Bla bla bla…Knowledge Economy

Stumbled into this one today when searching for innovation unit’s at big companies. I reckon most would be disappointed. Just try the Google search “insert big company name Innovation Unit” and view the disappointment for yourself. Is there someone out there actually IN an innovation unit, can you please say hi – I’d love to hear what sort of stuff your up to. I just wish you’d publish more of it 🙂

Anyways, enough of the rant…on to the Knowledge Economy. 

The Knowledge Frontier, a document produced by the Westpac Innovation Unit, the Society for Knowledge Economics, was released in June of this year. Have a read of it here

I like the premise, and the fact that they wrote it to stimulate discussions about the future of the creative class and talent in general. I thought I contribute my two cents worth on some of the issues the paper raised.

1) Investing in Talented Individuals: This is an interesting one. In the paper, they suggest that soon there will be ‘venture capital/ASX’ style investing in talented individuals likley to assume positions of leadership and value within society. These people will gain investment, to be used for education (?) and then repay their investors with a proportion of their earnings. Sounds a little too much like human trafficking if you ask me – I’m not sure how those high-potential people will go knowing that a percentage of their wage would go to an ‘investor’ for a period…Then again, what else is HECS?

 John and Peter, my Series A investors

2) Mum, mum look at me: Should we start paying for attention rather than time? Or, more to the point, paying an employee/contractor for the amount and type of stuff they focus on, rather than dependant on their role. I know personally, I’ve had a few jobs now, all in similar roles but the stuff I actually did in those roles varied quite a bit. I’m not sure how you pay for attention – but I think a movement closer to a Brand me world, where people charge by contract, and earn their salt dependant on the skills they bring, is a move in the right direction.

3) Facebook killed email: Not yet…but sooner rather than later we will move away from email systems for internal comms. I know I hardly check it anymore – most emails are internal anyways and many people are currently using Facebook to interact around the office rather than their trusty outlook/lotus notes. I think some middle ground will be the best solution – and knowing larger companies, they will pay someone else to provide a tailored solution rather than bolt on to an existing ‘retail’ solution such as facebook. I’m thinking the corporate internal communications tool looks like Salesforce + Facebook.

                             salesforce.jpg + facebook.jpg = New Internal Communications

4) IP, therefor, I am: Yes, IP is huge. We need to drastically rethink the way we protect out intellectual output, or suffer being ripped off by larger players with deeper pockets. For small, more mobile, more ‘atomised’ workers there is no larger issue. If you can do something cool, you need to feel safe about discussing it in blogs, forums and – yes – facebook. This kind of protection is really only afforded to you if what you do is a) extremely general but YOU do it better due to personality/natural intuition or…more likely b) the competitive advantage you have over others is more tangible – such as an education/degree/PhD in the field you specialise in or a more specific/re-usable method which you may have perfected.

Interesting times. I noted the report only covers till 2015, which is a pretty short time-frame given some of the possibilities raised here. Things look like moving fast, whatever the direction. What are your thoughts?

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