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  • Doug Belshaw 2:55 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Creative, entrepreneurial work is very different. The context of work is changing from generic, repetitive practices to contextual, creative practices. The first thing to do is to answer the questions: What are we here for? What should we achieve? What should we do next and with whom? What tools would help us? It is not about generic processes but contextual interaction. Key questions for a knowledge worker have to do with how to do things and what tools to use. This time, the machines, the tools, need to serve the worker. Human beings come first. It is, in fact, a fundamental change because the needed tools may not be available, or even exist, yet.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:54 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    The old model companies are ill-equipped for this digital transformation. Mass-production and mass media organizations are still much more prepared to talk to customers than to hear from them, not realizing that one-way communication was just a fleeting accident of technological development. It is not that customers didn’t have needs and reflections they would have liked to communicate.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:51 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Creative individuals need both independence and interdependence to do their best work. A creative organization thrives on the tension that arises from widely different but complementary abilities and views working with one another in enriching interaction.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:49 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    In a physical meeting, there are always more or less the wrong people present and the transaction costs are very high. Unlike email, which pushes copies of the same information to people to work on, or edit separately, a wiki pulls people together to work cooperatively, and with very low transaction costs. The aim is a common movement of thought. Email and physical meetings are methods which always exclude. They necessarily always leave people out. A wiki, depending on the topic, the context, and the people taking part, can be inviting and including. The goal is to enable groups to form around shared purposes without preset organizational walls, or rules of engagement.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:47 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Knowledge workers are often put in a position where they have to negotiate some common understanding of what they face. The same event means different things to different people. The context matters: what seems right from one point of view can prove disastrous for everybody in the long run. As Gillian Tett says, very bright people can make very dumb decisions in fragmented environments if the dots are not connected.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:44 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Problem-based, cooperative work is best expressed organizationally through emergent, responsive communities. The mainstream business approach is still predictive grouping and an ex ante organizational structure. It is typically a process organization designed and controlled by the expert/manager. This is based on the presuppositions that we know (1) all the linkages that are needed beforehand, and (2) what the right sequential order in acting is. Neither of these beliefs is correct any more.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:43 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Problem-based work is interaction and exploration both when it comes to defining the problem and when seeking a solution. The exploration is performed most efficiently through transparency and a network process of distributing the cognitive load of the case. People don’t perform job roles or tasks. People participate. You as a manager don’t delegate, you invite! Work is engagement and interaction between interdependent people. People from the whole community/network should have a chance to contribute through voluntary self-organization and at the same time, not sequentially. You design for participation. As many people as possible with applicable and relevant skills should have a chance to connect and contribute. The industrial process was long, sequential and divided. The problem-based work process is short, distributed/parallel and interactive. The process follows three entrepreneurial phases: defining the problem, creating a solution, scaling up the solution.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:42 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Leadership used to be based on asymmetric power relations, but networks work differently. Network relations are typically more symmetric. There is less dependency between people. In symmetric systems, leadership needs to be handed to the community itself without any single individual being in control, or trying to be in control. The solution is simple in theory but very hard in practice. It is about active participation and responsiveness. Leadership is communication. The leaders, people worth following, raise bottom up. There is always going to be hierarchies, but hierarchies in network architectures are dynamic, contextual heterarchies. In fact, this is the only way that there can be leaders in democratic systems.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:38 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    The interactions between tools and human minds are today so complex that it is very hard to try to draw a line between humans and technology. Neither is it a zero-sum game where the human brain is losing to the microchip, but as technology changes, people and what people do, are necessarily changed. This is just one of the reasons why work needs to be understood as learning. Work starts from problems and learning starts from questions. Work is creating value and learning is creating knowledge. Both work and learning require the same things: interaction, engagement and intelligent tools. With the help of our tools, we can create ways for very large numbers of people to become technologically augmented learners and thus potentially much more skilled in whatever they do. Much more than we have ever imagined possible.

    Esko Kilpi</a
  • Doug Belshaw 2:37 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    The new managerial task is to understand: (1) the speed of the common movement of thought, (2) what is being discussed, (3) the quality and “cool factor” of that conversation, and (4) how problems actually develop towards solutions and scalable learning. Thinking does not take place inside separate people but in rich, continuous interaction. The richer the interaction, the more value and learning are potentially created.

    Esko Kilpi
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