Posts Tagged ‘Futures’

Future of Digital Reqruitment, Employment and Work

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Today I have some ideas for you that could revolutionize the way you do business.

ishot 27 Future of Digital Reqruitment, Employment and WorkWhat facinates me is how quickly the traditional recruitment processes are getting inefficient and old because of the emergence of new digital tools for matching open jobs with potential providers. It is already well known that everything that could be automated, will be automated. Outsourcing of repetitive work to machines or outsourcing partners is not new. But how about your own employees? The workforce of the future is a netforce, mobilized through the internet to participate in organizational tasks and processes upon need.

In an uncertain environment companies keep underused people on a payroll because they may need them very soon again. Outsourcing tasks is often a cumbersome management problem of finding the right providers, working out deals and keeping up with the quality of deliverables.

Utilization rate may be very low for certain people working for an organization. A good example might be advertising agencies: the company’s real core asset is the ability to conceptualize new ideas for marketing and communication and sell them to a customer, yet a lot of flash coders, graphic designers and copywriters sit underused with lack of projects on sight. At best, the additional time is used to work on pitching new customers.

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Pitches for a Job at Elance.com

Digital recruitment processes will change this. Reqruitment markets like Elance.com, RentACoder, Guru.com, oDesk and designer support services like iStockPhoto and 99Designs in combination with latest digital working environments may as well change the world of reqruitment and how routine work is carried out. On-demand online workforce will help coping with uncertainty through decreased overhead and transaction costs. The end result will be increased efficiency, reduction of labour costs and falling prices. In other words, comptetive advantages.

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Provider Profile at Elance.com

New business models will emerge, where a company employs only effective communicators, such as key account managers, (online) collaboration experts and creative problem solvers. The value of work done alone will drop dramatically. The work that used to be predictable and based on expertise grounded in training and repetition will be outsourced and will start to move freely between organizations. The new netforce will work for multiple employers at one time and be available on-demand. Such an organization will become small, flat and agile like nanotechnology, although the turnover per employee may rise dramatically.

It will be easy to compare potential providers and individuals, because other organizations will do the evaluation for you. Digital CVs will include dynamic real-time performance indicators based on peer-reviews from other organizations. No more endless interviews with potential employees who selectively expose to your their past activities and try to cast as optimistic picture as possible about themselves. No more probation times, headhunters, psychological tests or other resource intensive practices for finding out if someone is good for you or not. The digital reqruitment environments will do the work for you automatically.

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Skills comparison at Elance.com

And if this is not enough for you, throw in crowdsourcing. Outsource repetitive small tasks and even idea generation to an unknown group of people through the internet. Starbucks is using MyStarbucksIdea to generate new ideas on how to improve their services and products. Amazon not just outsources your servers and data, but also helps you with people in the machine with a service called Amazon Mechanical Turk, a name inspired by a legend of an ancient machine that could play chess. A finnish company called Microtask is working on something they call cloud labor. They promise to split work assignments into tiny tasks and distribute these around the world with automatic logistics and quality control.

Do you really have the option not to consider netforce in the cloud as a competitive advantage? If it’s not you who does this, one of your competitors might as well.

Library services for the future

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Today I delivered an opening keynote at Developing Public Library Services for the Future at Ministry of Education, Finland. The audience consisted of library directors and specialists from all around Europe.

Here are the slides, a nice remix of some new, recent and past work:

Some of my advice for libraries:

  • Focus on the end-user and customer experience, not just the information.
  • Look beyond first hand metadata, to second party recommendations and third-party metadata.
  • Utilize open data more, build interfaces for people to do mashups with.
  • Transform the library facility to something that encourages participation or new reasons to go to a library.
  • Build mobile applications to locate books and get instant social navigation to library books on-location and online.
  • Understand the changing framework, not just the the (changing) content.
  • Don’t do the mistake of replicating libraries online as it is. They already did the mistake of replicating the classroom online.
  • The web is not a destination, but a network of decentralized components. Harness the network properties.
  • Look at QR-codes or similar cheap technologies and stamp them into every book for contextual information.
  • Look into mass-customization: how to customize the library experience to each individual regarding recommendations etc.
  • Understand the technological, social and economical drivers for future developments.
  • Rethink the virtual visit to complement physical visits.
  • Look into user-generated taxonomies (folksonomies), information visualization and new ways for “putting the same book in multiple shelves”.
  • Understand contextuality provided by the web and how to tap into it from the library perspective.
  • Stop watching TV and work on (the next) wikipedia.
  • What augmented reality applications could libraries develop/use?
  • Involve the net generation or experts from outside your own field for rethinking the justification for your existence.

Google’s mission is the same as libraries have had for centuries. It’s time to understand digital convergence in new ways.

The end is near…of industrial production

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

“The future of sharing is near, and physical” reads on the front page of The Pirate Bay today.

The link points at a 3D printer called RepRap that can replicate itself. Yes, it’s a printer that can print out its own design.

“[RepRap] has been called the invention that will bring down global capitalism, start a second industrial revolution and save the environment…”
– The front page of The Guardian, November 25, 2006.

The technology has been around for a while, but what makes the device interesting is that it costs 500 dollars to build yourself.

In the future you will go to The Pirate Bay, download a 3D model of Louis Vuitton’s latest bag and print it right out to give to your girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. The chinese factories for pirate goods will go out of business. In short term, they will switch to supplying the market with 3D scans of high-demand goods from all around the world, thus catalyzing the big switch. Stuff will flow into sweat factories, not out.

If you think The Pirate Bay is in the center of a generational shift and cultural transformation, check back again once the 3D models start flooding in. People who will be upset next will be designers, craftsmen, architects, manufacturers and those who supply the market with competitive traditional distribution channels.

Even more interesting will be the creativity of individuals who now with abundant access to virtual models of original physical designs, will create mashups unleashing iterations of cultural artefacts and cultural advancement never seen before by mankind.

In fact, the good itself is not going to be interesting anymore. A new page will turn that depicts the emergence of new behavioral patterns around objects. The mobile phone turns into a device for controlling a web of objects. The objects that we care share a history with us that has been digitally recorded, broadcasted, stored and linked with our surroundings. We will index our environment like maniac librarians.

The bottom line is that our current lifestyle of using material goods is not sustainable. We have to go for it, despite the Luddites who reject the new technology because of it’s potential short term negative consequences. The trade-off is far too great for this opportunity to be missed.

The manufacturers in the world of 3D-printers will be in the same situation where record labels are with digital filesharing or where mainframe manufacturers were with the advent of personal computers. New business models will emerge from this friction, rebuilding new avenues that will propel us right out of the galaxy – or inside our own minds and bodies as we start experimenting with bio technology.

The Pirate Bay for bionics will appear.

I would be leeching and mashing up artificial life and cyborg body extensions. If that doesn’t anger someone, then I don’t know what could. At that very moment I would be ready to upload myself to the digital planetary consciousness just to escape the political nightmare.

Go and read Bruce Sterling‘s Shaping Things for more.

Horizon Report (+finnish presentation)

Monday, May 11th, 2009

New Media Consortium (NMC) supports around 300 learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and emerging technologies. Operating mainly in North America but also internationally, NMC releases every year their flagship analysis of the future of technology in education called the Horizon Report. Last round (2009 edition) I was part of the expert board consisting of around 45 people from all around the world who have something to say about the role of technology in education in the next few years.

I did a presentation about the Horizon Report findings at the International Technology in Education (ITK) conference in Hämeenlinna, Finland. NMC Director Larry Johnson was kind enough to participate virtually on stage with me. In the presentation I go through six main trends and give my own take on these:

  • Within a year: Mobiles and Cloud Computing
  • 2-3 years: Personal Web and Geo-Everything
  • 4-5 years: Semantic-aware Appliations and Smart Objects

The slides and the video recording are available below. For english speaking readers some of the slides are in english.

View more presentations from Teemu Arina.

Using social technologies to run better events

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Today I had an online presentation to a group of people enthusiastic about re-imagining the role of events and how to improve the traditional format, perhaps even with social technologies. I gave my own opening presentation entitled “Using Social Technologies to Run Better Events”.Here is the abstract:

Most conferences are organized and provided from the top down. Social technologies, peer-production and open innovation models provide new opportunities for people to organize events from the bottom up. Social media applications can support event planners and participants before, during and after the event. Many alternative approaches exist, but most of them still demand a lot of technical skills, vision and labor from the part of organizers. There are also a lot of interesting concepts for running more participative events physically and how things might connect to virtual environments, but the information is scattered around the web. In my presentation I will go through some of the most interesting concepts, ideas and tools for running better, digitally mediated events. I have applied some of these principles for a project called Bantora, that I’ve been working on lately. Early on in the development we paid attention to what happens before an event: how people find each other online and turn their passion and ideas into great events. Everything starts and ends as digital. In this presentation I will go through lessons learned about the role of social media at events and how to make the best out of it. Finally, I would like to present a vision of how better events could fundamentally change the way we interact and do our work.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Here are the slides and the recording is already available here (57min), recorded with Adobe Connect. Please provide feedback below.

In the presentation I also point at one of my projects called Bantora, that we opened last week for public beta. Bantora is about events++, making better events, time/space extended events, events that utilize social technologies and just get more of the good stuff out there. Keep in mind that we are just starting there, a lot of corners might be a bit rough, things are evolving in the next few months but we definitely would like to hear your feedback on how it could be improved.

This event (Spaces for Interaction) comes obviously at the right time regarding my personal interests. Maybe it’s about time for x-events to become a reality?

I would be interested in if someone knows about some other cool non-traditional face-to-face methods or some creative uses of social technologies at events that I have missed. Anything interesting coming to mind?