Sep 30, 2004

shaking off the shackles of the industrial revolution



Bill Ives of the Portals and KM blog notices my post on my weekend musings and refers to his similar thoughts and talks about a video titled "Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Nations,” produced by the Open University in the UK which referred to the Industrial Revolution as an intellectual bubonic plague, the narrative says that people were now treated as interchangeable cogs and wealth was now based primarily on physical assets. It then attributes the world’s wars and other evils to this movement. Bill also points to Charles Handy's thoughts that in a post-industrial economy, it is people that have knowledge who own the new means of production, turning Marx’s prediction on its head. He points out that this change from an industrial to a know-based economy requires a new approach to management. Managers now must understand and operate under the principal that the unique knowledge that employees bring to work is the key competitive differentiator. But in many instances, management (and I guess he refers to not just people's attitudes, but organizational processes and policies also [what else can explain Friendster firing Troutgirl? !!]) has not caught up to the new economy. Read on to see how such an attitude can hamper KM and Collaboration efforts.

And once we say collaboration, we are talking about all creative processes (and most of administrative processes) in organizations. So this legacy of the 18 century still impacts our productivity and success in the 21st century. Whoever said that history's burden was an easy one to shrug off?