2020 could be the year in which we consistently start using good data to facilitate good work flows. Good, in the sense of “good for everyone” – for companies and their goals, for employees and for society as a whole. But also for the sake of planetary resources. Because a resource-conserving lifestyle is closely related to a working world that allows for the freedom to engage in a responsible and conscience lifestyle outside of work.
How can this be successful?
The simple answer might be: through digitalization. If machines took over more jobs and human work could be automated, then everyone would have more time, right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as simple as that. To understand digitalization solely as a technological process, strikes us as a deceptive idea. How does the best technology benefit us, if it can’t be used for the well-being of all? If we don’t know why we should use it? Certainly a large number of assembly line jobs could be eliminated through the use of technology – but is that all we want to achieve? In 2019? Surely we can aim for a higher goal! Why the hype around AI if it doesn’t manage to substantially improve the lives of many people, but instead (in the best case scenario) just manages to maintain a mediocre status quo of the working world – only in digital form?
The digital transformation – and we will not get tired writing about it yet again in 2020 – is first and foremost a cultural transformation that forces us (in a positive sense) to scrutinize our definition of work and collaboration and to bid farewell to “business as usual”. What a chance! Unfortunately, there are still not enough companies that are seizing this “window of opportunity” which is opening up right in front of them. It is created by an ever-growing number of talented people with a technical mindset, that realize that they no longer want to work in rigidly hierarchical organizations. They are looking to create their own networks and work on their own terms. They want to share knowledge and experience, continue to learn from and with others in their network. Organizations that want to gain and retain this kind of talent, must change their way of thinking and start building up new internal structures NOW. Many sense this pressure, yet fail to react accordingly.
In our opinion, one of the main reasons for this lack of orientation is the misguided need to follow others: What are THEY doing? What is AI theoretically already capable of? How can we recruit as many people as possible with IT knowledge? Change, we need change! (Let’s make a project out of it!). Big data – do we have that? Agile is the new trend – we need to learn that! (Workshop alert!) And the market, what is the market up to?
We are convinced that real transformation begins with a long hard look into internal processes and with the questions “Why?” and “What for?”. Why are we, as an organization, here? What is our driving force? Why do we want to change something? And how is technology, how is data possibly the right tool for this change? How can we use them to improve the flow of knowledge and skills? To make working together more collaborative, more productive and, last but not least, happier. Without a cultural shift, a meaningful technological shift is not possible! The publicist Harald Welzer summed it up accurately in an interview with T3N: “Technology is like a hammer. I can think about what I want to use the hammer for. I can use it for very practical purposes, or I can use it to smash someone’s skull.”
Applied to data, the aforementioned “good data” is the kind that creates a measurable benefit for those that make it available. For instance, if HR managers want to optimize their talent management with the help of data, they first have to create an environment in which their coworkers are willing to share data about their skills and educational needs. This kind of environment enables completely new kinds of encounters and experiences that allow coworkers to experience firsthand that exchange and collaboration can be fun. They will come to understand that connecting and collaborating with others for a common goal will let them achieve more than an “elbow mentality” ever could.
Our Skill-Matching-Software enables these kinds of encounters and experiences. We developed it because we know from experience that a sustainable cultural shift should not only be initiated from the top down but must be a joint effort by all people within an organization. So, it only makes sense that our tool is operated from the bottom up, based on the benefits it provides for each individual. Only when the benefits are understood, when tool, purpose and positive experience come together, acceptance can grow and with it the willingness to share data. Good data. Data that justifies the use of technology and AI. Only through the integration and synchronization of technology and culture, we are able to make the shift to more innovative and agile network organizations. In these organizations skills and knowledge are shared and continuously adjusted and improved, thus giving managers a clearer picture of what their coworkers want to and are capable of doing, allowing them to provide systematic support and development opportunities – keyword Skill Mapping. This is the only way to tackle the many complex challenges we face today.
Let’s make 2020 the year in which we rid ourselves of old and rigid work structures and make space for humane and sustainable new work models, allowing for collaboration rather than competition and providing our coworkers and employees the freedom to lead a more conscious, holistic (work) life. One, in which we feel connected to one another and achieve more with less effort – for us, for others, for a livable planet. Let’s start together!