Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Means of Production

I read in a book recently the idea that knowledge workers own the means of production. That is to say, that instead of production machines owned by a factory, they work with the knowledge that is in their own heads, which can't be taken away from them. Marxism aside, I think this is a very accurate distinction between the traditional laborer and today's employees.

This is good for workers, but presents a major challenge for organizations. Particularly for places where the knowledge is the product, what do you do when a worker leaves to capture that part of knowledge which they posses that the organization need to continue operating effectively? That's something that we're trying to deal with at my organization, and though we have lots of ideas, I don't think we have the magic bullet yet. In fact, several questions remain:
  • How do we get information from people?
  • How do we store that information so that it's findable in the future?
  • How do we turn that information into action?

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