Collaborative Revolution

"...Tremendous movement towards collaboration, driven by social media type technology...... and the preference of young people to work across a number of disciplines and jobs rather than become deep experts in any field..."

Kevin Wheeler as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2011

Linked with this is

crowd sourcing, ie a network is created when organisations pay a fee to post problems to find solutions. For example, Eli Lilly uses retired scientists, obsessive hobbyists, university students and others to try to solve their problems in return for cash rewards

slash workers, ie people simultaneously working on more than one career, eg lawyers playing in a band at night, graphic artists running a nightclub, accountants having their own craft business, etc

Based on this, it is expected that the people who will succeed have the following characteristics

"...- Can interpret complex and disparate information

- are willing to experiment with risky solutions

- can figure out things, even without expert knowledge

- are connected and live with inner dependencies

- are aware of global trends

- collaborate with a broad range of others..."

Kevin Wheeler as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2011c

An interesting example of a trend is the "citizens disaggregation" movement, ie consumers turning their backs on mass production. Some examples include
- citizen journalist blogging on current affairs, etc

- citizen scientists contributing to global science projects

- citizen manufacturing using 3-D printers to produce everything from spare parts to prosthetic limbs

- contamination scares of packaged, imported frozen foods is making people more food safety conscious and concerned about the world of mass produced food of uncertain origin. This is increasing the appeal of farmers' markets and community gardens.

The approach to work has changed as shown by the following table





Total (K)







Work for one organisation for all working life

Recent Past





Working less and retiring early

Now & Future





Working longer hours, more weeks & frequently changing jobs

The traditional pattern is like a marathon while the now and future is like a sprint that has little room for error.

Summary of the challenges facing organisations:

A natural agenda of issues is shaping the future, especially for corporations with global scope

Social divide: the ever-widening gap between those participating in the increasingly interdependent global economy and those not. For how much longer can 15% of the people get 85% of the benefits of globalisation?

Redefining growth: economic growth based on ever-increasing material use and discard is inconsistent with a finite world. How long can we keep piling up more junk in the same box?

Variety and inclusiveness: developing inclusiveness as a core competence in increasingly multi-cultural organisations. Who is the "we"

Attracting talented people and realising their potential: developing commitment in a world of free agents and volunteer talents. What are we committed to, really?

The role of the corporation: extending the traditional role of the corporation, especially the global corporation, to be more commensurate with its impact. Just how accountable will society expect us to be?

"...The system seeing itself: the challenges of coordination and coherence in social systems. How can we stop going faster while our ability to see further ahead is decreasing?..."

"Marblehead Letter" (2001) as quoted by Peter Senge et al, 2005

- an example of societies' priorities (colonising Mars)

"...the Martian......The movie cost $100 million. The Indians send a probe to Mars for $70 million. The irony is a Bollywood movie about going to Mars cost more than actually going to Mars..."
Michio Kubu as quoted by Theo Chapman 2019


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