20 Aug Who Can We Learn From? Everyone
“No matter how many smart people, remember there are a lot more outside than inside”
Bill Joy, Cofounder, Sun Microsystems
It was great to hear Deloitte’s Center for the Edge Co-chair John Hagel talk about how we must systematically reach out and connect with third parties outside the company, building relationships – so everyone can learn faster together. This is a very different mindset regarding the ways and means of building relationships.
He predicts that in the future, a new ecosystem of networks will replace our current notions of jobs and employers. When many jobs are viewed as soul destroying, only those institutions which deliberately set out to have every participant deeply passionate about work they are doing have the innovative and creative energy to be learning organizations. Hagel implies that we know the current system is not going to work out when around the world only 12% of workers have passion around the work they are doing.
Organizations focused on being efficient is creating a self-inflicted death trap for the people within. When the organization focuses on making people be accountable for highly specified activities, we already know that computers will do that much more efficiently than fallible human beings. Continuing to reduce costs by replacing people with automation will reach its limits and then the organization will no longer be able to compete. Computers lack the imagination to re-define and innovate when they are programmed to do highly specific tasks.
A learning network as an alternative approach to the corporation or organization offers us the opportunity to re-define work to harness up-to-now seldom rewarded human skills like imagination, creativity, social and emotional intelligence. We can augment these human intelligences and amplify that capability with Artificial Intelligence and Machines. This would require a different kind of leader who appreciates those creative contributors who tap our potential and unique individuality – a vastly different framing of what work really is.
Hagel sees the emergence of a new ecosystem with powerful network effects and the potential to grow exponentially – but this can’t be done in small groups – we must come together in large groups. For this to transpire, new types of skills are going to be needed.
I was part of the US Department of Defense project to look at the Future of Health. Over a four years period, we looked at what it would take to get to a healthy society able to achieve healthy outcomes at much lower costs than the current unsustainable level of 18% of US GDP. It came down to leadership skills that could take advantage of our networking and connected capabilities, which traditional leadership academies did not address. See diagram.
The networked leaders who make the most of these new tools can lead the transition to the learning networks of the future. California Safari is intended to offer the opportunity for teens to develop these skills which will accelerate their learning from everyone for the rest of their lives.