The Future of Learning is Connected to Work


“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”  Edmund Burke


The future of learning, – it’s what I think about.   What can I do today to help others use learning as a lever for a bigger goal (e.g., get a job or promotion, do their job better, build confidence, help others, etc)?

And the future of learning is more about the future of work than it is about learning. Harold Jarche’s recent post shares this same thought. There are changes in the way we learn because the way we work is changing.

So, how is work changing and how will we learn best in this environment?  If you haven’t given this much thought, here are a few resources to begin learning about why work is changing.  I will add more as I continue to learn myself.

Why is Work Changing

A Phase Change in the Economy?

Steve Denning’s summary article offers an explanation -Joe Stiglitz (and others) think we’re going through a economic phase change.

According to Stiglitz, the banking crisis of 1933 didn’t cause the Great Depression. The financial meltdown reflected a phase change in the economy from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy. The financial meltdown of 1933 was the consequence not the cause of the Great Depression. The joblessness of the times was a sign of the economic phase change already well under way.

Instead the needed transition is from a factory economy to the Creative Economy.

  • The Creative Economy is one in which both manufacturing and services play a role.
  • It is an economy in which the driving force is innovation.
  • It is an economy in which organizations are nimble and agile and continually offering new value to customers and delivering it sooner.
  • The Creative Economy is an economy in which firms focus not on short-term financial returns but rather on creating long-term customer value based on trust. It is described in Chapter 3 of Richard Florida’s classic book, The Rise of the Creative Class (2003).

Most big firms still have a factory mindset oriented to economies of scale. They are focused principally on maximizing short-term shareholder value. They are not organized for continuous innovation. This way of managing is unable to mobilize the full creative talents of their employees.

An Economy That’s Going Back to Where We Started?

Greg Satell offers insights into why work is changing.  He describes how we have transitioned through economic phases from the craft economy to the hacker economy and in a funny way, back to the craft economy.

Many people assume that evolution is about the survival of the fittest.  It’s not.  What really drives evolution is adaptation to changing environments.

An Economy Where Everyone Needs to be a Player?

Bill Drayton and Valeria Budinich say that the agricultural revolution set up a pattern that still exists today.  They believe there is a  a worldwide change in the skills everyone needs to succeed, in the nature of organizations, and in how businesses must be led.

We are transitioning from a world in which a small elite runs everything to a world in which everyone needs to be a player. Don’t take our word for it. Look around you. Which organizations, cities, and institutions are leading the pack? Where are the smart and capable people migrating? Bill Drayton
Is it a Rise of Highly Dynamic & Complex Markets?