Why Machines Won’t Displace Human Workers in the Knowledge Economy is a short thought experiment, in the spirit of all Noodles, which was in response to a post in Wired. In Here’s How to Keep the Robots From Stealing Our Jobs, John Hagel posited that a major rationale for the Knowledge Economy firm would be its role as a “knowledge platform” that enabled people to accelerate their learning and productivity. I highly recommend the post, which sparked many intelligent comments.
It’s obvious that many people are having difficulties imagining the world toward which we are hurtling, a world in which machines are getting “smarter” and able to “compete” for work roles that humans now do. In writing The Social Channel App, I thought long and hard about the Knowledge Economy and people’s roles in it, and its main thesis is that everything, from states and enterprises to people and products, will be differentiated in the Social Channel and that “humanness” will assume a much more visible importance in the economy.
The rise of design signaled the fall of Nokia, RIM and Motorola describes how engineering is becoming less important in distinguishing hightech and other products from each other. It also presages a seismic shift away from product towards customer experience in determining market leaders for people-oriented products and services. A very large portion of product companies will follow in the footsteps of these three former mobile phone titans unless they transform their focus from product features (engineering) to customer experience (design).
By no means do I imply that engineering is not important—in fact, it is more important than ever—I assert that it is less important than design in differentiating people-oriented products. Engineering is abstracted away from the customer/user of the product, and design explicitly addresses how the customer uses the product to attain outcome(s).
Design is to the Knowledge Economy what engineering was to the Industrial Economy.
Omni-Channel Retail, Mobile and Big Data offers tantalizing glimpses into current and future omni-channel retail trends and technologies. I “sat down” with three thought leaders and a crowd of smart people on AllAnalytics’ real-time webcast, which featured real-time Q&A with the panelists afterward. You can watch it here.
Panelists Dr. Erik Brynjolfsson, Dr. Yu Jeffrey Hu and Dr. Mohammad Saifur Rahman collaborate on numerous projects, and they are intensely interested in retail transformation. They also referenced one of their recent papers, Competing in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing, and I have added some of its points here as well. The webcast was well moderated by AllAnaytics’ Noreen Seebacher and Beth Schultz.
Although it wasn’t discussed in depth, I observe that big data is especially poignant to retailers for two reasons: they have extremely rich internal, proprietary transaction data on customers (loyalty cards, credit cards, returns information, call center information, service information) and retail customers are the most free-wheeling online. Retail customers discuss their experiences in situations in which they use most types of products. This gives retailers priceless information: […]
Ron May, 1956-2013
Ron May Digital Social Pioneer, and the notorious Chicago hightech commentator and analyst, died on 23 June 2013. Since I knew Ron longer and better than many people, I’ll reflect on what I knew of his life and considerable gifts and contributions. Above all, I’ll try to convey what Ron taught me about the digital world, where he was a pioneer among pioneers.
I met Ron in late 1996 in Dick Reck’s office at KPMG, when The May Report was fledging. It was obvious that he was unusually smart and passionate and motivated, and I learned that these traits were the foundation of Ron May the person. Ron May cared, and he had strong opinions. He had a brilliant inquisitive mind and indefatigable energy. I had a few conversations with Ron about his health over the years, and I suspect that it had a large impact on how he felt and interacted in public.