A working-day of a knowledge worker in 2030

1/12/2011 | Christian Kreutz

Let’s say one day you arrive at work – a mainly knowledge-driven organization, such as a consultancy, where you don't have an office, not even a position, nor a particular function. So to start your day, you first get a selection of all projects, ideas and problems that your organization is dealing with at the moment.

Half of your working day is already subscribed to ongoing projects, and the other half you could jump into something new. You look at various open tasks, questions, ideas or requests for solutions – all these items have a chronology of contributions and interactions. You can see what has been already done and what is needed.  You find an interesting challenge, estimate the working time and send an invitation to a colleague, who has the skills and might be interested on working together on it.

Now, you have 20% of the day left. You take a look in your competence section and see several questions and help requests for topics. You pick a few tasks, which you can solve quickly and teach others how to do it themselves next time. The daily work plan is done and you go on to a workspace, where colleagues are gathered to work on your main project.

By the way, instead of having a boss, you have different scores you give yourself on your work performance. You might prefer the creativity score, which gives you a lot of time to find solutions and to push for innovations. Or you focus your work on your teaching score, which is evaluated by your colleagues. Or you pick another score, which fits best your working style. And to top it all, strategies do not exist either. This is done by a prediction market.

Is that absurd?

Maybe to an organization it is, but the social web pretty much works with this concept. Many people engage that way. After they have left the office, they privately engage in the social web. Take a look at the newest hyped tool Quora, which is basically a questions and answers tool.

  • You can ask any questions.
  • It is horizontal. Everybody can answer or edit questions (collaborate).
  • You gain reputation (score) in many different ways: As your questions are followed up, the answers move up to a higher ranking, or when people vote your question moves up.
  • You can also address questions to certain people or invite others to answer and so on.

Quora also has an interesting solution to find information from within the ocean of questions. Words of questions become key words (tags), which are then associated with similar questions and clustered under one topic. Imagine such a thing in an organization. You would create organically an organizational wisdom. Why cannot whole projects be organized in such a fashion?

Of course that nice set of features does not automatically lead us to the utopian first part, but maybe it can contribute to it. If we look at the incredible inefficient and non-creative problem solutions capacities of organizations and companies and can overcome the cultural resistance, such open collaboration form would bring us closer to the utopian first part, where you work what you really want.