VIEWS: 17 PAGES: 5 POSTED ON: 2/4/2011
ISSUE 3 SEPTEMBER 2010 2020 VISIONS ICT DEVELOPMENTS: Implications for Organisations and Society More than anything else over Benjamin attributes it to the Benjamin, because it plays to the the past decade our lives at meteoric rise of social software basic human condition typified by home, work and play have been which connects people either what he described as the two shaped irrevocably by directly of via ‘social objects’ such most interesting things in the developments in information as a video, document, or picture. world namely ‘me’ followed by and communication ‘other people’. technologies (ICT). Whether The myriad of different types of such developments are seen as social software that are available is Through what he calls ‘change saviours or demons, the only surpassed by the from within’ Benjamin suggests inexorable pervasiveness of ICT extraordinary growth in the that social software can be a is unquestionable. In the same numbers of people using them. To vehicle to increase an week that the UK’s first live 3D put this phenomenal growth in organisation’s creativity and television broadcast was made, the third of six AWA 2020 context, 10 years ago before the productivity. Citing examples of Visions sessions considered advent of Facebook and Twitter, major brands that are using key developments in ICT and applications such as Microsoft social media externally to talk to their likely impact upon the Messenger had 30m users, today it their customers, to provide world of work, the workplace has 300m users. So as Benjamin enhanced service and get and workplace management in asserts, social software is not new customers more engaged with the year 2020 - led by Leon and it works! The reason social the business, he questions why Benjamin, Group Partners (the software has taken off in such a more are not using the same Pixar of Consulting) and Ian rampant manner is, claims approach inside the organisation, Hughes (epredator), Feeding as this is where he believes it can Edge Ltd. Scale of Social Media: be at its most transformative. • Facebook – 500m profiles In opening his presentation Leon • Wikipedia – c 4m articles (10 To exemplify the power of social Benjamin pointed to what he languages) networks Benjamin describes his considers is the biggest story of • YouTube – 100m videos, own experience at an st the 21 century namely the death 65,000/day organisation with which he of the default ‘command and • Typepad – 200m blogs worked as one of 25 interim control’ model and its associated • Second Life – 1.5m residents managers involved in running hierarchy as a useful way of • In 2009 ‘twitter’ became the programmes as part of a major organising businesses. So what is world’s most popular word project. On his arrival, Benjamin bringing about such a change? and the other managers were ISSUE 3 PAGE 2 informed that the company had a culture of not helping anybody, the Command and Control Networks staff disliked interim managers and • Orders • Everyone is a leader they were assured they would be • Order • Everyone sensing blocked at every opportunity to prevent them from progressing the • Stability • Everyone responding project. To address these • Continuity • Transparency difficulties the company’s project • Rules • Trust director set-up a weekly surgery at • Fear • Peers which the interim managers could • Withholding information • Agile discuss the problems they were • Measurement • Adaptable encountering and how they could be addressed. In the first three • Incentives • Self-organising week’s surgeries in which the • Competition interim managers shared their problems Benjamin informed the group that he had no problems organisations. Further, although how Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and was progressing well. When ‘command and control’ has been Amazon, eBay and others could not this was repeated on the fourth successful for business, in recent exist without open-source software week Benjamin was asked why it years it has not been without its which is developed using a network was that he was the only interim problems. By way of example centric model of organisation. To manager who was not reporting Benjamin cited the impact of work illustrate the scale of what can be problems. He then described how rage as a contributory factor to the achieved through harnessing the a week before he arrived he had suicide rate at France Telecom - 21 innate power of networks, Benjamin accessed ‘LinkedIn’ where he instances since February 2008. described how NASA wishing to identified all the managers in the Further, in the UK 2.6m people are catalogue the craters on Mars set-up company who had profiles on the on incapacity benefits, over 60% of an initiative with a single junior in- site indicating their proclivity to them as a consequence of house research scientist who share. He arranged coffee workplace stress. While India has established a website through which sessions with them for his first benefitted massively from the ‘clickworkers’ were engaged. Over week at the company and found economic benefits of off-shoring an eight month period using a out how things were done in the especially in the financial services technique called ‘crowd sourcing’, organisation, and from then on he industry, along with the jobs and NASA secured circa 80,000 had found it plain sailing - a prosperity they have also imported contributors to map over 2m data demonstration of the power of western lifestyles and diet which it points on photographs of Mars’ social media. Further, as Benjamin is assessed have contributed to the craters, the quality of which when pointed out, the surgeries attended sharp rise of type 2 diabetes reviewed subsequently by geologists by all 25 interim managers were currently affecting 35m people and was considered to be an expensive way to address the estimated to increase to 75m by indistinguishable from what would be situation, the need for which could 2030. expected from a geologist with ten have been avoided if the company years experience. In making his had a simple directory containing But setting-up a social networking case for their wide-scale adoption profiles of what their people do business does not of itself and development, Benjamin enabling the appropriate guarantee success. Benjamin concludes that levels of productivity individuals to be identified quickly highlighted how in 2005 Rupert and performance such as achieved and inexpensively. Murdoch’s News Corps acquired by the NASA clickworkers are only the social network site MySpace for made possible by operating as Benjamin acknowledges that $580m and ITV bought Friends networks. Other organisations, switching from ‘command and Reunited for £120m, both of which exhorts Benjamin, could do likewise control’ to a structure that is ‘peer- he considers have been by changing their organisational to-peer’ is either an anathema to commercial failures, a result which focus to become more network- most organisations or it is seen as he attributes to the imposition of centric enabled through social a huge threat by some individuals. the parent company’s ‘command software. As French ‘transformer’ The ‘command and control’ model and control’ mindset and Jean-Francois Noubel puts it: as deployed by organisations such management style on the ‘peer-to- as the army, government, and the peer’ operations of a network. church, was useful for the first 200 Further Benjamin postulates that “The future of a company years following the industrial for companies to interact depends less on the nature revolution with its single unitary successfully with networks they of its issues, and more on actor at the top of the organisation themselves have to be ‘network who ‘holds all the pieces of the centric’. its capacity to invent social puzzle’. However in a globally structures able to solve connected world this role is no In setting out the value of the peer- them” longer viable for most to-peer model, Benjamin highlights ISSUE 3 PAGE 3 Given the pace of change such sites, will lead them to employee engagement is no within the world of ICT would become societies in their own longer optional, Benjamin expects this expert be brave enough to right, encouraging some to to see their intranet sites replaced make predictions for 2020? He operate their own ‘currencies’ as by social networks, as a function certainly would! Benjamin sees the exchange of value of a of adopting ‘peer-to-peer’ models social networking sites taking transaction will no longer be of organisation in recognition of it on an ever more dominant role based solely on a corresponding outperforming ‘command and in our lives. By 2020 he expects transfer of money. But it is in the control’, and becoming the default such sites through their shape and structure of corporate structure for new businesses and enormous user base, to be the organisations that Benjamin many existing ones, where the default channel to market for sees the greatest changes as unit of work is no longer a whole the distribution for a substantial social networking becomes all job but rather fractional work number of goods and services. pervasive. He anticipates that as undertaken by an on-demand More than that, Benjamin large corporations become workforce. expects that the rise and rise of increasingly aware that In opening his session, Ian on the gadgets available in the which you ‘move around’ in the Hughes reminds us that the 7-12 shops today, but rather environment are based on game year olds of today (viewers of technologies that may appear more technologies with the consequence his ‘Cool Stuff Collective’ slot like science fiction, odd and quirky that to some more used to web on children’s television) will be to some who believe they will never pages they look freaky and the new entrants to the world of catch-on, which in his view will be unusual. In such worlds users have work in 2020, so it is worth commonplace in 10 years time. In a representation of themselves (an considering their behaviour and support of his session Hughes avatar) which appears when they reactions to immersion in new used a virtual world called are logged-on to the system, similar technologies such as social ‘OpenSim’ (an open-source version to the dot or character that appears software, 3D and virtual worlds of a virtual world similar to ‘Second- when logged-on to Facebook or and what impact this is likely to Life’) which any person or Instant Messenger. For some this have. organisation can deploy behind virtual manifestation of self can be a their IT firewall in a manner which problem since it will be ‘visible’ to By new technologies Hughes bests suits them. As Hughes others logged-on at the same time, emphasises that his focus is not explained, most virtual worlds in making them self-conscious of how ISSUE 3 PAGE 4 they (their avatar) looks. How an massive amounts of energy, money their virtual world and brought into avatar is dressed can, as Hughes and carbon. Further, using a virtual the real world via 3D output points out, be an opportunity to environment, can combat the devices. With such tools it is express your personality or just detachment often associated with possible to take an object that was how you are feeling at any given conference calls by phone, (while created in a virtual world and only time. In ‘Second Life’ Hughes of course still being able to use the exists there, and produce a physical adopts the persona of ‘epredator’ voice and text devices that support 3D version of it in the real world in a with his avatar dressed in a giant our activities currently) as the range of materials, thereby enabling predator outfit, which makes him graphic representation of the virtual those who participated in the immediately recognisable when he environment enables participants to creation of the virtual object to have goes to places and events in the engage more directly not only their own physical version of it. virtual world, indicating to others enhancing the functionality of the Clearly such tools are changing the not only that he is ‘present’ but event but making it a more way some manufacturers are also his interest in science-fiction. memorable experience. developing their products and may Further, just as in real life, when even change the way products are Hughes explains how, in preparing distributed to customers. Hughes Implications for epredator attends events Hughes will place him alongside other his presentations, he puts all of the quotes the example of how in a attendees that he recognises and objects to which he intends to refer virtual world his avatar was fitted with whom he shares some within a virtual environment and with trainers bought in Second Life common interests. These then ‘walks’ to them and ’explores’ from Reebok as part of a product Organisations and characteristics are reminiscent of how in many offices people try to conform as a function of the protocols of an organisation them as the session is delivered. In his virtual presentation when Hughes wishes to emphasise the criticality of a situation he marks promotion campaign it was running. When Hughes then had his epredator avatar produced as a 12 inch high physical 3D model it was Society through wearing a suit or being the ‘turning point’ by actually wearing its Reebok trainers, which seen with ‘the right people’ – in the ‘walking’ round a corner in the as he exhorts shows the power to virtual world inhibitions are more virtual environment. As he explains major brands of the interaction relaxed. in virtual worlds the laws of physics between virtual and real worlds. do not apply and hence ‘walking’ In pointing out one of the benefits might in some situations be too The impact of such approaches and of virtual worlds Hughes explained conventional so to make a point tools will, Hughes believes, in how when people congregate they more dramatically he (or at least addition to having a profound can interact, share information and his avatar) can ‘fly’ from one item to impact upon the way manufacturers create things just as can be done another. Not only that, but rather produce goods will also change in the real world. But more, as than having his presentations on how they distribute products to their unlike websites where things walls in the virtual environment customers. No longer will it be rarely change while you are on the Hughes occasionally ‘wears’ his necessary for products to be site, Hughes explains that in virtual presentation on his avatar, a designed in one location, the worlds things can change all the procedure which he assures is not designs shipped half way round the time as the participants interact. In particularly hi-tech and time world to be manufactured, where a virtual world new objects can be consuming but can make a high they are then packaged and created and built by individuals or impact. shipped back round the planet to be through the collaborative efforts of delivered to a warehouse, from a group of people each in a It is not just in presentations that where a retailer acquires it as stock, different geographic location – virtual worlds can contribute to who then arranges for a carrier to making everywhere local. Instead business. When objects are transport it to a customer who of using the conventional ‘chalk deposited or created in the virtual bought it – with all of the associated and talk’ approach adopted in environment everyone who energy and carbon consumption. many business meetings and participates receives the object as Instead customers can try out workshops, participants are able in it is instantly delivered to them, products in their virtual world before a virtual environment to create the making it a content delivery buying them, then ‘manufacturing’ object (text, illustration and 3D platform for virtual objects. In some the product themselves via 3D product) that is the focus of their situations the creators or owners of output devices. attention by each contributing to the virtual objects will charge the ‘building’ process. recipients money (real or virtual) for When combined with 3D scanning delivering the product to them, devices the whole process Virtual life does not replace real similar to the apps made available becomes two-way, in that physical life, as Hughes is quick to clarify, on mobile phones. However the fun objects can be scanned and placed however it does enable forms of doesn’t stop there! As Hughes in the virtual world, modified by collaboration that either could not explains it is possible to interact collaborators located anywhere who be achieved in other ways or could with virtual environments such that are then able to output the object only be achieved by expending virtual objects can be taken out of via 3D output devices – merging the ISSUE 3 PAGE 5 virtual and physical environments. What is even 2020 VISIONS Session 4: 30 November 2010 Work in 2020 more remarkable is, as Hughes PROGRAMME How will people and organisations points out, that this can be work in 2020.?How will organisations achieved with technologies that A series of high level enquiries examining life, work and the workplace take advantage of 2020 technology? already exist. What demographic pressures will they in 2020. Supporting leaders in preparing have to cope with? Will CO2 play a for the future. So what are Hughes’ part in the way people and predictions for 2020? Through organisations work? Will Hutton, The Session 1: 28 April 2010 Work Foundation and David Smith, developments in 3D output The World in 2020 CEO Global Futures and Foresight devices (their capabilities and A macro-economic, demographic and reducing cost) Hughes expects Session 5: 8 February 2011 social context for the UK and its position manufacturing to become much in the world. Graeme Leach, Chief The Workplace in 2020 more equally spread across the Exploring what the place of work and Economist, Institute of Directors and planet. We will interface with the workplace could look like in 2020 Mark Wood Deputy Chairman and the implications and new computers in ways that suit us Paternoster, (previously CEO Prudential Implications for capabilities needed by organisations as humans rather than has UK) – Can now be viewed at for sustained success. Wes McGregor, been the case in the past where www.advanced-workplace.com Director, Advanced Workplace we have had to adapt to the Associates and Dr Craig Knight, ways of the machines. That Session 2: 1 July 2010 Managing Director, Prism. Organisations and said, Hughes expects technologies to embrace the human dimensions of gestures and depth of ‘intelligence’ Driving to a sustainable future The drive to improve sustainability, and what this will mean for organisations, work and life by 2020. Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future and Zahl Session 6: 6 April 2011 Managing the transition to the future Society through emotional and human Limbuwala, CEO Romonet and A vision for 2020 and how to get there. brain interfaces. Displays from Chairman of the Computer Society’s Exploring the necessary steps to make computers will not be about Data Centre SIG – Can now be viewed the transition, and examining ways to at www.advanced-workplace.com overcome the inevitable barriers to fixed screens but projection, change. Professor Rob Briner, augmentation and immersion, Birkbeck College and Andrew Mawson, with the ‘gameification’ of Session 3: 22 September 2010 Managing Director, Advanced everything providing interest IT developments and implications Workplace Associates and narrative to the most for organisations and society mundane of tasks. What does 2020 hold for the internet, virtual worlds, social networking, video For further information on the and hardware, implications for CO2 and 2020 Visions programme contact A truly amazing insight into the way we work and live? Leon the impact ICT will continue Andrew Mawson at Advanced Benjamin Group Partners (the Pixar of Workplace Associates on to have upon our lives. Its Consulting) and Ian Hughes (epredator), 020 7743 7110 or at impact upon work will be one Feeding Edge Ltd – Can now be viewed firstname.lastname@example.org dimension of the next AWA at www.advanced-workplace.com 2020 Visions session to be held on 30 November 2010. The views expressed in the 2020 Visions programme and in this bulletin, are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Advance Workplace Associates Limited.
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