Much has been made recently about one of the stand out trends of the times we live in: Everything is becoming infused with technology. Software is eating the world it is said. Some have claimed that next it might even eat the jobs, which to some degree is almost certainly the case. With only a little bit of irony, Hugh MacLeod humorously noted this week that software may eventually eat all the people. But even that could be a bit closer to the truth than some of us might expect.
But the point is this: In the last half-decade alone, most of us would admit the societal and cultural shifts that technology and global digital networks have wrought is nothing short of astounding:
Social media is relentlessly chipping away at the power and control that companies and governments have long enjoyed almost exclusively over the rest of the world. Supply chains, talent management (hiring), customer service, product development, and just about every function of business is being transformed by things like 3D printing, social recruiting, customer care communities, crowdsourcing, to only name a few of the more important examples. That’s not even looking at the macro changes (example: Arab Spring), in which digital/social is impacting the fabric of entire nations. In all of these cases, the power and control is shifting to the other side of the network, to what many now call the ‘edge’, where most of us are.
Unfortunately, there remains a constituency that remains stubbornly in the back of the pack when it comes to the large scale changes happening in the world today. Surprisingly, this constituency formerly used to actually lead the technology world. Instead, it is now dragged along by consumer technology companies and their customers. Yes, I am referring to our corporations, to which I’ll add our institutions, including our governments and associated entities.
The growing power, secrecy and opaque decision-making processes of corporations are often cited as a major threat to free, democratic societies. But what if those decisions were laid out for all to see? What if the public could influence a company’s business decisions directly, in a democratic process: what to produce, who to source from and sell to, how to market and what to do with the profits? And what if people could directly benefit from their participation in decsion making?
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Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex -- and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity." (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)
The rules for the new economy haven't been written yet. Well, they have...it's just that they were written 50+ years ago when the 9-to-5, 30-years-and-a-gold-watch career path was the rule, not the exception. They haven't kept up with the changing economy or the new workforce. The laws and regulations laws that guide the economy have to adapt to the way people are working and building their lives. That's where Janelle Orsi comes in. Janelle is the innovative founder of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, an organization that "charts the changing legal territory of the new economy, educating communities and individuals ...
When Facebook opened up to the general public in 2006, I was living in Jerusalem, covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Before that I'd spent two years in Vladimir Putin's Russia. My work involved trying to gain the trust of groups of people who were sometimes out to kill each other. I was circumspect and maybe a...
Maddie Grant's insight:
"So I’ll protect myself the way anyone should: by being careful. I won’t share or “like” much; I’ll use Facebook mostly passively. I’ll be selective about whom I friend, and I won’t friend anyone I need to protect. I’ll keep the privacy settings cranked up to the max and watch out for when Facebook quietly changes them.
And when I have to win the trust of suspicious people, I may just have to earn that trust through openness instead of by concealment. And that may not be such a bad thing."
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