The most successful adaptations of technology during the dotcom and social media eras were accomplished by enterprises that realized plopping new devices or systems into their midst would not have the desired impact unless they reorganized to reflect and capture the benefits of the technology in question.
One of the challenges to making this transference effective was that said benefits were not always immediately evident. The pace of the learning organization had to be accelerated. The time for contemplation, review and reflection had been dramatically shortened by the introduction of processes which sped up the ability to make decisions, however incomplete the data on which they were based may have been.
We have now, as the following article explains, embraced and internalized those gains. But bigger data sets and more effective ways of capturing what they offer have dramatically increased the pace of learning and acting. Again. The danger for many institutions is that they are resistant to making the changes necessary to incorporate the advantages this new information provides, hindering its transformation into knowledge and then, for the lucky few, wisdom.
The despair reflected in the notion that 'the Luddites were right,' is overblown. Which is not to gainsay the pain of the generation(s) who may bear the brunt of the adaption cycle via underemployment and reduction in living standards while society figures out how to make it all work. There is an important place for people in this process, but only if roles and responsibilities are carefully thought through and then implemented. Machines work best at the enterprise's behest if they are properly programmed, if the data they produce is intelligently interpreted and if the resultant knowledge is then effectively communicated to everyone in the value chain, from suppliers through employees, investors and then customers. People are required to make that happen.
These changes require transformation, which is neither easy, conflict-free or cheap. Tasks, organizational designs, physical, mental and emotional space must be re-evaluated. This is, in the truest sense of the word, disruptive. It is not a phrase on an inspirational powerpoint, but a reality with which real people will have to live and, in some cases, suffer or enjoy. The lesson is that learning, like the power of technology, must accelerate for organizations and their people to optimally benefit from the changes this portends. JL
Greg Satell comments in Digital Tonto:
We are entering a new industrial revolution and machines are starting to take over cognitive tasks as well. Therefore, much like in the first industrial revolution, the role of humans is again being rapidly redefined. Organizations will have to change the way that they learn and managers’ primary task will be to design the curricula.