Saturday, October 28, 2006

Andrew McAfee on the next generation of knowledge workers

Geez, I wish I‘d written this. Andrew McAfee on What They Learned in College.

When they take jobs, do you think they‘ll willingly stop using such tools? Will they happily switch over to legacy corporate collaboration technologies that are less freeform and harder to search, make them jump through more hoops, restrict their privileges and access based on their position on the org. chart, and generally have a ‘pre-Web 2.0‘ look and feel?

Many, if not most, knowledge workers sit in front of computers for large portions of the day. The applications they use probably have a large impact not only on their productivity, but also on their mood, and on their affinity for the organization that put the tools in front of them.

Let‘s say that The Economist and others are right and the global war for talent really is heating up. I imagine that an increasingly important front in that war, at least for new entrants to the skilled workforce, is going to be the technology environment built by companies — the one within which they expect their people to do their work. Environments that support the way smart young people want to work, and are used to working, are going to look comparatively attractive.

I also imagine that when smart young people look at the Intranets and collaboration technologies currently in place at a lot of companies, they‘ll find them (to use a polite term) quaint. And I doubt that quaint is what they‘re looking for.

If you are a pre-2.0 enterprise you‘d had better be working fast to catch-up. The consequences to your future will be significant.

As an FYI, the faux innovator‘s reaction to an article like this will start with, ”Yeah, but…

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