Learning Economy newsletter 02, July 15, 2019

To what ends should we direct our now wholly connected intelligence and collective internet social literacy?

Like any publishing endeavour in its early stages, this project is, naturally, attempting to find its voice, form and, huh, audience. However, above all, the question it aims to pose and promote is, Facebook entries aside, to what other, better outcomes can we direct our now wholly connected intelligence and collective internet social literacy?

I have an ambition that this newsletter should reach as many like minds as possible, and in seeking answers to this question, I aim to populate future editions with exclusive interviews with the brightest emerging minds with answers to this enquiry.

I aim to complement this with a range of unique insights from prominent society and business thought leaders on the growth and possible applications of internet social literacy.

And I will couple the above with a selection of valuable and related writings about where the internet and our growing abilities with its technologies are taking our society next, sourced through research conducted daily from across the web.

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I especially want to reach out to Australian shareholders

A change in human behaviour as fundamental to our progress as the shift to a socially connected online world is as profound, and possibly even more consequential, as was the uptake of the telephone.

Because it therefore has an effect on the ways in which we trade and on how we both market and buy goods and services, the ability with which businesses organise what they know and can learn therefore also has an effect on which companies are deemed investment worthy, and for those we’d trust with our investment dollars.

My experience to date is, strangely, that the mainstream investment media is not ready or curious enough to give time to this thinking about the effects of internet social literacy on shareholder value. (Admittedly, we are still in very early days, however.) So if anyone has suggestions as to the best way to reach the widest base of those with investments through, say, their superannuation, to persuade them of the merits of investing only in smarter, faster learning businesses, I’d be appreciative of any pointers.

Australia first

Because we are beginning here, I’d like to play my part in making the Australian economy the most productively internet literate in its region and on the planet.

And as, in the beginning, the audience for this newsletter is likely also to be predominantly Australian, I’d like to find introductions or ways of getting at this stage the thoughts of some of its more influential citizens and business representatives.

So, if you know, or can connect me with some of the following to open the door to a conversation, I’d be most appreciative.

First, I’d like to talk with Harvey Jones, workplace collaboration lead at Atlassian, who in this piece said, “Our mission is to unleash the potential of every team, and we do this by making products that help teams to function more effectively… We enable them to communicate, share, and find information to track projects and activities.”

I believe harnessing some of the attention and energy of internet social literacy can help Atlassian achieve that goal, and if someone can make that introduction for me to Harvey, or even better to Atlassian leaders Mike Cannon Brookes or Scott Farquhar, I’d welcome the opportunity of helping them sell its Confluence workplace wiki into more organisations across Australia, and the world.

Although he isn’t strictly speaking an Australian, but he and his Virgin brand have a prominent reputation and presence here, and the spirit of his piece I have linked to beneath, encouraging people to “embrace the side hustle” is definitely in keeping with the startup spirit of the age. Moreover, as I think he could make a really valuable contribution to its connected thinking, can anyone help me get to Richard Branson to interview him for his views on how he might use internet social literacy? Again, any connections or introductions will be gratefully received and acknowledged if you can help me achieve this.

To catch their views of the potential of this emerging phenomenon, I’d really like to be able to interview both Steve Vamos, chief executive of Xero (and former boss of Microsoft Australia), and Daniel Petrie, another former leader of Microsoft here.

From the realm of Australian politics, I’d like to seek the views of recent former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his subsequent independent replacement in the eastern Sydney electorate of Wentworth, Dr Kerryn Phelps.

Among local Australian city leaders, I’d also like to talk with Clover Moore, mayor of Sydney, which is where I live. She has long set her stall out on making the city sustainable, something which can’t happen without drawing on and creating new knowledge.

From the Australian media, I’d like to talk with Ita Buttrose, newly appointed chair of the ABC (that’s the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, for overseas readers), and therefore someone likely to be able to bring much to this discussion. Within the ABC itself, I can add to my wish list of interviewees the host of its RN (Radio National) show Late Night Live, Phillip Adams, and Geraldine Doogue, presenter of its weekend broadcast, Saturday Extra.

In anticipation, thank you for your assistance in getting to talk to these people.

General

As a general and possibly recurring note, I intend that this newsletter will most likely comprise from six to 10 links as I find items I consider interesting enough to pass on, and its themes will be much as you see beneath. If you know others likely to be interested, please pass this on to them.

And, if you are able to suggest additional links, content or sources you find interesting and believe will fit both your own and other readers’ purposes, please let me know at graham@thelearningeconomy.com.

In anticipation, thank you, I always love to be better informed, and thanks for reading. And in this instance, please forgive my indulgence in linking to one of my own posts first, but I do so in the belief that it points to one argument for organising knowledge in a familiar and structured way that most businesses can adopt as a usable platform.

That aside, I hope you enjoy the content I have linked to beneath.

Graham Lauren

News links

How capturing internet social literacy, the raw energy of the most naturally abundant, connected, powerful and transformative management force for change the post-Facebook world has yet seen, to grow the Wikipedia of what your business knows and can learn, will make you twice as much money, more agile and better prepared for the certain disruptions of a fully networked, digital industrial revolution

Graham Lauren, The Learning Economy

In its own page, The essence of Wikipedia, Wikipedia explains that it is based on the idea that, “No one knows everything, but everyone knows something.” Emulating this principle within your own organisation to extend what it knows beyond which anyone within it can imagine is an entirely reasonable and achievable proposition. This post outlines how this may be done to increase the effectiveness with which your business competes, using the knowledge it both already has, and can build and attract.

Embrace the side hustle

Richard Branson, Virgin

Richard Branson: “Not being able to quit your job shouldn’t mean you have to quit your dream – instead, it should complement it. Some of the world’s most successful companies began as side projects, with their founders working evenings or weekends to turn their ideas into realities. Virgin is a prime example of this – all of our Virgin businesses started while we were working on something else.”

Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It

John Hagel and John Seely Brown, Harvard Business Review

Without diminishing the value of knowledge sharing, we would suggest that the most valuable form of learning today is actually creating new knowledge. Organizations are increasingly being confronted with new and unexpected situations that go beyond the textbooks and operating manuals and require leaders to improvise on the spot, coming up with new approaches that haven’t been tried before.

Why Every Company Needs a Chief Experience Officer

Denise Lee Yohn, Harvard Business Review

A good customer experience (CX) influences brand perceptions, affects business performance and makes a person five times more likely to recommend a company and more likely to purchase in the future. But the employee experience (EX) also significantly influences business performance, with those high in employee engagement outperforming others, experiencing lower employee turnover and developing more successful innovations.

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

Donella Meadows, The Donella Meadows Project

This celebrated piece may be one of the clearest and well known articulations of systems thinking. In it, the now-deceased Meadows discusses why delays in feedback loops are critical determinants of system behaviour, and a reason why a massive central-planning system, such as the Soviet Union or General Motors, necessarily functions poorly.

Here’s What Most People Get Wrong About Minimum Viable Products

Greg Satell, Digital Tonto

What is often missed is that a minimum viable product isn’t merely a stripped down version of a prototype. It is a method to test assumptions and that’s something very different. A single product often has multiple MVPs, because any product development effort is based on multiple assumptions.

Five moves to make during a digital transformation

Jonathan Deakin, Laura LaBerge and Barbara O’Beirne, McKinsey Digital

When considering a response to digital disruptions, organizations face many critical choices. Should they transform their existing business model or build a new one? Should they drive down costs or focus on customer engagement? Which areas of the business will require more investment in digital initiatives, and which will need to defund their own initiatives to free up resources for the ones that perform well or reflect higher-priority objectives?

5 Signs of Killer Business Strategy

Jasmine Bina, Medium.com

Visionary founders have a hypothesis about where the world will be in 5, 10 or 20 years and place their bets on that vision. You can solve a problem that exists today, but that doesn’t take into account the fact that your target audience is dynamic and always changing. Our cultures and beliefs are evolving with increasing momentum, and great businesses are built around a forward-looking point of view. That means inherent risks are involved. Placing bets on the future should feel risky. WeWork has made huge bets on the future of how we define our work lives, where in the world we will be working, how we much we will be willing to pay to work the way we want, and how fragmented the workforce will become as the gig economy continues to replace corporate careers. They’ve even expanded that hypothesis to WeLive. Ask yourself if your brand strategy dares to look into the future, and if what you see there is informing your approach today.

The new division of labor: On our evolving relationship with technology

Peter Evans-Greenwood, Robert Hillard and Alan Marshall, Deloitte Insights

Putting technology to effective use isn’t only about recognizing the superiority of a new tool, or even just about learning how to use it. It’s also a matter of emotional acceptance and social validation—factors that are at least as important as the intellectual understanding that the new technology is “better.” This is true for much more than word processors. From shipping containers3 to smartphones,4 both work habits and social norms had to change before the core technology could have a transformative impact.

3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking

Helen Lee Bouygues, Harvard Business Review

A lack of metacognition — or thinking about thinking — can make people overconfident.

Advanced social technologies and the future of collaboration

McKinsey Global Institute, McKinsey & Company

Tools should follow—not lead—new ways of working. Most companies have begun adopting digital tools, including social technologies, or even transforming their businesses with digitization in mind. But a mistake that many make is choosing the tool first and then expecting change will follow.

Open-Source Spying

Clive Thompson, New York Times

The Internet flourished under the credo that information wants to be free; the agencies, however, had created their online networks specifically to keep secrets safe, locked away so only a few could see them. This control over the flow of information, as the 9/11 Commission noted in its final report, was a crucial reason American intelligence agencies failed to prevent those attacks. All the clues were there — Al Qaeda associates studying aviation in Arizona, the flight student Zacarias Moussaoui arrested in Minnesota, surveillance of a Qaeda plotting session in Malaysia — but none of the agents knew about the existence of the other evidence. The report concluded that the agencies failed to “connect the dots.”

Shaping technology to be a social benefit to all

Paul Barclay, ABC Radio National, Big Ideas

Apologies, this is a link to download an Australian radio broadcast of a show called Big Ideas. In it, Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of the United Kingdom’s National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), talks of amplifying human intelligence by combining AI, and CI, or collective intelligence, the latter being an expression I’d never previously heard described as if formalised by its acronym.

Thanks to these writers: Richard Branson;  John Hagel and John Seely Brown; Denise Lee Yohn;  Donella Meadows; Greg Satell; Jonathan Deakin, Laura LaBerge and Barbara O’Beirne;  Jasmine Bina; Peter Evans-Greenwood, Robert Hillard and Alan Marshall; Helen Lee Bouygues;  McKinsey Global Institute; Clive Thompson; Paul Barclay.

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