and the ways it is used by organizations, the nature of individua work has changed. Increasingly, work in developed countries is knowledge work in which people manage information, deal in abstract concepts, and are valued for their ability to think, analyze, and problem-solve. Fewer and fewer people are doing the mind-numbing, reptitive manual tasks that used to dominate the work scene. ” Lawler III, Edward E., Worley Christopher G.: Built to Change, How to achieve sustained organizational effectiveness, Joessy-Bass, 2006, Page 5 f.

Finally, knowledge workers, the fastest-growing talent pool in most organizations, have their own demands and peculiarities. By one estimate, 48 million of the 137 million workers in the United States alone can be classified in this group; a single company can employ upward of 100 000 (Lowell L. Bryan, “Making a market in knowledge,” The McKinsey Quarterly, 2004 Number 3, pp. 100;11). Knowledge workers are different because they creat more profit than other employees do – up to three times more, according to our research – and because their work requires minimal oversight. Yet the performance of knowledge-intensive companies within the same industry varies significantly, which suggests that some of them struggle to extract value from this newly enlarged type of workforce.” Reference: Making talent a stragic Priority, The McKinsey Quarterly Online, January 2008, Page 4

“Inflexible work arrangements such as 8‑to‑5 shifts are about as modern as Charlie Chaplin’s assembly line in the classic movie “Modern Times.” The model of industrial-age factories in that movie was later applied to offices, creating workhouses with endless rows of desks occupied by drones wearing visors and counting things. While it’s still necessary to have workers in assembly plants and clerks on department store floors, today’s knowledge and innovation (KI) workers don’t need to be confined to cubicles eight hours a day to create value.
Companies cling to the old workhouse practices because managing people is easier when one can see and touch them every day. Unfortunately, this illusory management practice encourages the wrong performance measurements such as attendance and visibility rather than productivity and creativity. Today’s KI workers tend to rebel against command-and-control structures and thrive on autonomy, flexibility and self-determination. In this environment, they can become more creative, responsible and productive team members, offering companies that embrace alternative work arrangements an advantage over those that insist on antiquated schedules and practices.” Lawrence, Ron: Managing Performance in the Knowledge and Innovation Worker Age, Talent Management Magazine, September 2008

“Peter Drucker was a pioneer in understanding the impact of knowledge workers in the new economy. He simply defined knowledge workers as ‘people who know more about what they are doing than their boss does’. In a world where knowledge workers are the key to value in most corporations, personal brand management becomes critically important. ”  Reference: Book Review by Marshall Goldsmith on “Personal Branding Academy’

“They (managers) assume that successful change comes primarily from being able to come up with a new, better organization structure. This is a particularly dangerous assumption in knowledge work organizations. In them, much of the intellectual capital of the organization rests in individuals, the systems that they work within, and the relationships that exist. Reference: Lawler III, Edward: Talent – Making People Your Competitive Advantage, Page 49.

“Profit sharing and stock ownership plans are particularly good fits in HC(Human Capital)-centric organizations that do knowledge work and are realtively samll in size.” Reference: Lawler III, Edward: Talent – Making People Your Competitive Advantage, Page 57.

An interesting way to manage career of knowldge workers was developed by Deloitte & Touche:
Mass carerr customization appears to be a praticularly good fit for Deloitte & Touche, because it is, when all is said and done, a knowledge-work, project-based organization. This type of organization has a constant need to retain and develop knowledge workers and to match them with the work that needs to be done. Knowing that individuals desire and want from their work, and what they are capable of doing, is an enormous aid when it comes to matching them with the project work that needs to be done at any point in time.” Reference: Lawler III, Edward: Talent – Making People Your Competitive Advantage, Page 80.

“Today, true collaborative sharing tends to occur primarily in nonbusiness settings and within knowledge-based communities. For example, knowledge is freely shared in scientific and academic communities because it is supported by the commonly held value of scholarly recognition – the recipent of knowledge is obligated to recognize all of the contributions to that knowledge. A similar commitment is a crucial ingredient in “open innovation” communities such as that supporting the Linux operating system. Within frims, members with common interests and problems often voluntarily share their know-how outside formal communications channels.” Reference: Raymond E. Miles, Grant Miles, Charles Snow: Creating The Capability For Collaborative Entrepreneurship: HR’s Role In The Development Of A New Organizational Form in The Future of Human Resource Management; John Wiley & Sons, Page 245

“As Frederick Taylor, the leader of the scientific management movement declared, “Simple jobs for simple people”. In this environment, employees did not have to understand or implement the strategy. They just had to perform well the narrow taks that engineers and management had assigned and trained them to do.
Today, this mode of work is virtually obsolete. For organizations to achieve their objectives – whether they are manufacturing or service, private or public, for-profit or not-for-profit – all organizational participants need to be aligned to the strategy. Much of the work done today is knowledge-based, not physical work. Automation and productivity have reduced the percentage of people in the organization who do traditional work functions. One reports estimates that 50 percent of the work done in industrialized coutnires today is knowledge work.”  Kaplan, Rober; Norton, David : The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment Page 211 f.

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge”  Daniel J. Boorstin


Why I am in Love with Collaborative Learning?

September 1, 2008

Actually I always believed learning on my own is the most effective way.

It was only at university where I had an opinion changing experience.

We were about 15 students attending a class together. Our professor was one of the advisors to the German Government. One thing he enjoyed most was thinking out loud in front of our class. The class was officially scheduled for 90 minutes. This did not stop this famous professor to elaborate all aspects of the topic in front of us in a monologue while walking up and down. Needless to say his lecture could last up to 3 or 4 hours without break. We estimated that he walked about a minimum of 10 kilometers during this time. Most of us could not figure out what his key message were and what to learn for the final exam. Not to mention that it was impossible to keep the attention level during this time in the classroom. I still wonder today how I was able not to fall asleep and start snoring. Have you made similar experiences ? (Leave a comment. Thank you.)

Another obvious fact was that there were a large percentage of students who failed the final exam.

The only way I thought to survive the exam was to form a study group. This seemed to be such a good idea that all of the 15 participants joined. Still some of them at the beginning were questioning if studying together will be effective. By the end of the semester we were all fully engaged in this group and prepared the upcoming exam together. The result was better than imagined – None of us failed.

When Mark Zuckerberg was busy founding Facebook a $15 Billion company while at Harvard the final exam in his art course were only one week away and he wasn’t prepared at all for it. “Zuckerberg did what comes naturally to a native of the web. He went to the internet and downloaded images of all the pieces of art he knew would be covered in the exam. He put them on a web page and added blank boxes under each. Then he emailed the address of this page to his classmates, telling them he’d just put up a study guide… The class dutifully came along and filled in the blanks with the essential knowledge about each piece of art, editing each other as they went, collaborating to get it just right… Zuckerberg aced the exam. But here’s the real kicker: The professor said the class as a whole got better grades than usual.” Reference: Jarvis, Jeff: What Would Google Do?, Harper Luxe, page 84.

This was my personal experience. Is there any scientific research confirming my personal success story?

There is a landmark study by Richard J. Light, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Light discovered that one of the strongest determinants of students’ success in higher education – more important than the details of their instructors’ teaching styles – was their ability to form or participate in small study groups. Students, who studied in groups, even only once a week, were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class, and learned significantly more than students who worked on their own.” Seely Brown, John;Adler, Richard P.: “Minds on Fire – Open Education,

But how does it actually work? What does Neuroscience say?

“Your Brain Needs Others”

Ellen Weber, Ph.D., director of the MITA International Brain Based Center in Pittsford, N.Y made the following observation.

“Weber’s recommendation to talk with someone about what you just learned derives from something that neuroscientists are learning more about—the brain as a social animal that needs interaction with others.”

“Because of brain-imaging technologies, we know that we use only 3 percent to 5 percent of our brains,” Weber says. “If you send me to your staff meeting and sit me there and talk to me, I use 3 percent of my brain, and that is the reason I hate being there and why I’m disengaged.””

“However, “If you stir up my environment meaningfully so that I can teach the person next to me something that I [just learned], I will use 90 percent of my brain,” suggests Weber.” Reference:

I am now the President of the corporate Toastmasters club in the company I am working for. Toastmasters mission is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth. During my short time I have seen people developing unbelievable fast. While they used a script in their first speech and showed signs of nervousness most of them did not use a script in their second speech and were comfortably standing in front of the audience. This is just another experience that proves how effective collaborative learning is.

I am now looking for programs to develop collaboratively team skills (effective team meetings, etc.). If you do know any such program or any other collaborative learning programs please leave me a comment. Thank you.

Further Reading:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

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