Which professional investor in Australian equities wants to stand out by backing pervasive post-Facebook internet social literacy as the management innovation with the greatest power ever to drive value-growing workplace learning and transformation in the third, disruptive, fully networked, digital industrial revolution?
Credit Gerd Leonhard, Creative Commons

Which professional investor in Australian equities wants to stand out by backing pervasive post-Facebook internet social literacy as the management innovation with the greatest power ever to drive value-growing workplace learning and transformation in the third, disruptive, fully networked, digital industrial revolution?

If the headline describes you, we should talk

If you’ve come here by following a link from another web destination, say, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and this is the first you’ve seen of this site’s work, I should explain my primary aim in this post.

My goal is to point out the opportunity open to an investor both hungry, opportunistic and prudent enough to take money and reputation from those perhaps currently better known, but less deserving of either.

And I apologise, if you subsequently read on and find some of these concepts repeated elsewhere on the site, as they are its themes up to this point.

However, for those with the inclination to capitalise on it, great opportunity now exists for such an investor to claim, in pervasive internet social literacy, its recognition of an emerging, latent management resource with, arguably, unprecedented power to drive workplace transformation for power and profit.

Let me justify that claim.

Where it used to be hard, if not impossible, to capture workplace knowledge, no one now has to be trained to use private workplace social technologies in order to contribute to the intelligence of the business in which they work what they know, believe and have experienced.

Through that universal platform of capability, the power now exists for leaders and managers to gain access to unprecedented depths of hitherto unknown, unreachable and, hence, underused, but now wholly connected, networked intelligence.

This most potent new force is now a management opportunity simply waiting to be exercised in many businesses, as in parallel, we also have in an overwhelming number of them the best private social technologies ever invented for capturing, developing and disseminating knowledge across any organisation, community or network.

Thus can be enabled the potential of distributed minds working collaboratively in unison towards a greater goal, connected at digital-network speeds, learning, self-correcting and rewriting the script as they proceed.

This is now both predictable and inevitable and those best able to manage it are now the businesses we should all know about and be investing in.

What makes this all the more persuasive and powerful is that the newly enabled individual bearing this gift is now also the only kind of employee or customer that any business has.

There will be a lot to be said for, and about, an investment business that gets out ahead by using the business and mainstream media to communicate the message of how it has seen, is on top of, and is the first to be learning and investing deliberately for this change.

And that is my invitation. Step forward, contact me, let’s talk, and I will show you exactly how this capability is enabled in businesses at the individual level.

Then, if you can see the opportunity in what I am saying, we will work on making this work to the benefit of your own company and its reputation, and for each of those in which it invests.

The power of network-driven business learning

Because the encroaching third, fully networked industrial revolution is an era in which no company yet has ever traded, those that do not adapt to its new, digital ways of competing will fail.

Against this unstoppable reality, network-driven “organisational learning” is an irresistible force that will change the world.

It will do this if only because when a commercial organisation’s knowledge is not joined up, but is seen to be in others, companies will quickly leak money, opportunities, people and value for their shareholders.

This is why this mix of technology and technique is so threatening to those businesses which have no agenda, understanding or strategy for how to use it for this purpose.

Yet, the step change in human capability and potential this represents is both obvious, foreseeable and the power of networked learning at speed pretty much a given, even in businesses that haven’t yet figured out their artificial intelligence (AI) strategies.

Organisational learning as strategy

So far, through this site, I’ve been trying to draw attention to two things.

The first is the need for all businesses to adopt strategies to learn in this way, given the ability of the available tools to boost the power of, and to organise, their collective intelligence (CI) in ways never previously possible.

The second is the profound and perverse contrast in an Australian investment community that doesn’t seem yet to get this, to the degree that not one of the ASX-listed financial services organisations we’ve surveyed declares to its investors that it has a “learning strategy” of any kind.

Why a lack of declaration on investor learning matters

I have never met an investor, nor am I one myself, willing to invest in any stock whose management isn’t telling the world how either the business it manages or those in which, in turn, it invests, intends to learn and get smarter.

And if I am to entrust my money to any party in the investment community to invest it for me, that is at the top end of my expectations.

Its annual shareholder report is its self-published communication in which any company is beholden and most likely to put its best foot forward to those who will read it.

If I read one and find no such commitments, I am bound not just to be disappointed, but also never to become an investor in that business.

Yet, I have found no evidence in the most recent implicitly declared learning profiles contained in any of the top 25 Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that reports to shareholders on how they are learning deliberately to make themselves smarter.

You can find the names of these companies and a link to this research beneath at the foot of this post.

Thus, in not reporting on how either its own business, or those of its investments intends to learn to become more intellectually agile, we are witnessing how these LICs may magnify, not mitigate, risk for their shareholders.

If ever there was an opportunity for clear, public, popular marketing differentiation, here it is.

We expect our financial services organisations to lead, not lag, public expectations as to how they will look after our money by becoming ever more intelligent in doing so than we are.

We expect those same institutions to demonstrate how they themselves are future ready, and will only put money into, or lend to, businesses that are also adapting to new and emerging realities.

For such businesses, the third, fully networked industrial revolution should represent an opportunity, not the crisis they appear unwittingly to be heading towards.

Yet, in their reports to shareholders – even as their own teams, to an individual, are entirely themselves socially internet literate – they leave such a gap for a hungry competitor.

They have not seen the possibility that in a digitally connected age, both the possibility of amplifying the intelligence of the human workplace and the entire spectrum of disruptive possibility lie within the possible arc of diverse, individual, internet socially literate human workplace contribution.

Management has a new, different and better tool to play with. And if they have a learning strategy to apply it too, it will propel their business’s competitive advantage and future.

Backing collective intelligence delivers proven benefits

Over recent years, we’ve witnessed internet exercises harness and mobilise human intelligence at large scale in citizen science, with vast numbers of people scanning for new stars.

We’ve seen voluntary human “cognitive surplus” create, in Wikipedia, the world’s most trusted and used encyclopedia.

In business, products such as Google Maps employ the crowdsourced data of thousands to add value.

As an emerging field with huge potential, in any system we care about, it appears that to make the whole system intelligent, you need to combine diverse elements and perspectives.

Digital technologies may be good for observation, in enabling storage and updating a record, and in creating predictive algorithms, but they lack personal experience and perspective and human skills of judgment, wisdom, or for bringing an ethical dimension into decisions.

The combination of the human and machine is key and it may need thoughtful design to reinforce any system’s ultimate intelligence. But, it is completely within the realm of human capability to deliver that within any organisation that decides that learning deliberately to become smarter is simply in its competitive interest.

And that aside, we simply need the businesses we invest and work in locally in Australia just to get smarter, in our own collective interest.

Time to step forward

I want to begin a conversation with a professional investment body willing and interested in taking a public stand to draw to the attention of an interested media the shortcomings of its rivals.

The negligible cost of the modest package of research it may require to achieve this might even be funded willingly by someone else.

But a conversation costs nothing, so if this possible outcome is of interest, contact me now.

Graham Lauren 0416 171724 graham@thelearningeconomy.com

Footnote: The companies in our research

As the benchmark for comparison, the 25 Listed Investment Companies in our survey comprise, in alphabetical order: Absolute Equity Performance Fund Limited (AEG), Acorn Capital Investment Fund Limited (ACQ), Amcil Limited (AMH), Argo Investments (ARG), Arowana Contrarian Value Fund Limited (AWQ), Australian Foundation Investment Company Limited (AFI), Australian United investment Company (AUI), Bailador Technology Investments Limited (BTI), BKI Investment Limited (BKI), Cadence Capital Limited (CDM), Carlton Investments Limited (CIN), Clime Capital Limited (CAM), Concentrated Leaders Fund Limited (CLF), Diversified United Investment Limited (DUI), Djerriwarrh Investments Limited (DJW), Future Generation Investment Fund Limited (FGX), Milton Corporation Limited (MLT), Mirrabooka Investments Limited (MIR), NAOS Small Cap Opportunities Company Limited (NSC), Ophir High Conviction Fund (OPH), Perpetual Equity Investment Company Limited (PIC), Plato Income Maximiser Limited (PL8), WAM Capital Limited (WAM), WAM Leaders Limited (WLE), Whitefield Limited (WHF)

Find our research at: On the basis of its understanding of the Learning Economy, which of these top 25 Australian Listed Investment Companies would you give money to invest for you?


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