A rather late reflection on Jay Cross's opening keynote at LT2008.
Jay started by expressing the view that the major challenges facing managers today were due to the transition from an industrial model to a more biological/organic one. He gave a potted history of the evolution of networks from isolated nodes with little or no communication between them, through kingdoms where knowledge is accumulated and imbues power, to an interconnected democracy. In this knowledge democracy, the boundaries between work, learning and leisure become blurred and there is no longer a traditional “clocking off” at a specific time of day. It becomes increasingly difficult to make predictions, as a wider circle of contributors have the power to influence outcomes and changes impact the whole community. Intangibles and services have an increased share of market value.He challenged us as to our readiness for this model. Whereas in the old model it was “the world as a machine”, whereas the new model is “the world as a biosphere” in which there is no “head tree”.He explored the concept of natural learning, as observed in small children who naturally seek to master their environment. Natural learning, as he saw it, consisted of
- comprehension, borne out of observation, experimentation and mimicry (the last of which he considered undervalued in the corporate environment)
- collaboration (team accomplishments and peer learning)