Work 2.0

Work 2.0

One consequence of the digitization of the enterprise and it’s subsequent redesign is that enterprises are opening up their boundaries, and are searching for purpose beyond simple profit. In recognition that employees are motivated by purpose, mastery and autonomy (Pink, “Drive”), enterprises are redefining their place in the lives of their employees and are looking to unlock their creative potential. This means that enterprises are now prioritizing culture first, resulting in massive changes in how work, management and leadership are organized. In this new work-space, sometimes called “Work 2.0”, enterprises now view boundaries not as edges but as areas of overlap;  they enable employees to see and measure the impact of their work; and they are redesigning their cultures so as to linking their culture inextricably to their brand. Enterprises and employees alike are recognizing the need to maintain an individual identity in a distributed world, and to adhere to core principles while adopting to rapidly changing conditions.

Some of the macroscopic trends affecting enterprises today include:

  • Economic corrections
  • Networked globalism
  • Displaced market equilibrium
  • New business models
  • Community power structures

In response, enterprises must respond by leveraging the following resources as a way of optimizing outcomes:

  • Networks as a source of value
  • Cultivation of innovation at the “edge”
  • Accumulation of social capital
  • Alignment of employees instead of hierarchy

We explore each of these below:

Networks as a Source of Value

Networks can be of value to organizations in at least three major ways: via the outsourcing of work to skilled specialists available over the network (microtasking/crowdsourcing); by opening up innovation in products and services to an extended network of stakeholders (open innovation); and by leveraging “emerging properties” and “network effects” for the generation of entirely new categories of products, services or processes (generativity):

Cultivation of innovation at the “edge”

Working at the “edge” can be a scary place for managers of the digital enterprise. Traditional forms of management strategy, as exemplified by the teachings of business-schools and others, have little or no value in the fast-paced, rapidly changing world of the hyper-connected enterprise, where the only constant is change. Paradigms that would be considered anathema in the ivory towers of academia and the large consulting firms are routinely practiced by cutting-edge technology firms. Examples of these include the following mantras, not to be found in any textbook on business:

  • “Stay focused & keep shipping; Move fast & break things; What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” (Facebook)
  • “Still in beta; Let the data speak.” (Google)
  • “If you’re not embarrassed by your product release, you waited far too long.” (Netflix)

The fact that leading-edge digital enterprises such as Facebook, Google and Netflix can adopt these design characteristics and be tremendously successful without adhering to the business-school/consulting firm rubric illustrates how much the world has changed, just in the past few years. The principles of “Management 2.0” can be thought of as the fostering the following attributes across the enterprise:

  • Openness
  • Community
  • Meritocracy
  • Activism
  • Collaboration
  • Meaning
  • Autonomy
  • Serendipity
  • Decentralization
  • Experimentation
  • Speed
  • Trust

Methods for “hacking” Management 2.0 are to recombine the old-fashioned tools of management with new agile, “scrum”-based management principles:

Old Hierarchical Management Theory New Agile “scrum-based” Management
Macro-level control and stability Micro-level agility & control 
Business-case driven Business-need focused
Board, stakeholder, shared responsibility Cross-functional, self-governance
Management by exception, tolerances Collaboration
Project start, middle, end; Project planning Focus on Quality
Product-based Planning Build incrementally and refine iteratively
Work Packages Timeboxing
Quality Assurance Continuous Communication

A new methodology of management is Management by Holocracy (www.holocracy.org). Here management is an organic, purpose-driven process, governed by distributed authority, rapid processing and resolution of tensions within the group, a meritocratic governance scheme, and tactical, data-driven meetings. Holocractic management demands clear work, clear structure, and the rapid sensing and feedback of any tensions within the project as soon as they arise. With its emphasis on iterative governance, adaptive processes, and self-organization, holocratic management draws its inspiration from agile software development principles and lean manufacturing processes. While holocratic management may not be appropriate for every organization, it is an interesting example of implementing “Work 2.0” into organizations.

Accumulation of social capital

Enterprises can accumulate “social capital” from implementing Work 2.0 strategies by exploiting intra-enterprise networks in the following manner:

  • Business Value: Informing customers, partners and suppliers of new products and services
  • Innovation Value: Getting customer feedback and enhancements to product features and benefits
  • Collaboration Value: Placing social collaboration into all business processes

With the formation of the “3D” workforce (Distributed, Discontinuous, Decentralized), social networks for enterprises become essential as a capital creation tool, both directly (launching new products; getting insights into product enhancements and features); and indirectly (finding new collaboration partners, recruiting, talent management, “over-the-shoulder” training and education.)

Alignment instead of hierarchy

Just as enterprises adopt to “Work 2.0”, they must also come up with new management practices in order to co-ordinate the activities of their workforce. These new practices include:

  • Coordinating communities of practice will require new forms of managerial skills (such as data analytics and efficiency.)
  • Managers will need to manage cooperation, competition and conflict, simultaneously
  • Data will be critical for decision making, risk assessment, and new product development
  • Instinct, gut-feeling and tacit knowledge will still be able to uncover patterns and insights that data analytics might overlook.

As a result, Human Resources and Talent Management have become essential facets of the modern multi-faceted enterprise. Measurement of employee progress is now driven more by focusing on Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), than by hierarchical planning processes, or by yearly or quarterly reviews. OKRs are managed by the following principles:

  • Have employees Define their OKRS
  • Focus on a few Objectives
  • Delineate 2-3 key Results
  • Make them Available for everyone to see
  • Make them Omnipresent in all conversations

Summary – from Work to Network

The rise of the digital enterprise has resulted in a dramatic change by which companies engage with their employees. In an “mobile-first, anywhere-anytime” extended culture, management structures must change to respond to the new network dynamic.

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