How divergence in labor productivity is shaping the future of work

My recently launched Future of Work framework provides a highly summarized overview of the future of work. Over coming months I will delve into specific aspects of the framework.

One of the most important issues is divergence in labor productivity, mentioned as the fourth point under Labor Productivity in the Economic Structure section.

Across industries as well as countries, the productivity of labor is diverging dramatically, creating job opportunities in some sectors and constraining them in others. There are many broader issues in shifts in labor productivity that I’ll come back to another time. For now, it’s worth looking at these two charts.

Source: Andrew McAfee
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The 5 elements that enable expertise networks to flourish

Last week I gave a keynote at an internal conference of a large technology services firm that has recently acquired another firm. The conference brought together senior executives and managers from the two organizations so they could get to know each other and plan how they would work together with existing and new clients.

A significant part of my role was to provide a highly upbeat, optimistic, engaging perspective on the future of business. However I also wanted to address the specific issues they would be encountering in combining their capabilities.

Many years ago when I was working with a large law firm to help them develop their client relationship and cross-selling capabilities, I created a simple framework, shown below.

The fundamental issue for any significant professional firm is to match the best possible capabilities in the organization with the relevant opportunities for value creation at their clients.

This begins at the interface with the client. Whoever has any interaction with the client, including the relationship leader and relationship team, has responsibility to identify and bring to the client the most relevant capabilities of the firm. However there are 5 key steps that are required for that to happen.

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The future of fast food: faster, more convenient, healthier, more luxurious

On Friday I was interviewed on the current affairs program Today Tonight about the future of fast food. Click on the image to see a video of the segment.

Perhaps the dominant trend in society today is increased expectations. Those expectations apply across all domains, but absolutely in the immediacy of our everyday lives.

As people feel – and increasingly are – time-poor, speed and convenience dominate. Not surprisingly, customers are expecting fast food to become even faster.
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Value polarization and transcending job commoditization: Expertise, Relationships, Innovation

Yesterday I released a first version of my Future of Work framework.

I think that a detailed explanation of the outline framework would be a very useful complement to the visual landscape, and I aim to provide that over coming months in a series of blog posts, videos, and other content.

Click on the image to download the full framework.

Today, I thought I would look at the ‘Value Polarization‘ section under Economic Structure.
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If you’re in Sydney and totally awesome, we want to give you $250!

We have recently been advertising for a Genius projects/ marketing/ web/ publishing assistant/ manager – part-time in Sydney.

As we describe in our working principles document, the process starts with an interview and tests, after which we offer the most interesting candidates a one-day trial, in most cases offering to pay $250. For those we hire after the trial work, the most common pay structure is hourly rate plus profit share.

So let’s reframe this. If you think you could add value to what we’re doing, and have a day of your time spare, we’d love to pay you $250 for helping us with some project ideas we have.
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Launching new framework: The Future of Work

I have been working with one of the world’s largest private companies, which is engaged in a strategy project looking at the future out to 2025. Today a key workshop for the project was run, where we refined the project process and I provided some perspectives on the future of work as input to the study.

While the future of work and organizations is one of my most important themes, I haven’t had any public summary documents on the topic. For today’s workshop and also as a first step in building out some richer frameworks, I created an overview framework on the future of work.

The framework probably needs some explanation, and I intend to both refine and provide more detailed explanations of the framework in the near future. In the meantime, here is our Beta v1 of The Future of Work framework.

Click on the image to download the full framework.

I’d love to hear any thoughts or input you have.

The enormous opportunity for writers and readers in an ebook world

Last Friday I was interviewed on ABC’s News Exchange program about ebooks and their impact.

Click on the image to view the video of the program. The ebook segment is around 13:30 – 17:15.

We covered a lot of territory in the interview, ranging across topics including why ebooks are rising so rapidly to the impact on booksellers and libraries.
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Global distributed organizations can attract the most talented in the world

Forbes has a nice story about the history of WordPress and the role the open-source software plays in the for-profit business Automattic. The article at one point says:

Automattic has an idiosyncratic workplace. As a legacy of its open-source roots its 120 employees are spread across 26 countries and six continents. Although most work alone at home, each team–usually made up of five or six people–has a generous budget to travel. “All of the money we save on office space, we blow on travel costs,” Mullenweg laughs. Groups have gathered in Hawaii, Mexico and New Zealand. Once a year everyone meets for a week at an accessible destination with a solid Internet connection. A distributed workforce means Automattic can hire talent from around the world–without having to offer the perks and pay of Google, Facebook and Apple.

This brought a response from Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg:
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Creating a Return on Investment (ROI) calculation for Enterprise 2.0 and internal social media

A major challenge for organizations that are considering internal social media initiatives is that a business case including a financial justification is frequently required.

To be frank, I think ROI calculations for social initiatives are in most cases a waste of time, because so many of the benefits and costs are unknowable before the initiative. A leap of faith is required, after which calculations using real data can be done to help refine strategies.

However if the organization requires a financial case, then those seeing the opportunity need to do what they can to create the case.

Chapter 16 of my report Implementing Enterprise 2.0 is on Building a Business Case. One of the resources I provide in the chapter is a table to help make ROI calculations. All that is required is to put numbers against each of the value and cost items in the table below, where appropriate using a back-of-the-envelope calculation to support them. Not all of the items will be relevant, and you may find other items that are applicable, but it provides a good starting point to generating numbers that can be used in an ROI.
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Entrepreneurial migration: It’s not brain drain, it’s global network formation

I was recently interviewed by ABC TV for a segment on Australian entrepreneurs moving overseas. My key message was that we absolutely shouldn’t see this as “brain drain”, but the formation of rich networks that are enormous enablers for the economy and entrepreneurial opportunities in the future. The same messages apply to any country, but Australia represents a great case study.

There has been massive attention in the Australian media lately about entrepreneurs who have moved to Silicon Valley. Among other programs, ABC’s Foreign Correspondent did a one-hour feature called The Revenge of the Nerds featuring the Aussie startup scene in the US, the Sydney Morning Herald has a video series on Digital Dreamers, and a long series of articles with titles like Brain drain: why young entrepreneurs leave home.

Even Bloomberg has weighed in with a segment titled Oz Tech Entrepreneurs Set-Up Shop in Silicon Valley, shown below.

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