Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Several recent articles have postulated dramatic changes for the 'future of work'.  These trends are not new, but the pace has definitely quickened.  I would encourage all to read the following:

One key finding:

"Technologies like robotics, numerically controlled machines, computerized inventory control, and automatic transcription have been substituting for routine tasks, displacing those workers. Meanwhile other technologies like data visualization, analytics, high-speed communications, and rapid prototyping have augmented the contributions of more abstract and data-driven reasoning, increasing the value of those jobs."

These articles, which include many insightful facts and charts,  make the case quite strongly that, due to technological advancements, we are automating jobs much faster than we are creating them.  Many jobs which are currently done by humans will soon be done by automated robots or other automated means.  Further, for the first time, we are not creating enough new jobs to provide options for those displaced.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

How IT Costs More Jobs than It Creates

Interesting article about the effects of Information Technology on jobs.  For the first time, this decade has seen the economy and productivity grow while jobs shrink.  Although this has not happened before, it will likely be a continuing trend. IT allows companies to continue to expand profits and growth, while simultaneously reducing jobs. According to this article, the main solution has to be continuing education so that workers are being retrained for the new jobs and opportunities arising.

Further cementing the concept about disappearing jobs is the recent excellent article from the McKinsey Quarterly,"The Second Economy".  In this enlightening article, the author lays out a very clear scenario in which information technology advances result in the tremendous reduction of necessary workers.  Very interesting and well supported developments have resulted in fewer workers being needed---and a mismatch of skills with the jobs remaining.

Well worth reading both----harbingers of the uncertain future we face.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

State of the CIO circa 2011

An excellent report, State of the CIO 2010, should be must reading for all those involved in IT or who wish to become CIO's.  The report outlines the dramatic changes in process relating to the roles and duties of the CIO.


Here is one chart showing some of the key findings of the survey:



Note the changing priorities and use of time for CIO's.  Several areas are increasing in importance and some are decreasing.  Clearly, the CIO is becoming much more of a business partner for the organization.  There are several other equally insightful charts and results from this survey---well worth spending some time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Case for Citizen Centric Mobile Gov

Very interesting article about government developed 'apps'.  The government is actually very active in developing applications for smart phones and needs to educate the users on how productive these apps can be by:
  • educating federal department and agency leadership, program staff, and IT staff on the benefits of mobile use;
  • developing criteria to identify better projects and better ways to implement them;
  • encouraging mobile strategy and technology investment decisions to meet agency mission goals; and
  • spurring and modeling interagency collaboration to accelerate Mobile Gov.
The use of apps also has grown impressively over the last year as illustrated by this chart:

Chart from Pew Internet showing the change in use of non-voice data applications on cell phones from April 2009 to May 2010 based on a survey. 66 percent used their cell phone to take a picture in April 2009; 76 percent in May 2010. 65 percent used their cell phone to send or receive text messages in April 2009; 72 percent in May 2010. 27 percent used their cell phone to play a game in April 2009; 34 percent in May 2010. 25 percent used their cell phone to send or receive email in April 2009; 34 percent in May 2010. 25 percent used their cell phone to access the internet in April 2009; 38 percent in May 2010. 21 percent used their cell phone to play music in April 2009; 33 percent in May 2010. 20 percent used their cell phone to send or receive instant messages in April 2009; 30 percent in May 2010. 19 percent used their cell phone to record a video in April 2009; 34 percent in May 2010.

According to the article, "Agencies are starting by taking existing information or services and repackaging them for new devices. In mobile form, these services can provide immediate alerts, save call center costs, and make the most of existing government data stores.
  • Citizens can have health information sent directly to their phones by signing up for a daily text message (SMS) health tip from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Taxpayers can check their refund status on the go with the Internal Revenue Service’s app, IRS2go—saving the IRS expensive, call-center interactions.
  • Travelers can learn about airport delays and what they can carry on a flight from the Transportation Security Administration’s My TSA app for smartphone and mobile Web. While there are contact center savings here, too, TSA also updates answers for all information channels--website and call center-- based on feedback that users share via the mobile app.
  • People with concerns about food safety and handling can access food-safety information anytime, anywhere with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ask Karen. Users with iPhones and Androids can also get questions answered by live chat."
Further, mobile websites provide pertinent information on top government tasks, saving mobile users time and headaches. Some agencies are creating mobile websites for specific audiences and tasks.
  • Disaster survivors can use their mobile devices to access to find disaster recovery centers and find out how to let their families know they are safe. The Federal Emergency Management Agency designed it to meet the needs of people who don’t have electricity but who have a charge left in their cell phones.
  • Spanish speakers can use mobile to find government information in Spanish.
  • Prospective employees can look for jobs and internships using USAJobs, NSA Career Links, and NCI @ NIH Summer Internship Program.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Management 2.0 Challenge Winners

New Page 3

I am a big fan of Gary Hamel (one of the 'big thinkers' I track). His book of a few years ago, "The Future of Management" left quite an impression on me. Excerpts can be found, starting with part 1, at: He also has excellent views on innovation, again excerpts at  Note that the Wall Street Journal recently ranked Gary Hamel as the world's most influential business thinker, and Fortune magazine has called him "the world's leading expert on business strategy." For the last three years, Hamel has also topped Executive Excellence magazine's annual ranking of the most sought after management speakers.  I think he has an excellent perspective on how management will likely have to change for the future.

Hamel is one of the key forces behind the Management 2.0 Challenge (co-sponsorted by Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company), which started in May 2011.  The HBR/McKinsey M-Prize will unfold over the course of a year and include three separate phases designed to surface the best practices and thinking around leveraging technology, reinventing strategy, and rethinking organizations.  As Hamel states, "...over the next few years the emerging “social technologies” of Web 2.0 are likely to transform the work of management root and branch."  The first winners have been chosen and you can read their ideas and winning entries.

The next part of the challenge will be announced soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Future Work Skills 2020

 Interesting report from the Institute for the Future (and the University of Phoenix Research Institute), "Future Work Skills 2020".  Highlights from the report include:

  • Six drivers of change:
    1. Extreme Longevity - Increasing global lifespans change the nature of careers and learning
    2. Rise of Smart Machines and Systems - Workforce automation nudges human workers out of rote, repetitive tasks
    3. Computational World - Massive increases in sensors and processing power make the world a programmable system
    4. New Media Ecology - New communication tools require new media literacies beyond text
    5. Superstructed Organizations - Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation
    6. Globally Connected World - Increased global interconnectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the center of organizational operations
  • Ten future work skills:
    1. Sense-Making - ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
    2. Social Intelligence - : ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
    3. Novel and Adaptive Thinking -  proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
    4. Cross-Cultural Competency - ability to operate in different cultural settings
    5. Computational Thinking - ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
    6. New Media Literacy - ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
    7. Transdisciplinarity - literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
    8. Design Mindset - ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
    9. Cognitive Load Management -  ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
    10. Virtual Collaboration -  ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.
  • Implications for Education:
    • Placing additional emphasis on developing skills such as critical thinking, insight, and analysis capabilities
    • Integrating new-media literacy into education programs
    • Including experiential learning that gives prominence to soft skills—such as the ability to collaborate, work in groups, read social cues, and respond adaptively
    • Broadening the learning constituency beyond teens and young adults through to adulthood
    • Integrating interdisciplinary training that allows students to develop skills and knowledge in a range of subjects

The report does a very nice job of showing how the drivers combine with the work skills needed for the future.  I encourage all to read the report (about 12 pages) and think how we are addressing these needs.

A Dozen Economic Facts about Innovation

Brookings has just published a very interesting report, "A Dozen Economic Facts about Innovation", which contains some surprising findings.  The report supports each finding with facts and very insightful graphics, but here are the 12:

  1. Innovation drives economic growth and raises wages. 
  2. Innovation improves U.S. life expectancy. 
  3. Innovation makes technology affordable. 
  4. New organizational structures lead to rising standards of living. 
  5. New household technologies allow for more time for family and leisure. 
  6. The pace of American innovation has slowed during the past four decades. 
  7. Innovation has failed to increase wages for a substantial number of Americans. 
  8. Significant barriers to innovation exist in the government and the private sector. 
  9. Federal support for research & development has declined in recent years. 
  10. Relatively few U.S. college students study fields critical to innovation. 
  11. American women are less likely to continue in STEM fields than American men. 
  12. U.S. policy makes it difficult for international students to stay and work. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Data rEvolution report from the Leading Edge Forum

One of my favorite reports, published once each year, is the Leading Edge Forum in-depth report on a particular subject.  Past reports have been outstanding and very useful in understanding how Information Technology is changing the world.

This year's report, Data rEvolution, has just been published and is available for download.  This report contains many insights for how to manage, utilize, and leverage the "big data" that has arrived.  This is must reading for those who would be CIO's.  

The change coming is dramatic, as illustrated by this chart:

The Data rEvolution explores in-depth, and gives insights in several key areas:
  • Great Expectations: Do More with More (Data) – Howleading organizations living the Data rEvolution are settingnew expectations for getting results from data
  • A Changing Foundation: New Methods to Manage Big Data – new ways to organize and manage massive,diverse data for complex processing using approacheslike MapReduce and Hadoop
  • The New Alchemy: Connecting the Dots – new tools andmethods for establishing relationships and meaning, includingfolksonomies, semantics, link analysis, temporal analysis,location-based services and situational intelligence
  • Enabling the Predictive Enterprise: Strategies toUnderstand, Anticipate and Plan – new ways to achieveinsights through better questions, social discovery, predictiveanalytics, advanced models and analytics for everyone
  • Seeing Is Believing: Visualization and Visual Analytics –new methods of visualization and visual analytics toparse the data and literally see new relationships andinsights on the fly
There are many mentions and examples of how the government participates in leveraging "big data", e.g., climate science and healthcare.  Many business areas are also explored and illustrated.