Measuring Human Work

One thing I said during last night’s “future of work”-themed event for Envoy in Atlanta (which will be re-broadcast as a webinar on January 30th) that I probably haven’t said enough elsewhere about human-centric digital transformation is that when it comes to people and productivity, we shouldn’t start with efficiency. That shouldn’t be the leading measure. In general, efficiency is for processes. People contribute to processes, but what they contribute to those processes is often of higher value than efficiency: it’s good judgment, context, decision-making, knowing when something needs to be slowed down or stopped in order to keep damage from happening — which is not efficient in the short term, but far more effective in the long term.

Whatever humans are being measured for that only comes down to efficiency is almost guaranteed to be replaced by machines. Which is fine! In most cases, we need to recognize and cultivate the higher value that humans bring to the work around those tasks and processes, though, which is where the new jobs of the future likely come in.

Ideally humans at work shouldn’t really be measured, per se, at all, but evaluated on performance according to values. Make people more effective at their work, help them do their work more thoughtfully and meaningfully, and more in alignment with the company’s purpose and goals, and inevitably their output will be better in every dimension, including efficiency.

New post at Medium: The Future of Work vs. the Future of Jobs

A recurring theme throughout my research, writing, and speaking has been the “future of work.” Er, or maybe the “future of jobs.” One reason they’re so hard to talk about is they’re not the same thing.

The future of work has to do with the way companies will achieve productivity in an increasingly automated ecosystem. The future of jobs, meanwhile, has to do with the way human beings will make their living, or in a theoretical system where resources are provided, how human beings will carve out their identity, which they have traditionally done at least in part through their chosen occupations.

Read the rest of my latest piece at Medium:

https://medium.com/@kateo/the-future-of-work-vs-the-future-of-jobs-88d75698b2a4

Animated GIFs in marketing: genius or evil genius?

Beer-4

Let’s call a spade a spade: This is marketing, pure and simple. But a crass “Whassup” ad this certainly ain’t: instead, Burg and Beck capture the creative “process value” behind Dogfish’s product, showing how luscious organic strawberries are hand-loaded into a wooden fruit press, sorghum is hand-poured into the brew kettle, and the first pint is lovingly served. The cinemagraphs are subtle and lovingly crafted — just like (get it?) the beer itself. A marketing match made in heaven.

I noted a while back (sorry, can’t find my own reference) that the sparing use of animated GIFs in marketing emails sometimes made a very big impression when I could see it above the “fold.” This is potentially better: using artfully crafted images that show limited motion to clarify a process. But it’s easy to imagine this going WAY too far, and becoming an overwhelmingly common phenomenon implemented poorly. It’s bound to happen, I suppose, but let’s hope the good examples, like the one shown here, help keep the bad in check.