Analyst Report: Defining work in the digital age: an analysis by GigaOM Pro


The future of work is already here. It is just already distributed, one might say. The freelance economy, microtasking, mobile workers, coworking spaces, crowdsourcing: All of these point to how work is increasingly shifting from the 20th-century model of Taylorism (think scientific management applied to labor processes such as assembly- line production and fixed workplaces) to a more flexible, hyperspecialized and connected workforce.

The current norms and practices are increasingly coming under direct assault by a myriad of social and technological forces that are rapidly eroding business as usual. To be competitive and successful in the future business world, individual workers and entire organizations and firms will have to master new skills in the data sciences and the ability to work in a cooperative or collaborative fashion (in contrast to competition’s being the primary driving force). These same tools may ultimately transform not only how work is accomplished but also the form of the organizations themselves.

Further, at the heart of the future of work and the future firm will be the role of information and how we collect it, manage it, share it and ultimately move from data to information and knowledge to the wisdom that will drive the next generation of innovative products and services.

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. The New Workforce: Where Social, Data and Hyperspecialization Meet – by Jody Ranck
    1. Past & present
    2. The pull of the future
    3. From firm to platform
    4. It’s the network, stupid
    5. Data, the new currency and organizational intelligence
    6. Data and technologies in the future of work
    7. The role of knowledge
  3. The role of organizations, employees and managers in the new workplace – by Larry Hawes
    1. The role of organizations
    2. The role of individual workers
    3. The role of managers
    4. Acclimating to the new world of work
    5. Selected bibliography
  4. Consumer design in the enterprise – by Thomas Vander Wal
    1. Shifts in devices
    2. Shifts in apps and services
    3. Putting work and collaboration into the hands of users
    4. Coming around to the consumer-design focus
  5. Work media and social cognition — by Stowe Boyd
    1. Human beings are more social than you think
    2. Sharing status makes us happy
    3. Streaming increases learning
    4. Increasing social density increases innovation
    5. A new state of mind and culture
    6. Working out loud
  6. Beyond social: the crowd-based enterprise – by David Coleman
    1. The value of social
    2. Community, crowds, and social networks
    3. The characteristics of a crowd
      1. Symmetry
      2. Engagement
      3. Purpose
      4. Process and direction
      5. Unconscious and conscious crowds
      6. Heterogeneousness
      7. Opportunistic behavior
      8. Critical mass, or tipping point
    4. The future of work
    5. New business models
    6. Appendix A: redefining Metcalfe’s law
  7. About the authors

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