Zappos, Nestle, Social Media and How All Workers Are Knowledge Workers

I just read a brilliant and inspirational blog post on the Harvard Business Review site entitled, "Are All Employees Knowledge Workers?"  The authors, John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, explore the "artificial distinction" that businesses create in their workforce between the haves (so-called "high potentials," creative talent, and knowledge workers) and the have nots (everyone else).  The writers suggest we need "to redefine all jobs, especially those performed at the front line (or, in an image, that reveals our prevalent management mindset, the 'bottom' of the institutional pyramid), in ways that facilitate problem solving, experimentation, and tinkering."

Early in the Web 1.0 era, companies asked what the Web could do for them.  It was the wrong question, because soon the Web was doing something to them--changing consumer expectations, forcing investments in technology, altering the way companies recruit, disrupting sales channels, changing company culture and breaking old models of the employee-employer dynamic.  (Remember when communicating with a boss at a certain level used to mean asking his secretary for time on his calendar rather than a real-time dialog via email or IM?  I do.)

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