Sat.Mar 07, 2020 - Fri.Mar 13, 2020

How To Lead Remote Employees In The Wake Of COVID-19

Dan Pontefract

As of this writing, the World Health Organization (WHO) hasn’t declared COVID-19 (aka: coronavirus) a pandemic, but the likelihood grows by the hour. Whether or not it receives such a … Continue reading "How To Lead Remote Employees In The Wake Of COVID-19".

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The Long-Term Future of Work and Education: Three Potential Scenarios

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“Experts differ widely in their predictions about how technological innovation will change the labor market, but they all see a need for changes in education,” write British professors Ewart Keep and Phillip Brown in a recently published article, Rethinking the Race Between Education and Technology. While experts don’t generally agree on much, they’re pretty much of one mind when it comes to the growing importance of skills and education in our 21st century digital economy. Every past technological transformation ultimately led to more jobs, higher living standards and economic growth. But, as a number of recent studies concluded, to ensure that this will indeed be the case, our emerging knowledge economy should be accompanied by the expansion of educational opportunities for everyone. While noting that this is the most likely scenario for the next 10 - 15 years, Keep and Brown also consider two potential longer-term scenarios. Perhaps AI will lead to even more pervasive and fundamental transformations in the nature of work, making it difficult for even those with a college or higher education to find a good job. Beyond that , some have suggested that in the more distant future we might see an even more radical, science-fiction-like transformation: the end of work as we’ve long known it. The authors argue that considering such a spectrum of possibilities will help us better prepare for what’s essentially an unpredictable future. In that spirit, their paper discusses three different labor market scenarios: labor scarcity, job scarcity, and the end of work. Labor scarcity. “Supporters of this scenario expect that as in the past, new positions and professions will emerge and create new jobs to replace any eliminated by new technology. Although there may be a challenging period of transition, especially for those displaced by automation, technological innovation will require new skills and create employment opportunities.”. Investments in the skills required to meet these technology and workforce challenges are the key source of individual opportunity, social mobility, and economic welfare. This is especially important for workers without a four-year college degree who’ve disproportionately borne the brunt of automation. Post-secondary education and training venues, - e.g., community colleges, apprenticeships, online education, industry-specific training programs, - are likely to be most relevant and accessible to these workers. However, existing education and training programs won’t be enough given the demands for life-long adult learning. “What makes these arguments consistent is the idea of a race between technology and education to develop more advanced skills if people are to remain employable in tomorrow’s labor market. The fundamental challenge remains the reform of education systems to prepare the future workforce to take advantage of new opportunities emerging within a technologically advanced economy… People will need to adapt continuously and learn new skills and approaches within a variety of contexts.”. In addition, new skills will be required to keep up with the increased digitalization of the economy. The article references the Essential Digital Skills Framework , a tool developed by the UK Government that defines the skills needed to benefit from, participate in, and contribute to the digital world. The framework includes five categories of skills: communicating, collaborating and sharing online; handling information and content securely; buying, selling and managing transactions; finding solutions to problems using digital tools; and being safe and legal online. Job Scarcity. Automation fears have understandably accelerated in recent years, as our increasingly smart machines are now being applied to activities requiring intelligence and cognitive capabilities that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans. P revious technological innovation always delivered more long-run employment, but things can change. As a 2014 Economist article noted, while the majority of economists wave such worries away, some now fear that a new era of automation enabled by ever more powerful and capable computers could work out differently. “The job scarcity view recognizes that new technologies may enhance the skills of a relatively small proportion of the workforce, but the general direction of technological innovation is toward the redesign of existing jobs, where much of the knowledge content is captured in software that permits a high level of standardization and potential to deskill or automate a wide range of occupations, including technical, professional, and managerial roles.”. This scenario reminds me of Software is Eating the World , a 2011 essay by Marc Andreessen which predicted that software was poised to take over large swathes of the economy. Entrepreneurial companies all over the world are disrupting established industries with innovative AI-driven software solutions. An increasing number of businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services. “Job scarcity points to a significant mismatch between an expanding supply of educated and skilled workers and a scarcity of high-quality job opportunities, primarily resulting from the routinization and segmentation of job roles rather than technological unemployment.” A relatively small number of highly skilled, educated professionals and managers will develop the necessary algorithms, digital systems and business models, while a much larger number of less skilled workers will be needed to implement the procedures and managerial tasks which have been captured in algorithms and software. The End of Work. In a 1930 essay , English economist John Maynard Keynes wrote about the onset of “a new disease” which he named technological unemployment , that is, “unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” Keynes predicted that the standard of living in advanced economies would be so much higher by 2030 that “for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem - how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure,” and most people would be working a 15-hour week or so, which would satisfy their need to work in order to feel useful and contended. Such an end-of-work scenario assumes that decades from now, most economic activity will be handled by super-smart machines developed and supervised by small groups of highly skilled professional and technical workers. “It would represent a profound dislocation for the education and training system… where for the past three decades or more the focus has been on the role of education in equipping individuals to perform effectively in a changing labor market.” Instead, the aim of education “would be to help people gain the skills to live fulfilling lives, with the judgment and knowledge to be capable of addressing the complex problems that humanity will face.”. “All three theories acknowledge rapid technological change, even if there is disagreement about its impact on labor demand and job quality,” write the authors in conclusion. “They all acknowledge the need for digital skills and an even greater focus on social skills. These skills are seen to be more important because people will need to be flexible and adaptable within rapidly changing labor markets and work contexts. Moreover, although the technical and knowledge requirements of what people do for a living may change, the social context in which people interact, network, and produce will remain, and social skills are more difficult for smart machines to develop.” Finally, “ all three theories see a need for educational reform and a greater focus on lifelong learning.”. Artificial Intelligence Complex Systems Economic Issues Education and Talent Future of Work Management and Leadership Political Issues Services Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy

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An analysis of the value of the ways of learning at work: PART TWO

Jane Hart

In PART TWO of my analysis I take a look at each of the 12 ways of learning and compare the results of each of the different profiles (discussed in Part One) against the overall profile, and discuss some further implications for modern workplace learning.

Cynefin St David’s Day (3 of 5)

Dave Snowden

In my prior post in this series, I said I wanted to explore the idea of aporia in more depth but a week of reflection says that should be the content of the final post in this series which will now have five parts.

An Open Letter To The CEOs Of High Tech And Telecom Regarding COVID-19

Dan Pontefract

To the CEOs of companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Oracle, AT&T, Verizon, TELUS, Rogers, Bell, BT and Telstra, I have a request. Gather your c-suite. Ask … Continue reading "An Open Letter To The CEOs Of High Tech And Telecom Regarding COVID-19".

learning from the external world

Harold Jarche

What are the most valued ways of learning work? Jane Hart has been asking this question since 2010. Over 7,500 people have responded to date.

Remembering Freddy Herrick

Doc Searls

The picture of Freddy Herrick I carry everywhere is in my wallet, on the back of my membership card for a retail store. It got there after I loaned my extra card to Freddy so he could use it every once in awhile.

Issues 164

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5 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Employee Appreciation in Your Team

KCC Business Psychology

Benefits of Employee Appreciation. We all crave appreciation, even when we already know we’ve done a job well. When is the last time a coworker or boss showed appreciation for what you do? Do you remember how it made you feel? In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a study on employee motivation.

Study 61

Strategic Doing — getting to metamodernity

Harold Jarche

Strategic Doing (TM) is a process where strategy emerges through the continuous asking of four questions. What could we do? What should we do — enable us to answer, Where are we going? What will we do? What’s our 30/30?

Skills 168

3 Best Practices for Employee Training Gamification


Gamification is a hot topic in online employee training. However, despite talk of its importance, it can be easy to lose sight of what eLearning gamification is and what purpose it serves.

My reading list compilation

Clark Quinn

Several times over the past years, I’ve posted about reading lists. And, for reasons that I’m still not clear about, I decided to create a sort of ‘ultimate’ reading list compilation. Not saying it’s definitive, for several reasons. First, it’s only books.

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distributed liberating meetings

Harold Jarche

A great source of knowledge to plan and conduct meetings is Liberating Structures — consisting of 33 different meeting types for Revealing, Analyzing, Spreading, Planning, Strategizing, and Helping.

Why Learners Lose Interest in Sales Training and How to Re-engage Them


While all employee training is important, sales and customer service training is critical. This is because a company’s bottom line depends on the competence of its sales team. If sales employees can’t secure and retain new customers, close sales, upsell, and cross-sell, businesses are in trouble.

3 Best Practices for Employee Training Gamification


Gamification is a hot topic in online employee training. However, despite talk of its importance, it can be easy to lose sight of what eLearning gamification is and what purpose it serves.