In the Harvard Business Review, back in 1993, Alan Webber, founder of Fast Company magazine wrote “What’s So New About the New Economy?” For Webber, the information economy lives through communication. What we know, how we create new knowledge, how we innovate and develop - all these essential features of the modern way of work are driven by discussion and knowledge-sharing.
“In the new economy, conversations are the most important form of work.” Webber likely did not think of South Indian fisherman, but his words apply very well.
Collaboration on data. Conversation. Storytelling. For me, these principles are not just features or functions of a software product. They stand as agents of profound change in our lives and our economies. In a data-driven business, the talk around the data is truly the most important form of work. These discussions can happen in many ways. Simply chatting 'round the water cooler about this months sales’ figures is collaborating on data. Sharing annotations and commentary in a software package is collaboration. Exchanges prices on the phone is collaboration.
This is the reason why innovation and design focus so much on these topics.
Meanwhile, back on the shore, I watch that sunset and the fishermen drawing in their nets. They look a world away from the technology conference I’ll return to tomorrow. But no - they are an essential part of our work there. And our work is essential to them too.Photo credit: wbaiv / Foter.com / CC BY-SA