Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Future of Knowledge Workers, a Survey

Termite Fishing: Collaborative Learning?

KM World magazine has a two-part report on a survey about the future of knowledge workers. Done by George Washington University and the Institute of Knowledge and Innovation it surveyed 125 professionals and executives. Executives and senior managers constituted nearly half of the respondents.

As you might expect, the top type of work in the future will be collaborative work (global consultancy, project design team, etc.).

The top rated skills for a young knowledge worker were team/collaborative skills followed specialized technical skills. The skills for future leadership were project management as the highest skill and expertise, followed by strategy and strategic thinking, and specialized expertise.

The top priority for new technology to support knowledge workers was collaboration tools. The range of tools described is daunting for an IT shop to integrate and support (from enhanced e-mail, search and portals infrastructure, virtual workspace tools and information processing tools for visualization, expertise location and business intelligence). Find that package in one integrated reliable software package!

For the future manager, enabling better decision-making and leadership support through content analysis and sense-making tools and business intelligence capabilities was identified. Those experienced in sense-making and business intelligence would likely argue that while software can help in illustrating trends and issues, the real work of sense-making and business intelligence is one of appropriately facilitated and focused conversations.

No one seemed to identify the challenge of on-going learning and tools that support learning, especially for new knowledge workers. While e-learning software may have reached the "trough of disillusionment", the challenge will be more acute in the future.

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