Back into the Future of Work: What’s knowledge management got to do with it?

  • Year: January 14 2023
Description:

Crisis What …. (Poly)crisis?

In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, organizations are confronted with wicked problems – those that are complex, open-ended and unpredictable. Over the past decades, wicked problems have in actual fact increased both in intensity and/or number (e.g. the COVID - 19 crises). The growing wickedness of societal and economic problems has also become a structural aspect of the organizational landscape. Consequently, more organizations need to be (re)designed to be able to to enhance their flexibility, adaptability, agility and resilience as this might help to anticipate and respond to severe environmental shocks, such as pandemic or a polycrisis.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023 uses the term polycrisis, to explain how, “present and future risks can also interact with each other to form a ‘polycrisis’ – a cluster of related global risks with compounding effects, such that the overall impact exceeds the sum of each part”. This Global Risks report (WEF, 2023) draws a link between the cost-of-living crisis, the failure to mitigate the climate crisis and the growing pressure on finite resources as a potential catalyst for such an event. The question arises how to navigate out of such a polycrisis? The basic challenge for such a transformation or crisis is that no matter how positive the goal or purpose ….‘things get worse before they get better (Maslach & Leiter, 2022).”

The greatest danger… to become ‘mentally out of breath’.

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people were forced to shift their lives and work into a ‘digital everything’-mode. Historically, pandemics have forced people to break with both the past and the present in order to refocus their view on the world. While the pandemic caused human tragedies and imposed severe restrictions on all aspects of organizations’ and people’s daily lives, it also provided a unique opportunity to conduct thousands of ‘forced’ experiments, innovate to some extent, develop new skills that could be applied to discover new – unforeseen and unknown – opportunities.
The full impact of the shift to remote and hybrid work which the pandemic inspired may take years to understand. A crisis often lowers the resistance to transform and therefore forces people to act - and stimulates organizations to get rid of deeply entrenched, dysfunctional practices that would be difficult to shed in ‘normal times.’ It helps to let old habits die easier.

The biggest threat…

People who operate with a fixed mindset, the theory (Dweck, 2006) are more likely to stick to activities that utilize skills they’ve already mastered, rather than risk embarrassment by failing at something new. People focused on growth make it their mission to learn new things, understanding that they won’t succeed at all of them at first: a fixed mindset will limit you and a growth mindset can move you forward.
The biggest threat is that people become irrelevant and therefore feel they are of no value.

Back into the Future of “Anyway, Anyhow, Anytime, Anywhere – Work”: You’re office is where you are

Recently GitLab – an all remote company - has made a fundamental shift from an on - site presence work mindset towards an anyway, anyhow, anytime, anywhere– mindset. Organizations have been flirting with remote working since the 1970s and 1980s. For example, in 1985 the authors Stone & Luchetti (1985) stated that the design of (office) workplaces should take into account the concept of what the futurist Alvin Toffler called "electronic cottages". In this kind of (home) offices is a white-collar office employee connected through a computer to the office so that he or she can work from home. At the time, this was considered a valuable vision of the office of the future. The article was therefore titled "You're office is where you are". In 2020 - 35 years later – due to the Covid 19 pandemic ‒the promise of organizing and designing office work according to the concept "You're office is where you are" has become a reality. After all, the phrase “work is what we do, not where we do it” has transformed itself into “work is what we do, we reimagine and where space dominates place.

The quest for classifying office/knowledge workers

See: sheet 8.

The usability of pre – and post work showering rhetoric

There is a distinction between hybrid/remote deskwork (pre-work showering) and deskless work (post-work showering).
Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people were forced to shift their lives and work into a ‘digital everything’-mode. Early in the pandemic many people distinguished between “essential workers” and all others. Who are these ‘essential workers’? They are nearly all deskless workers (Bersin, 2021). Deskless workers drive on human interaction. They chose their profession because of face-to-face contact with others. Managers of deskless workers are often disconnected from the work itself and have limited insights into the interactions and behaviors of their team members, because they themselves are usually desk bound. According to Bersin (2021), the deskless employee experience needs to be designed in parallel with hybrid work.

No remote > Hybrid > All remote > Strictly remote?

As hybrid work is idiosyncratic, every organization has to find its ‘own rhythm’, and design its ‘own hybrid collaborating organization’( Van der Velden & Lekanne Deprez, 2023) to improve its performance, employee involvement and innovation power.
Asynchronous meetings are discussions about a specific topic that are held over a defined period of time, just like other meetings, but where the participants do not necessarily communicate in real-time. It is when two or more people communicate without having to be “present” at the same time.
Employees want more choice and control over how, when, and where they work. Flexible work is associated with increased productivity and focus, not less. If employers respond by measuring worker performance and productivity by how many hours employees spend in the office (i.e. the old industrial mindset) , they’re likely to drive away top talent and miss the opportunity to increase productivity.(Future Forum Pulse, October 2022).

Is hybrid work here to stay … or is hybrid work a middle-of-the road approach doomed to fail? The challenges of working and living in hybrid world of workt

Employees want more choice and control over how, when, and where they work. Flexible work is associated with increased productivity and focus, not less. If employers respond by measuring worker performance and productivity by how many hours employees spend in the office (i.e. the old industrial mindse) , they’re likely to drive away top talent and miss the opportunity to increase productivity (Future Forum Pulse, October 2022).
Flexibility is highly desired, second only to compensation when it comes to workplace satisfaction. But while most conversations about workplace flexibility have centered on location - where people work - the question of when people work may be even more significant. While 80% of global desk-based workers say they want location flexibility, 94% say they want schedule flexibility” (Future Forum Pulse, October 2022, p.12).

The challenges of working and living in hybrid world of work

Rather than considering work and life to be two separate entities that need balancing and are forever in competition (i.e. work - life balance), organizations shift to work - life harmonization accepting work as a part of life. In order to ‘get a life’ each of us has to challenge the status quo by negotiating a set of unique radical flexibility options. Mortensen & Edmonson (2023) suggest to offer employees more than flexibility by rethinking the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This proposition includes four interrelated factors: Material offerings, opportunities to develop and grow, opportunities to develop and grow, and meaning and purpose. According to Chen (2022-2023), do employees who value work as an identity often portray work as a fundamental part of who they are — they want to live their purpose, causes and beliefs through their work. These employees often find it important for friends and family to know what they work on, as it is a reflection of their identity.

Realizing value through sharp thinking: What’s knowledge MANAGEMENT got to do with it?

As hybrid work is idiosyncratic, every organization must discover its ‘own’ hybrid work collaborating organization to improve its performance, employee involvement and innovation power (Ven der Velden & Lekanne Deprez, 2023). An organization has to be challenged to experiment it’s way forward using Frank’s Mantra:

‘Imagine it, experiment it, prototype it, fail it, analyze it, design it, do it, test it, reflect on it, improve it, and reimagine it (Lekanne Deprez, 2021)’

Realizing value through sharp thinking:

What’s knowledge management got to do with it?

Upskilling involves identifying the skills that will be most valuable in the future and doing knowledge management by bridging knowledge gaps: turning actionable knowledge into value. Across the U.S. economy, large-scale changes in work are occurring because of skills disruption: the constant re-invention of work driven by the vigorous, accelerating demand for new skills in virtually all jobs, and the spread of those skills across industries and around the world. In the past half decade, the average U.S. worker has had to replace or upgrade over a third (37%) of their skills simply to keep up with the demands of their occupation (Dawson et al, 2022).

Conclusion

Throughout transitions from in-person to remote into hybrid work environments, knowledge management practitioners are faced never-before-seen challenges. In the current knowledge management practice, the reality is that knowledge becomes obsolete the moment it is created. That’s why:
“I hope this speech and the successful completion of the Knowledge Management Practitioner Certification Course will lead to a personal value proposition creating a flow of valuable knowledge that will generate meaningful results (Lekanne Deprez, 2023).”

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez (2023) Back into the Future of Work: What’s knowledge management got to do with it?

Audience: Graduates of the Knowledge Management Practitioner Certification Course, Manila, The Philippines (Zoom – Meeting), January, 14.

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The Rise of Work Ecosystems. Maximize human contributions.

  • Year: 16 June 2021
Description:

In the early days of the Covid 19 – Pandemic, everybody was working from home was in reality home alone… trying to get some work done. The pandemic reduced people’s comfort with physical interactions at home, at work & in society, but it has supercharged people’s presence in the digital world of connecting to and collaborating with people from inside and outside the organization in different time zones….Working and Living From Anywhere (WLFA). It was to be expected that even if things were to return to ”normal” quickly, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to leave permanent marks on organization design . Every time an organization switches direction, it alters its organization design to deliver the hoped for results.

Working remotely during the pandemic crises made us aware that a formal “office as a place” is no longer needed to make work, work. Work is what we do – not where we do it . An office can be regarded as a space within a larger work ecosystem . A work ecosystem is a network of connected (work) spaces – hybrid and remote – that deliver valuable outcomes through maximizing human contributions by putting people first people first and let people elevate each other by embracing a WLFA (Work & Life From Anyspace) - mindset.

  1. Kevin Sneader (2021, P.4) : “The rise of digital will affect the future of work in several ways, and it is important to understand each of them. The work-from-home experiment sometimes gets discussed as if it applies to everybody, but let’s remember that it primarily pertains to advanced economies. Only about 25 percent of workers can do their jobs three days a week or more without being on-site. This is a group that takes a shower before they go to work. We cannot forget that most people take a shower after they have been at work, and there is a risk of a growing divide between those two groups.”
    In: McKinsey & Company (2021) The eight trends that will define 2021- and beyond, June , pp 1 -6.
  2. Foss, N.J. (2021). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on firms’ organizational designs. Journal of Management Studies, 58(1) 270 -274.
  3. Wahi et al(2020). The future of work, part one: Work us an ecosystem. Retrieved from
  4. Wahi, N. et al.(2021) The future of work, part two: Eight Characteristics of effective work ecosystems. Retrieved from: Work us an ecosystem. Retrieved from
Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez (2021) The Rise of Work Ecosystems. Maximize human contributions. ESTI – conference: Human Centric Ecosystems, June 16, High-Tech Campus, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

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“If you don’t know how to disrupt your organization, someone else will.”

  • Year: 1 december 2015
Description:

Bent u voldoende ‘disturbed’ en is uw bedrijf vatbaar voor disruptie? Disruptief is alles wat we nog niet bedacht c.q. gedaan hebben. Het disruptief organiseren van de (digitale) data -, informatie – en kennisstromen waardoor op een unieke, onderscheidende wijze diensten, producten en processen kunnen worden aangeboden is van levensbelang voor organisaties. Er zijn de afgelopen tijd dan ook vele nieuwe (dis)organisatievormen ontstaan die hierop inspelen. Kenmerkend voor deze ‘alerte organisatievormen’ is dat er afscheid wordt genomen van de zgn. ‘silo – mentaliteit’. Silo’s zijn divisies, afdelingen, departementen , teams en groepen die onafhankelijk van elkaar werken en geen behoefte hebben aan collaboratieve samenwerkingsvormen, het formuleren van gemeenschappelijke ambities e.d. Mensen die opgroeien in ‘silo organisaties’ – die vaak functioneel en volgens een strikt hiërarchische structuur zijn ontworpen en ingericht - zijn terughoudend met het uitwisselen van data, informatie en kennis; het investeren in duurzame relaties met andere units etc.
Tijdens deze bijeenkomst zal Frank Lekanne Deprez ingaan op:

  • Hoe ga je de silo – mentaliteit binnen een organisatie te lijf?
  • “Disturb yourself before disrupting your organization”
  • Is het een disruptie dan wel een evolutie of ‘dematurity’?
  • Hoe het frame met de 7 verschijningsvormen van disrupties kan helpen bij het van te voren signaleren van een disruptie
  • Een viertal cases (‘verhematisering’ van de notarissen, ‘sodexotisering’ van de zorg; voulez – vous diner avec moi en de belastingdienst)
  • Het frame van de 7 verschijningsvormen van een disruptie toepassen op de eigen organisatie van de deelnemer.
Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez (ZeroSpace Advies BV) presenteerde op uitnodiging van Flevum op 1 december 2015 in Bilthoven (gastheer: Brown paper Company) de presentatie: Bent u voldoende ‘disturbed’ en is uw bedrijf vatbaar voor disruptie?

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Key Presentations

“Going M.A.D. for a Living: Is disruptie de norm?”

  • Year: 2015
Description:

Nederland is kennisverslaafd en ontdoet zich langzamerhand van het imago als “Nederland Kennixland”. Desondanks is het collaboratief organiseren van de kennisstromen (knowledge flows) om waarde te creëren nog steeds een hele uitdaging. In de presentatie “Going M.A.D. for a Living: Is disruptie de norm?” wordt het ‘disruptiespook’ verjaagd door gewoon te re – rupten op het gebied van onderwijs, zorg en toerisme. Het creëren van (kennis) waarde is niet meer genoeg. Het gaat om het verzilveren en ‘sharen’ van een deel van de gecreëerde waarde het liefst samen met de relevante dienstverlenende partners.

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presenteerde op 12 maart 2015 “Going M.A.D. for a Living: Is disruptie de norm?” tijdens de DWF IDEAS Bootcamp in Scherpenzeel.

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Gebukt onder de hoop van de (orga)n(is)atie (in Dutch)

  • Year: 2014
Description:

Het begrip Hoop komt vaak voor in ‘zweverige’ tegeltjes - wijsheden zoals “Hoop doet leven”. In discussies wordt dit begrip vaak als een overbodige luxe afgedaan. Maar juist in crisistijd geeft hoop inspiratie om de gebaande paden te verlaten; op onderzoek uit te gaan, en zichzelf en de samenleving verder te ontwikkelen. Hoop geeft energie en biedt een actieve verbinding met de toekomst.

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presenteerde op 26 mei 2014 “Gebukt onder de hoop van de (orga)n(is)atie” in het Theater van de Hoop op Nyenrode Business Universiteitin Breukelen. Voor een compleet verslag - en de rest van de presentaties op deze bonte avond van de Hoop - zie: Theater van de Hoop

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HRM in de publieke sector (in Dutch)

  • Year: 2011
Description:

De belangrijkste HRM - inzichten en ontwikkelingen in de publieke sector. Het gaat hierbij om een presentatie op basis van het hoofdstuk: Tissen, R., F. Lekanne Deprez & R. Vinke (2011) De overheid en Human Resources Management. Nieuwe kansen en mogelijkheden of einde oefening? In: E. Karssing,H. Bossert & L. Meuleman, Management in Beweging, Assen: Van Gorcum, pp.197 – 209

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presenteerde HRM in de publieke sector op Nyenrode Business Universiteit (16 november 2011) in het kader van een mini – MBA Publieke Sector rondom de publicatie van het boek “Management in Beweging.

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Anders werken, Beter presteren: Beyond het Nieuwe Werken (in Dutch)

  • Year: 2011
Description:

Werken wordt niet meer beschouwd als een hype. Uit een recent onderzoek binnen 275 Nederlandse organisaties (Ken – en Stuurgetallen personeelsmanagement, 2011) blijkt ruim 46% actief aan de slag te zijn met het Nieuwe Werken. Inmiddels is het begrip Het Nieuwe Werken ook al vervanging toe: Hoezo nieuw? Nieuw in welke context? Voor wie ’nieuw’? Deze vragen bliiven allerlei irritaties en verwarring oproepen. Binnen deze presentatie staat Anders werken , Beter presteren (AwBp) centraal. Diverse aspecten van AwBp passeren de revue. Het gaat om het behouden van ‘messy vitality’; management (z)onder controle;, ruimte voor elkaar; Your office is where you are; Van Vastgoed naar Feelgood; Thinking Apart Together; Sharobesitas; Fakebook; Life@holics en afwezigheidcultuur.

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presenteerde Anders werken, Beter presteren: Beyond het Nieuwe Werken op de Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Seminar ‘Het Nieuwe Werken’ op 30 augustus 2011

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From Value to ‘Valuable’: Creating a Mindset for Valuing Libraries

  • Year: 2009
Description:

In (public and research) libraries is a deeply held and implicit assumption that the “good” is widely recognized and that the value of library service is universally appreciated. But all around the world, libraries of all types are under pressure to demonstrate their value and their contribution to specific outcomes embraced by their schools, institutions and communities. Are libraries still worth their weight? One thing is certain: the library branch is no longer in the ‘book lending’ business. It’s in the information and knowledge connectivity business or the gaming or entertainment business. How much value does your library add? How to start valuing?

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presented From Value to ‘Valuable’: Creating a Mindset for Valuing Libraries at the U Game – U Learn Event, April 23, University Delft, The Netherlands.

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Van onschatbare waarde: succesvol investeren in menselijk vermogen (In Dutch)

  • Year: 2007
Description:

Human Resources Management ('Management van mensen') is het geheel van alle (management) beslissingen en - handelingen die van invloed zijn op de aard van de relatie tussen de organisatie, medewerkers en de omgeving. De term HRM is een gelukkige keuze gebleken, want er spreekt hoop uit. HRM is namelijk gericht op het realiseren van gewenste opbrengsten voor individuen, organisaties en de maatschappij. Kenmerkend is dat HRM medebepalend is voor het succesvol functioneren van de organisatie (Vinke, 2007). Er doet zich rondom HRM inmiddels een zekere sleetsheid in de praktijk voor. We weten dat HRM geen afdeling is: HRM is immers "everybody's business". Soms roept HRM zelfs weerstand op, vooral bij de échte aanhangers die onvoorwaardelijk geloofden in de slogan "our most valuable resources are our people". Hun teleurstelling wordt gevoed door recente onderzoeken zoals die van Gallup (2006), waaruit blijkt dat - ondanks alle inspanningen - in Amerika maar liefst 59% van alle medewerkers mentaal afwezig is gedurende hun werkdag. HRM lijkt in Amerika in ieder geval niet het beste in mensen en organisaties naar boven te hebben gebracht! In de wandelgangen spreekt men daar dan ook van "Inhuman Resources Management" en wordt de toegevoegde waarde van HRM ter discussie gesteld.

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presenteerde Van onschatbare waarde: succesvol investeren in menselijk vermogen op een seminar van Deloitte in de Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag op 1 november 2007.

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Innovatie als waardeversneller: outimagining the competition (in Dutch)

  • Year: 2007
Description:

Kennis is een belangrijke stuwende factor in de economie en in het sociale leven. Kennisuitwisseling is cruciaal voor het succes en de continuïteit van organisaties en (kennis)samenlevingen. In de presentatie wordt aangegeven dat een kennisgedreven organisatie weliswaar belangrijk is, maar op zich niet het verschil kan maken. Het gaat erom dat de mensen hun verbeeldingskracht kunnen aanwenden om concrete producten, processen en diensten te ontwikkelen. Het gaat niet alleen om beter te presteren ("outperform") dan je concurrent, maar ook om het ontwikkelen van onderscheidende verbeeldingskracht ("outimagine"). Tijdens de presentatie wordt o.a. ingegaan op waarom Nederland tot de "next - best performers" op het gebied van innovatie behoort, wat de toegevoegde waarde van "professioneel nietsdoen" is en de bijdrage die drie generaties van kennismanagement aan het proces van renovatie en innovatie hebben geleverd.

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presenteerde op dinsdag 13 maart 2007 in het kader van de Collegereeks & Congresdag "Innovatief Ondernemen" de presentatie Innovatie als waardeversneller: outimagining the competition op de Hogeschool Zuyd in Heerlen

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Prepared Minds: From Research to Pro-search

  • Year: 2006
Description:

Within the area of Research and Development a new horizon has risen (from: "The lab is our world" to "The World is our lab"). Is the R&D world round, flat or spiky? Are we witnessing a fundamental shift form research to pro-search (more pro-active and pro-vocative; focused on sharing, crafting dreams with a deadline)? What are the three generations of knowledge management? What are the pitfalls in the global battle for brainpower? Is the old adage of knowledge management truer than ever? Pro-search organizations need to learn how to break strings and act accordingly. Among others, these questions will be addressed in Frank’s presentation.

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presented Prepared Minds: From Research to Pro-search at SIG- III, EIRMA Meeting on Human Factors in Open Innovation. October 19, 2006, Philips High Tech Campus, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

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The Future of Library Information Services. If There Is One...

  • Year: 2005
Description:

The role and position of the library in the Internet Age and the definition of its tasks and responsibilities are currently part of an exhaustive and serious debate. Whereas the end of the library is predicted on the one hand, it is the renaissance of the library which is envisioned by others. Because of these divergent perspectives, any kind of strategic planning and decision-making for determining the portfolio of future library information services inevitably leads to ‘intense and emotional arguments’. What’s the current and forthcoming presence value of libraries? Luckily nobody really knows what the future will look like - and this is precisely why we must shape it (or else others will do it for us). The future of library services is embedded in the present (and perhaps less in the past).

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presented The Future of Library Information Services. If There Is One... at the seminar Strategic Management for the Library of the Future, Bavarian State Library, Munich, Germany, November 29, 2005.

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Making Sense of Transforming and (Off) sourcing Corporate Libraries

  • Year: 2004
Description:

What's the value of the contribution made by the products, processes and services delivered by the corporate library in an organization? Value is increasingly derived from non-financial, intangible assets. A major challenge for corporate libraries is to become visible and contribute to the key business processes of an organization. Knowing how to build value into a corporate library, expand and determine its value for internal and external stakeholders, and accomplished by developing an intricate network of relationships through Service Level Agreements will settle whether the corporate library is here to stay. Don't get too preoccupied with a service support function at the operating level - a set of activities that is vulnerable to offsourcing and outsourcing anyway. The key issue is: will corporate libraries continue to make sense to their stakeholders? If not, corporate libraries will almost inevitably be built to decline instead of being built to last. Beware of the “we are from corporate and we’re going to help you “ – syndrome:-)!

Presentation given

Frank Lekanne Deprez presented Making Sense of Transforming and (Off) sourcing Corporate Libraries at the TICER seminar at the University of Tilburg, June 29, 2004.

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