The Future of Work/ Automation debate rumbles on. UBI seems to be back in the news, and even luminaries such as Bill Gates are positing there has to be some fiscal redistribution. CSIRO’s Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner presents the counter-argument. Well, actually, I’m not sure the article does that but Turner sees the displacement of jobs as inevitable, sector by sector and doesn’t agree with the idea of a robot tax, rather that society focus on re-skilling people out of disrupted industries into newly created jobs.
If you’d asked farmers a few hundred years ago what skills their kids would need to thrive, it wouldn’t have taken long to answer. They’d need to know how to milk a cow or plant a field. General skills for a single profession that only changed slowly—and this is how it was for most humans through history.
But in the last few centuries? Not so much.
Finland recently shifted its national curriculum to a new model called the “phenomenon-based” approach. By 2020, the country will replace traditional classroom subjects with a topical approach highlighting the four Cs—communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.
These four skills “are central to working in teams, and a reflection of the ‘hyperconnected’ world we live in today,” Singularity Hub editor-in-chief David Hill recently wrote.
Knowing doing gap. A decision by itself means nothing
Turning knowledge into action
Avoiding the smart‐talk trap
- Smart talk happens now, smart action happens later
- Some organisations and bosses make things worse by rewarding smart talk rather than smart action
Don Peterson, ex CEO of Ford, credited with keeping the company alive in the 80s, ‘Ford was so desperate to save the company, that even though I’m a boring guy, they put somebody in charge who actually knew about cars’
Put people in management positions who understand the work (they’re less likely to engage in rhetoric and get to the nitty gritty)
No whining! Stop the complaints, Step up the action
Recreational whining vs. bitter deep complaining
Simple language and repetition: “I keep it Sesame Street Simple.” A.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble (especially for instructions). Say the thing simply, over and over, till it gets done
Simple strategies are easier to implement Apple products, circa July 1997: “We couldn’t even tell our friends which ones to buy” Steve Jobs
Perry Klebahn: Keep momentum, keep focus, get good ideas out. Use resources well. Focus and flair. Be clear about process (the ideas don’t necessarily go away. Respect the work and keep the ideas for later (Teddy Ruskin left on the shelf until Toy Story 3))
Mauria Finlay: It’s brutal. Getting things done in large organisations is brutally hard. Just keep doing it. You have to believe enough to make it happen
Start-ups are about deciding on what to actually expend effort on. It seems like people can’t have more than two priorities at a time
Three final lessons
The Best Single Diagnostic Question. What happens when people fail?
- There is no innovation or learning without failure.
- Do you forgive and remember?
- Failure sucks but instructs! (Trying is the first step to failure (Homer Simpson))
Innovation means SELLING, not just inventing, ideas, experiences, and things
- Why Robert Fulton gets credit for “inventing” the steamboat
- Thomas Edison’s greatest talent
What effects do you have on the people around you? After they interact with you, do they have more or less energy?
Bob Sutton: Simplified: Innovation = Creativity + Implementation
Diego Rodriguez (IDEO) (to clients): What is your space for failing? (also, what are the acceptable forms of failure in your organisation?) Note. Rodriguez now prefers ‘accelerated learning’ to failing (or ‘rapid learning’ rather than ‘rapid failing’).
Avoid a single ‘prototyping/ innovation room’ and encourage others think anywhere, anytime and hold ‘generative’ meetings when necessary (i.e. meetings that actually generate innovation, and are linked to learning).
Try to reduce the friction between a desire to go build something better, and all the excuses, questions, authorities and other organisational constraints, to make it happen
Steve Jobs: Its easy to kill lousy ideas. To be a great company, you need to kill most of the good ideas too (Sutton contrasts this with the cluttered approach of Yahoo)
Need to look at problems in a different way – e.g. the kid can’t reach the vending machine coin-slot (keep in mind re disability/ design), getting submariners to exhale while surfacing vs. equipment, NCR printing of both sides of a receipt for Walmart.
Perry Klebahn: Knowing (and communicating) when you’re doing BAU vs. Innovation, e.g. a calendar that shows an item of creative work, who’s doing it, how it sits with BAU, what the expected results are
Perry Klebahn (2):Skunk works tend to fail, as ‘not invented here’ or you can be unraveling BAU on a daily basis. You need people to feel part of it (demo progress, milestones, etc. ‘What’s in development’ news). The best approach seems to be a sort ongoing negotiation between BAU and innovation
Diego Rodriguez: Mind of the child technique, to balance ‘wisdom’ in design (‘curious, unafraid, living in the moment’ vs. ‘asking great questions’)
Diego Rodriguez: His 21st principle (in draft) Just Do It/ Enjoy the Road (I think he is thinking on actualised version of ‘Knowledge is the capacity to act’ (Sveiby)
Mauria Finlay (Netscape>AOL>Good>eBay>PayPal>Citrus Lane
Mauria Finlay: Careful not to mess too much with those (BAU) processes that are deeply embedded with the user (e.g. entering credit card details) but innovate the less explored or established aspects (e.g. browsing, selecting content).
With packing, it’s better to have a postmortem and redesign the process than than to attempt to reform the process on the fly
Try to establish a baseline and track your innovations from that point
Watch out for intense cognitive load. Have you made the process too hard to follow?
Steve Jobs: I like living at the intersection of the humanities and technology
Diego Rodriguez: Yes, live on the intersection. Great designers are great readers. Great design is about pattern recognition, based on rich life experiences
Mix up your influences, follow people who’re a little different on Twitter, read Monocle magazine for its different perspectives
Diego Rodriguez: If you’re not failing you’re not tying hard enough. What if I fail every day? Micro failures to drive macro success
Frans Johansen – The Medici Effect (Harvard). How Renaissance painters, sculptors, poets, philanthropists, scientists, philosophers, financiers, and architects, shaped an era of innovation… contributions of disruptive innovation from people without having industry experience in that industry, such as Darwin (a geologist) collecting bird species while giving poor notes to John Gould, who ultimately provided the ornithology knowledge.
Back on 18 November, Frances Di Lauro organised a talk at The Writing Hub, by 2 US academics (David Bolton, professor of educational research, statistics, and measurement at West Chester University and Maria Northcote, Director of the Centre for Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at Avondale College)). A large part of the workshop covered the idea of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). You can see the whole paper at http://2016conference.ascilite.org/wp-content/uploads/ascilite2016_bolton_full.pdf
The image below is less the PLE environment discussed at the November seminar, more something that I thought would be useful way of interpreting it (and of course, someone already had – PLEs)