The Near Future of Work

As the baby boomers retire and organizational leadership begins to make the shift into the next generation, a functional work environment will come with a significantly different set of required skills for success. Skills such as being trans-disciplinary rather than specialized and adaptive rather than rule driven will determine success. The workforce is already displaying the need for emphasis on such skill sets but finds itself in a state of limbo until the last vestiges of traditional leadership depart.

The infographic below distributed by outlines not only the skills that are projected to be the most important to possess to be successful in the near future (2020) but also identifies the drivers of change responsible for the shift in workforce need such as technology and shifts in organizational structure.

Important Work Skills for 2020

This week Kingbridge would like you to ask yourself: Am I ready for the near ‘future of work’?

Get off the Digital Soapbox

With the internet came the promise of global networks, information sharing and mass collaboration.  There has certainly been some of that but many have taken the reach the internet provides as an invitation to hop on their digital soapbox and bombard users with an excess of ‘push’ messaging.

Jeff Pundyk, vice president, content marketing and strategy, at The Economist Group recently wrote an impressively succinct post on this subject and since I couldn’t possibly say it any better than he I have re – posted below:

Source: Social Media Today

To Be Heard, Turn Down the Volume

What is it about the Internet that has made everybody so sure of themselves?

You’d think the level of disruption during the past 20 years would have had the opposite effect. Instead, the number of people stepping onto their virtual soapboxes and telling the rest of us what to do and think has exploded. They opine with such surety, such clarity, such force.

I love that everybody has access to the tools of publishing and can act like a media company. I’ve spent years encouraging it. But where does all of this certainty come from? How do all of these people have all the answers? Today I come in praise of a little less conviction and a little more listening. The promise of digital is not the soapbox–that’s the very reason old-school media has been so ripe for disruption. It’s the community. It’s the marketplace of ideas. Without more listening, there’s little learning; without meaningful participation, there’s little chance for engagement. Instead, we have self-proclaimed experts self-promoting. We have commenters turning up the volume.

We have noise.

At the risk of sounding somewhat sure of myself, let me softly suggest that for brands, there is a real opportunity to be heard despite the rising noise. Try thinking about digital as a niche medium. Try creating a specialized community where employees, experts, advocates, and those with a shared affinity can mix. Try seeding the community with content, both your own and content from outside sources, to help organize the community into even smaller groups. Try turning down the volume, saying less and listening more.

Ironically, as more so-called experts raise their voices, the value of sharing real expertise has only grown–but now the challenge becomes creating the right context for that sharing. To be a credible thought partner, brands need to know who their real tribes are and learn what they care about. Create a clean, well-lighted place–or, better yet, join one that already exists. Give up a little control. Worry a little less about yourself. Stop being so damn smart and start being a little more human. In an era when everybody seems to be yelling, a little quiet confidence can go a long way.

And with that, I’ll take my own advice and shut up.

On that note, the Kingbridge Insight for this week is to ask you to consider how you/your organization are engaging online.  Are you part of the conversation or part of the noise?

Big Data, Social Physics and the Value of Face to Face Interactions

What has always been the challenge of social scientists?  The limited, unreliable and more often than not subjective data with which the must work.

Well, according to Alex “Sandy” Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and author of Social Physics, computer networks will remedy these shortcomings. Tapping into the data that flows through mobile devices, search engines, social media, and credit card payment systems, scientists will be able to collect precise, real-time and reliable information on the behavior of millions.

Once we have this data Pentland asserts that science will be able to accurately predict how people will behave in a given situation and accurately assess how information flows through a network of individuals.  And once we know how information flows it can be optimized.

In a recent TedX Talk Pentland gives us the mathematical run down on whether social networks and their ability to spread awareness really contribute as much as they say to improving peoples knowledge and decision making.  The assessment is perhaps predictably both yes and no.

There is no doubt that social networks have contributed greatly to global awareness of a great many issues.  However, as Pentland explains his talk social networks tend to create what are referred to as “echos” where the same information is presented over and over again leading to narrowly informed opinions and ultimately decisions.

In addition, a study performed by Pentland and his team within a local organization uncovered that ultimately virtual interactions contributed very little to the ideas generated and used during group decision making and problem solving when compared to the face to face networking within the organization.

The take home message and Kingbridge insight this week; until social scientists can tap that well of raw data waiting for us in server farms around the world, the most effective and productive interactions- particularly within organizations- still occur face to face.  When we are face to face we can read reactions, question and challenge far more effectively than via social platforms.  In person interactions still come out on top when looking for quality group decisions.

Advancing ‘Social’ Technology Improves Healthcare

With technology you have access to information on just about anything and you can collaborate on a myriad of projects and tasks across the globe. Yet, we have virtually no access let alone involvement in our own personal health information and management?

Doctor Leslie Saxon, Chief Cardiologist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine envisions a medical system where patients and doctors become partners in health management.  As Founder of the Dallas CPR Classes and Center for Body Computing, an innovation think tank dedicated to wireless health Saxon believes that advancing digital tools in the medical industry could make tracking heart rate and blood pressure as simple as opening an app on your iPhone or checking your e-mail.

Many patients today, particularly those with cardiovascular distress, are provided implanted digital devices that track heart rate, blood pressure and sense abnormalities.  The information stored on that device however can currently only be read when the patient comes to the hospital to ‘download’.  After which all information is review by a physician and not made available to the patient.  A costly and inefficient system.  Saxon, has taken that technology one step further by partnering with medical device developers to add the ability to access the readings from implanted devices on mobile devices.  Basically, you and your doctor can get real time information anytime and anywhere.  It would be like having an office visit everyday and a complete physical every week without the considerable cost and time.  The data available could predict future injury and allow for preventative action customized to the individual.

The possibilities are endless.  Saxon is also working with BMW to develop a heart rate sensor within the cars steering wheel that will check the drivers vital signs.  Imagine, you get into the car, you are stressed and exhausted, the biometric readout in the car senses this and automatically plays calming music!

The Kingbridge Insight this week is taken from a well known principle of adult education which is that an adult learner requires engagement in both the learning process and the establishment of outcomes.  Lecturing and giving orders without providing the why is rarely effective.  Learning and development professionals have known this for decades and have made great strides in reforming organizational learning.  So why has medicine not done the same?  The doctors hold all the information and serve down dietary restrictions, exercise orders and make out prescriptions without providing adequate information to the patient as to why this is necessary and more importantly without involving the patient in the decision making process, and then are baffled as to why so many patients don’t follow these regimens they have been assigned.  That is not to say the doctors are to blame, the system is flawed.  We know this, and Einstein said it best when he so wisely described insanity as continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.



Are Your Collaborative IT Solutions Working For YOU?

2010 has been labeled the year of collaboration, with most organizations looking to adopt collaborative knowledge sharing and networking solutions to boost productivity and innovation.

As was briefly mentioned last week, the issue is that out of the box software solutions all to often result in the organization changing the way they work to suit the software’s capabilities rather than tailoring the software to meet the organizations needs.

An impressive example of an organization that did it right is Goodwill Industries.  CIO Steve Bergman recognized that with so many decentralized non-profit operations throughout North America and the World that in order to effectively and economically facilitate a community of best practice he would need to introduce a collaborative technology solution.  He did his due diligence, testing the available corporate software solutions and found that none of them was the right ‘fit’ for what he wanted to use it for.  What her really needed was a system that could easilyadapt and integrate into the ever changing needs of his growing organization without breaking the bank! 

So Bergman changed tack, and found an opensource solution that was nearly what Goodwill needed and worked with the opensource programmers to create the collaboration portal MYGoodwill – a customized system that works for Goodwill Industries to satisfy their requirements and capabilities without causing a major restructure of process or requiring extensive training to operate.

I believe this story illustrates how we need to keep sight of the fact that technology is meant to work for us, satisfy our needs, and that often means customization to get it right.  Just as every person is unique so is every organization and their needs can’t all be satisfied out of the same box.

Watch a video interview with Steve Bergman

Stumble Upon It!

ads_promo1Today, as it happens, I stumbled upon “StumbleUpon” which I think is most simply described as TiVo for the Internet.  

StumbleUpon uses  thumbup/ thumbdown ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages that friends and like-minded stumblers have recommended. This helps you discover great content you probably wouldn’t find using a search engine.

StumbleUpon offers nearly 500 topics/interests to choose from so each Stumble produces only the most relevant content. StumbleUpon delivers increasingly relevant content as the Toolbar learns (like TiVo learns) what the user has liked in the past and continues to present quality web sites in the future.

Similar to Digg for news stories applied to the entire World Wide Web – could StumbleUpon be the beginning of the end for traditional search engines?

Crowdsourcing in Action

Yesterday, Febrary 5, The Kingbridge Centre as a member of IACC (International Association of Conference Centres) hosted a crowdsourcing session to determine what our clients are really looking for in a conference centre with the intention of course correcting accordingly.

Although not an Earth changing topic, the session did reveal areas that perhaps require more attention and others that require less in the mind of the consumer.   And isn’t that what we are here for: to please the consumer?

It amazes me that something so simple as asking your target audience what they expect from a product or service is so infrequently practiced.  A lot of companies spend a lot of time, effort and marketing dollars to tell us what we need or want yet seldom ask.  The success stories of organizations that place their efforts in sourcing what their customers want (Amazon, Starbucks, iStockPhoto and more recently Dell and HP) have seen exponential growth and increased customer loyalty. 


So why doesn’t every organization do it?
Habit?  Disbelief?  Arrogance?  Fear?
You tell me.

Tweet While You Meet!

twitter_logo_278151120_stdWant to add an element of collective intelligence to your next meeting or conference?  Incorporate inputs from the global community on Twitter!

How often in a meeting or conference have you been participating in a conversation, listening to a presentation or in the midst of the decision making process and thought to yourself “I wish I knew someone with experience to ask or consult”?  Well, simply tweet you inquiry and you will be surprised how many experts you’ll know in a very short period of time! This approach is also effective as an accuracy barometer for content – information at the speed of DSL!  A perfect example of this can be found here, where a conference participant tells of one experience where twitter was a more accurate and engaging source for information than the conference presenters.

In addition to sourcing information and consulting with experts, Twitter is also a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your meeting strategies – as you are executing them.  Imagine, you have prepared a learning activity for your group that you believe is very clear and engaging but as you watch the tweets roll in from  your participants you can quickly gauge whether a course correction is in order.  This far surpasses the traditional meeting evaluation that occurs at the meetings conclusion when the comments will be less candid and conscise because they are no longer in the moment.

Meeting Planners have begun to use Web 2.o applications such as online surveys to engage meeting delegates in the planning and evaluation process, they now need to forge forward and embrace microblogging as a means to continue the process of delegate interaction during the event.  This article “Twitter for Event Planners” is a basic orientation to the application and how to use it effectively for meetings and conferences.

Whether you choose to utilize Twitter to harness information and heighten engagement in your conferences or not, the conversation is happening!


We’ve heard it before with the advent of the Kindle but this time it could be true – the end of the paper book could very well be upon us.

November 2007, we were told that the Kindle would revolutionize reading and end production of the paper book.  In reality however, this generation of e-readers are not as popular as anticipated due mostly to the aesthetics of the reading experience.  These devices use E Ink, a black and white display which is fine for text but incompatible with images, and other display options.

Enter Blio, a new e-reading software entirely unlike the others.  Created by Ray Kurzweil prolific inventor and author of The Singularity is Near, Blio isn’t a device it is a ‘platform’ designed to run on any device from your home PC to your moblie – eliminating the need for additional devices.  Blio sports some impressive features including with full colour graphical display, 2 page view, 3D page turning and web interface, making it a compatible interface for any kind of book from instructional text to childrens illustrated stories vs. it’s text onlycompetitors.  The application is free to download and the books can be downloaded directly from either the Blio website or the application itself.


Not surprisingly this advancement in technology has come about as a result of a collaborative venture.  Ray Kurzweil and his enterprise Kurzweil Technologies has a joint venture with the National Federation of the Blind called knfb Reading Technology to create reading products for people with disabilities. knfb Reading is the company that has created Blio and most certainly done so with every possible user in mind.

To learn more about Blio visit

Social Media for Social Good

Imagine if there were 300 million police officers on the road everyday.  How easy would it be to track down a criminal?  How quickly could we find a missing child?  Social Media has the potential to fill the gap!

Monday December 7th, 2009 The New York Times published this article; With Lure of Cash, M.I.T. Group Builds a Balloon-Finding Team to Take Pentagon Prize written by John Markoff.  The intro to the article caught my attention as another example of how social and collaborative networks have the capacity to leverage exponentially the power of information:

A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology edged out about 4,300 other teams on Saturday in a Pentagon-sponsored contest to correctly identify the location of 10 red balloons distributed around the United States.

The contest, which featured a $40,000 prize, was organized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in an effort to develop new ways to understand how information is disseminated through social networks.

The winning group, a small team at the M.I.T. Media Laboratory Human Dynamics Group led by a physicist, Riley Crane, took just eight hours and 56 minutes to complete the challenge.”

Essentially, using an accuracy based cash reward system and a social networking website the team was able to gather intelligence as to the location of the balloons all accros the country in just under 9 hours.

Now imagine the potential to utilize social networks to locate a missing child or a wanted criminal!  Imagine the locations pinpointed by the network users being fed into a mapping application, the validity of the locals could then be statistically tested for accuracy.  It would literally be like having an entire population of volunteer police officers!

Having said that, the motivation in this case was cash so that lends the question would the volume and accuracy of response be comparabe if the motive was altruism?  A team of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) scientists tested this question and found that “In the final results all of the motives seemed to be effective,”

With that, my only remaining question is “When are we going to put this into action?”