Sunday, November 06, 2011

Thinking vs. Doing Economies

I was reading an article about the disaffected youth of Europe and their protests (similar to Occupy Wall Street--Occupy Europe: How a generation went from indifferent to indignant) and one part jumped out at me
Wendy Cunningham of the World Bank in Washington says the old social contract that college equals a job is fast disappearing.
The days of "I have a degree in medieval studies, I deserve a job" are over, she says.
I suspect that the “old social contract” was based partially on the notion of “well, you seem to be responsible enough to complete a degree at a university, so we can trust you do to this job where, like college, you just follow the rules and you’ll be set.”
If you think about it, it’s kind of always been “follow the rules and you’ll be set.”
Whether Agrarian, Industrial, or Post-Industrial (the last 30 years or so), most employees weren’t asked to think or innovate on the job. They were given a set of tasks and told to “go do them in this order,” whether in the field, the factory, or in most offices.
Now, however, it’s different.
Now, if you can list the tasks to be done in order, it’s cheaper to either automate or outsource those tasks which means that you either figure out how to create value where it didn’t exist before, you have a low-level job that can’t be outsourced (although those will increasingly shrink due to automation), or you’re unemployed.
A lot of people have noticed this trend in the past, but we’ll highlight Dan Pink’s work “A Whole New Mind” since, well, he’s a client, but the message is the same.
It’s no longer about “following the rules and the recipe,” it’s about “take what you know about this subject area and figure out how to leverage your skills, your network, information, and supply chains to deliver something unique.”
It used to be about doing. Now, it’s about THINKING…then doing.
Big shift.
(HT to Matthew Woodget for the original pointer on the article).
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