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Julian Birkinshaw hypothesising about the transition from Industrial to knowledge work. Capital and Labour were scarce in the industrial age, but efficiency drives out effectiveness because we focus too much on short term return on capital.

– Effectiveness is long term
– Efficiency is short term

In knowledge work information is the chief resource – more important than capital – and the time and motion approach to labour drives out intrinsic motivation so knowledge – the use of the information – replaces brute labour.

What will be the post-knowledge era? Come up with a name and Julian will co-author a paper with you.

In the post-info era, even information and knowledge will have declining returns. Is a focus on Big Data really goiing to give long term returns.

– What does too much information look like?
– What will too much emphasis on knowledge do to business?

Complexity – why do you want the knowledge and how does it help you? Is it about cutting through the complexity, sculpting the information. There needs to be an outcome focus.

Too much information is historical – looking behind you and not into the mirror. You need competence in handling data that can change and grow so dynamically.

If you have better data you try to use it – it’s a solution in search of a problem – but does it answer a customer need.

Customers have access to information too, they may move on because they can learn how has cheaper prices and so on so quickly.

Watch out for paralysis by analysis.

– “TMI” creates deficit of attention – we have lower capacity to focus – move to “decisive action”
– Knowledge is only part – replace or augment with “emotional conviction”

Are we good at focusing attention on important issues on a corporate level?

Action and conviction matter. eg Facebook buys WhatsApp. That was not a knowledge based decision but rather a decision based in action and conviction.

We will move from new products and services to new ways of working. Instead of routinising work and disciplining employees, who will we organise / manage in more complex situations?

Traditional model tules, procedures, hierarchy and extrinsic rewards. Successful beaurocrat will delay because taking action is risky. (but some beaurocracy is good – prevents dictatorship?) Ultimately disempowering.

Three alternative models:

– meritocracy
– adhocracy
– emocracy

Business card – job title (beaurocracy) vs. CV (meritocracy) vs. daily activity (adhocracy) vs. who you are (emocracy).. These approaches can be and are combined:

– Google = adhocracy + meritocracy
– Apple = emocracy + beaurocracy

– Meritocracy is the dominant aspiration in the knowledge era
– Adhocracy and Emocracy will dominate in the post-knowledge era

Loads of interesting stuff here – Costa (adhocracy), Apple (“Form follows emotion”), Tupperware (!) (emotional connection – goal to “enlighten, educate and inspire women and their families”).

Which approach(es) do you aspire to, moving into the post-information era.

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