"Lawyers who used to slog through giant files for the “discovery” phase of a trial can turn it over to a computer. An “intelligent assistant” called Amy will, via email, set up meetings autonomously. Google announced last week that you can get Gmail to write appropriate responses to incoming emails. (You still have to act on your responses, of course.)
Further afield, Foxconn, the Taiwanese company which assembles devices for Apple and others, aims to replace much of its workforce with automated systems. The AP news agency gets news stories written automatically about sports and business by a system developed by Automated Insights. The longer you look, the more you find computers displacing simple work. And the harder it becomes to find jobs for everyone.
So how much impact will robotics and AI have on jobs, and on society? Carl Benedikt Frey, who with Michael Osborne in 2013 published the seminal paper The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation? – on which the BoA report draws heavily – says that he doesn’t like to be labelled a “doomsday predictor”.
He points out that even while some jobs are replaced, new ones spring up that focus more on services and interaction with and between people. “The fastest-growing occupations in the past five years are all related to services,” he tells the Observer. “The two biggest are Zumba instructor and personal trainer.”"
Buurtzorg is a Dutch home health care and neighbourhood nursing company founded by Jos de Blok in 2006. de Blok’s leadership philosophy has been fundamental for the company’s growth expanding from 10 to 8000 nurses in 2014.
WHY IS IT AN INTERESTING CASE STORY?
de Blok has created the company as a network of self-managing teams where 10-12 nurses serve clients in small local areas, typically taking care of roughly 50 clients. This approach is in stark contrast to the rest of the industry, where support functions are centralised and nurses switch between hundreds of clients to fulfil efficiency objectives.
One of de Blok’s mottos is ‘humanity over bureaucracy’ and this purpose permeate the organisation. Nurses give attention to clients even if it is not strictly the type of care they provide, i.e. nurses make the time to have a cup of coffee or a conversation with the patients. A few more principles standout; all teams are self-organising and responsibilities and tasks must be equally distributed. Beyond the committing to a number of tasks nurses should build up an expertise and connect with other nurses outside their own team and share their knowledge either through the intranet or physical meet ups when possible. Lastly, if teams need to have more than 12 nurses to serve a neighbourhood, then the team should split in two.
Organisations driven by purpose can mobilise an energised workforce and improve productivity as a spill off effect.
Technology can connect a distributed workforce and surface experts in the organisation.
Leaders can involve and interact with associates via technology.
Self-managing: No teams have a boss and everyone in the teams are nurses. To prepare new nurses for self-management Buurtzorg runs a training course called “Solution-Driven Methods of Interaction” for all new joiners. In this course the nurses learn skills and techniques needed for healthy and efficient group decision-making, including different ways of communicating with colleagues and clients.
Impartial facilitator meeting method: Buurtzorg have created their own technique for dealing with tensions and group decision-making. The most important element of the technique is the facilitator, which can be any of the team members who have all learned about facilitating in an introduction course. A quite unique aspect of Buurtzorg meeting method is that if a team gets stuck on a topic they will openly share their issue with the rest of the company via their intranet and look for outside input.
Working out loud: de Blok designed the operating model to use “BuurtzorgWeb” as a central part of the governance. The BuurtzorgWeb is vital for sharing the nurse’ expert knowledge, creating and iterating on best practices.
Leaders working out loud: de Blok also use the BuurtzorgWeb as his primary tool for leading the organisation. Via the internal platform de Blok provides updates on the business and involves the nurses in sense and decision-making. One story goes that Buurtzorg was struggling with the cash flow and de Blok chose to blog about the problem and suggesting two solutions; temporarily stop growing or increasing productivity. Through the conversation that spun off in the comments the nurses collectively decided take in more work for a period to create the cash needed to support the growth.
Situational hierarchy: While the organisation is organised as flat structure some nurses gain recognition in the company through their activities and expertise. Consequently the nurses that build up influence often consult others nurses, but this is an organically developed hierarchy of trust.
360 feedback: Buurtzorg teams do regular coaching meetings to work through tensions and once a year all team members do a 360 appraisal of their team members. However, compared to most other businesses the teams can design their own competency models that they wish to use for appraisals.
Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux
Home Care by Self-Governing Nursing Teams: The Netherlands’ Buurtzorg Model by The Common Wealthfund
Netherlands: Buurtzorg empowered nurses focus on patient value by KPMG
Jos de Blok on Organisational Structures by RSA Spotlight
"The project, piloted in the town of Chesham, has been labeled with the rather embarrassing 1990s-era names of "Streetsurfing" and the more up-to-date-but-equally-lame "Smart Pavement." It puts 166Mbps wi-fi under residents’ feet, mounted on the underside of the street’s many manhole covers. The connection hooks up to Virgin’s nearby street exchange cabinets, and the whole system relies on fiber optic cabling."
"The Beer Game is one of a number of management flight simulators developed at MIT's Sloan School of Management for these purposes. The game was developed by Sloan's System Dynamics Group in the early 1960s as part of Jay Forrester's research on industrial dynamics. Its has been played all over the world by thousands of people ranging from high school students to chief executive officers and government officials.
Of course, there is no beer in the beer game, and the game does not promote drinking. Originally the 'production-distribution game', most students are more excited about producing beer than widgets or toasters. When played in, say, high schools, it easily becomes the apple juice game. "
"About this post. I share quotes from Kleon’s book.* I purchased and finished reading this book about a month ago, with a draft blog post of excerpts languishing in my draft file. Yesterday, I met with my friend Radhika (and fellow knuckleballer!) yesterday. Given our mutual interest in and excitement about co-creating what we are calling Colorized Improv, this is a great time to wrap up this post. (Thanks Austin Kleon for a nice read.)"
"The Four Principles of Network Entrepreneurship
We have found that despite huge differences in issue area, scale, resources, and formal roles, network entrepreneurs and their networks are remarkably similar. The networks that network entrepreneurs catalyze all demonstrate the following four operating principles:
Trust not control. Strong relationships among network partners and a culture in which actors routinely invest resources into building long-term, trust-based relationships—without the expectation of control or even recognition—is critical to collaborative success. Network entrepreneurs emphasize “return on relationships” above all else. Unless they are built on a foundation of mutual respect and integrity, collaborations are unlikely to succeed, regardless of how much formal structure or strategic planning went into them.
Humility not brand. Unlike social entrepreneurs so often held up as hero-like figures, network entrepreneurs are largely anonymous by design. Early in a network’s development, these leaders are important visionaries, and stewards who help foster a healthy network culture and develop a sustainable structure. But they are deliberate about ceding their power to the collective leadership of the network and instead developing leadership capacity throughout the network.
Node not hub. Network entrepreneurs are keenly aware that they are few among many working across the larger system, and in this way they embody a special type of system leader, powerfully articulated by Senge, Hamilton, and Kania in a recent SSIR article. Networks entrepreneurs not only connect to the larger system around them and foster generative conversation, but also deliberately catalyze and lead action-oriented networks that are aligned around a defined shared purpose and built on the foundation of deep relationship. They develop a culture where no individual or organization seeks to be the brightest star. Partners and peers mobilize a constellation of resources and skills that enables the achievement of a shared vision. The network becomes the primary vehicle for delivering mission impact. Consequently, there is as much focus on engaging trusted peers outside the network entrepreneur’s organization as there is on tasks within the organization.
Mission not organization. Network entrepreneurs are far more motivated to achieve maximum impact than to advance themselves or their organizations. The network entrepreneur acts as a participant, eschewing personal or organizational status in service to the mission. They often put the interests of their peers ahead of their own, as “supporting all boats to rise” actually serves the mission best. Network entrepreneurs, for example, often refer potential donors to peers that can better deliver a program or service; they don’t simply seek to maximize their own organization’s budget. When all network participants adhere to this principle, it becomes self-reinforcing; it greases the wheels of current collaborations and opens the doors to future partnerships."
1. There are two kinds of systems and problems: ordered and unordered.
2. Ordered problems are predictable and knowable, unordered problems are unpredictable and unknowable. It is important to understand this point deeply, because this is a fundamental distinction that has massive implications.
3. Ordered systems have a reliable causality, that is, causes and effects can be known, and usually display a clear finish line. Sometimes this causality is obvious to everyone, such as turning a tap to control a flow of water. Sometimes this causality is only obvious to experts, such as knowing what causes your car engine to start making strange noises.
4. Unordered systems throw up complex problems and chaos. Complex problems such as poverty and racism, have causality that that only be understood retrospectively, that is by looking back in time, and they have no discernible finish line. We do a reasonably good job of seeing where it came from, but we can’t look at the current state of a system and predict what will happen next.
5. Chaotic problems are essentially crises in which the causality is so wild, that it doesn’t really matter. For example, in the middle of a riot, it does you no good to understand causes until you can get to safety.
6. Because ordered systems display predictable outcomes, we can more or less design solutions that have a good chance of working. We just need to understand the system well enough and enlist the right experts if it’s unclear what to do. Once we have a solution, it will be transferable from one context to another. Designing and building a car, for example.
7. Because unordered systems are unpredictable we need to design solutions that are coherent with the context. For example, addressing the role of stigma in the health care system requires a solution to emerge from the system itself.
8. Complex problems can be addressed by creating many small probes: experiments that tell us about what works and what doesn’t. When a probe has a good result, we amplify it. When it has a poor result, we dampen it. Strategies for amplification and dampening depend on the context, and the problem.
9. In ordered systems, linear solutions with well managed resources and outcomes will produce desired effects. We can evaluation our results against our intentions and address gaps.
10. In complex systems, we manage attractors and boundaries and see what happens. An attractor is something that draws the system towards it. A boundary is something that contains the work. For example addressing the effects of poverty by creating a micro-enterprise loan program that makes money available for small projects (attractor) and requires that it be paid back by a certain time and in a certain way (boundaries). Then you allow action to unfold and see what happens.
11. When you have a solution in an ordered system that works, you can evaluate it, create a process and a training program around it and export it to different contexts.
12. When you have a solution that works in a complex system, you continue monitor it, adjust it as necessary and extract the heuristics of how it works. Heuristics are basic experience based, operating principles that can be observed and applied across contexts. For example, “provide access to capital for women” provides a heuristic for addressing poverty based on experience. Heuristics must be continually refined or dropped depending on the context."
"Fracking triggered a 4.4-magnitude earthquake in northeastern B.C. last year, CBC News has learned, making it one of world's largest earthquakes ever triggered by the controversial process.
B.C.'s Oil and Gas Commission confirmed the cause of the earthquake in an email statement to CBC this week, saying it was "triggered by fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing."
The 4.4-magnitude quake was felt in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson in August 2014. It was preceded by a 3.8-magnitude earthquake in late July, also caused by fracking.
B.C.'s Oil and Gas Commission told CBC that several companies were doing hydraulic fracturing in the area at the time, and several more were disposing of fracking waste.
But the commission says it was Progress Energy's operations that were "associated with triggering this event."
Hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, is the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure deep underground to break rock and free gas.
Since the 2014 earthquake, Progress Energy has been ordered to reduce the volume of fracking fluid being used, and the company has complied, according to the commission.
As well, new seismic equipment has been set up in the area. No new earthquakes have been detected in the immediate area."
"You need to understand limits of your current knowledge (or, put another way, you need to know when to go looking for new knowledge). This may be as simple of coming across new terms and concepts that you don’t understand, through to having the sensitivity to realise that your lack of progress in a task is due to the knowledge (the ideas and skills) that you’re applying being insufficient, and you need to find a new approach that is based on different knowledge.
You need to be aware of what additional knowledge you might draw on, so that you can you can reach out and pull it in as needed. This is a process of eliminating the unknown unknowns: reading blogs, going to conferences, participating in communities of practice, and even having conversations at the water cooled, so that your aware of the other ideas out there in the community, and other other individuals who are working in related areas. You can only draw on new knowledge if you’re aware that it exists, which means you must invest some time in scanning the environment around you for new ideas and fellow travellers.
You also need the habits of mind – the attitudes and behaviours – that lead you to reach out when you realise that you’re knowledge isn’t up to the task as had, explore the various ideas that you’re aware of (or use this awareness to discover new ideas), and then pull in and learn the knowledge required.
Finally, you need to be working in a context where all this is possible. To many work environments are setup in a way that prevents individuals from either investing time in exploring what is going on around them (and eliminating unknown unknowns), taking time out from the day-to-day to learn what they need to learn on-demand, or from taking what they’ve learnt and doing something different (deviating from the defined, approved and rewarded process)."
"The essence of Van den Berg’s traffic circulation plan, as it came to be called, was that the centre of Groningen would be divided in four sections. For motorists, it would become impossible to go from one section to the other: cars had to take the ring-road around the inner city, whereas cyclists could move freely about on new cycle paths constructed to accommodate them. Driving a car would become a time-consuming affair in the centre of Groningen. In the future, travelling by bike would be a much quicker option."
"Wealth has declined
There’s also a harsh reality behind it: Independent workers simply have less money to spend. Their careers are unpredictable in terms of hours, income, and even location. So when they do spend, they're turning to alternatives like sharing or renting rather than buying. In a recent report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 86% of people surveyed said that using a ride-sharing app or renting out someone's spare room rather than booking a hotel "makes life more affordable." More than 80% said it was "less expensive to share goods than to own them individually." And 43% went as far as to say that "owning, today, feels like a burden."
"The ranks of independent workers continue to grow. But as long as their incomes continue to shrink, so will their spending."
That kind of meaningful independence is a social and economic movement that’s not going away. It's a relief for many of today’s new-wave workers, who can’t afford up-front costs of big-ticket items. But it’s not so helpful in addressing the underlying problem that income inequality in this country is very real and growing worse."
"Evidence continues to mount that the natural gas supply chain carries an enormous amount of environmental baggage as well as community welfare issues.
This week was a particularly bad one for the natural gas industry, with the release of two government reports in the U.S. and one in the U.K."
"nformal learning is the unofficial, impromptu way people learn how to do their jobs. This infographic outlines why we shouldn’t ignore informal learning and describes the models developed by Jay Cross, Dan Pontefract and “70:20:10″, which put a framework around this style of learning. A very interesting read."
"And the majority illusion can occur in all of them. “The effect is largest in the political blogs network, where as many as 60%–70% of nodes will have a majority active neighbours, even when only 20% of the nodes are active,” they say. In other words, the majority illusion can be used to trick the population into believing something that is not true.
That’s interesting work that immediately explains a number of interesting phenomena. For a start, it shows how some content can spread globally while other similar content does not—the key is to start with a small number of well-connected early adopters fooling the rest of the network into thinking it is common.
That might seem harmless when it comes to memes on Reddit or videos on YouTube. But it can have more insidious effects too. “Under some conditions, even a minority opinion can appear to be extremely popular locally,” say Lerman and co. That might explain how extreme views can sometimes spread so easily.
It might also explain the spread of antisocial behavior. Various studies have shown that teenagers consistently overestimate the amount of alcohol and drugs their friends consume. “If heavy drinkers also happen to be more popular, then people examining their friends’ drinking behavior will conclude that, on average, their friends drink more than they do,” say Lermann and co."
"The city attorney combined the network analysis, along with the city's own extensive investigation and was able to get a conviction of key family members. Later, all of one building's tenants filed a civil suit using much of the same evidence and won a sufficient award to allow all of them to move out into decent housing. Several tenants used a part of their award to start businesses.
The common wisdom is that only big business and government use social network analysis. Yet, there are many individuals and groups that are learning the craft, and solving local problems. Although social network analysis can not be learned by reading a book, it does not require a PhD either. Any intelligent person, under the right guidance, and with the proper tools, can apply the methodology to an appropriate problem and gain enormous insight into what was previously hidden."
"Whoever owns the capital will benefit as robots and AI inevitably replace many jobs. If the rewards of new technologies go largely to the very richest, as has been the trend in recent decades, then dystopian visions could become reality. But the machines are tools, and if their ownership is more widely shared, the majority of people could use them to boost their productivity and increase both their earnings and their leisure. If that happens, an increasingly wealthy society could restore the middle-class dream that has long driven technological ambition and economic growth."
"Selon moi, cette intelligence, « smartness », s'adosse directement à l'intelligence des utilisateurs, donc des citoyens. La smart city a vocation à rendre possible une prise de décision – des citoyens et acteurs locaux, plus intelligente, car basée sur l'exploitation et l'analyse des données."
"The only way to transfer somatic tacit knowledge to someone is through long term coaching.
He describes Relational Tacit Knowledge, which is about social interaction and how this keeps some knowledge unspoken. Basically its the things you could explain but don't, for one reason or another. It includes secrets, the things you don't know that you know, and the things you can't explain because you don't know what the other party needs to know. This knowledge remains tacit for social reasons, and the work of the knowledge manager is to go through the social barriers and retrieve this knowledge through questioning processes - for example in Knowledge Interviews.
Finally, there is collective tacit knowledge. This is about the way WE work. Its about knowledge held socially and collectively. He gives the example of riding a bike. The mechanics of riding a bike are all about somatic tacit knowledge, but the knowledge of riding a bike in London traffic are collective and tacit; you need to understand the unspoken social conventions, otherwise the taxis and buses will get you. It is the collective tacit knowledge that the interviewer seeks for in team knowledge processes such as After Action Review and Retrospects, and the facilitator seeks to exchange in Peer Assists and Knowledge Exchange meetings."