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.

As I have pointed out for many years, one of the major implications and risks of a hyper-connected world is the polarization of value, in which the gap between the haves and have-nots increases over time.

The forces of Commoditization are inexorable, and the rise of work marketplaces are driving down the price of many kinds of work.

As I often say, in a connected world, unless your skills are world-class, you are a commodity.

However there are three domains in which individuals and organizations can transcend commoditization and push their value creation to the other end of the spectrum, where they can command their price and choose their work.

The three domains are:

EXPERTISE. As more information is available, deep specialist world-class expertise that can be applied to create value for clients is the heart of much global value creation. That expertise must be broad-based, up-to-the-minute, and directly relevant to real-world issues.

RELATIONSHIPS. Expertise in isolation is not useful. The rich sets of relationships that form networks are at the heart of value creation. Those who can connect expertise and facilitate the co-creation of value in relationships will be at the heart of the economy.

INNOVATION. Innovation stems from connecting expertise, ideas, insights, and experience. Those who have original perspectives or can elicit new frames by bringing together diversity can capture and share extraordinary pools of value.

The future is stark. There will be a large and increasing divide between those who have one or more of these core strengths, and those who do not and whose livelihoods are on an ongoing path of commoditization.