woensdag 23 juni 2010

Let's Do It Yourself... Together

Working 2.0 facilitated non-location-based working. By now, that has already been superseded for the most part. The latest trend: working location-based temporarily at any time.

There was a time where people traveled to their office, company or institute because that was where they worked. It is a legacy of the Industrial Revolution, where the actual work had to be done in, at and around the factory. We still tend to get stuck thinking in 1.0-para­digms: we are programmed to work fixed hours (nine to five) and because of that we still deal with morning and evening rush on a regular basis.
Working 2.0 brought comfort to a knowledge-intensive society: it offered the chance to work everywhere, time as well as location-based. Especially at home. We realized a company was not a factory anymore.
We figured that knowledge could also be dis­tributed from the home. For companies this meant a substantial increase in efficiency.
Non-location-based working is already past its prime, though. The latest trend is working location-based temporarily at different points in time. We no longer need to work at desig­nated spots, let alone business parks, but we can be hip and cool and work at any fancy spot at any given time. Thanks to modern technology, we can improvise meetings any­where. This trend allows us to physically meet in different setups and make-ups and actively shape these temporary meetings.
Working 2.0 facilitated location-based working(2nd column. The current rise of mobile Internet enables a new way of meeting.
The fact that people have more and more ways to find out which members from their network are where, online as well as in real-time, allows for a much more casual way of meeting physically.


Programs like Foursquare show users an overview of people in their network that are physically close, in order for collaborations to be struck up at that particular place at that particular time. Unlike at the office, however, these temporary physical collaborations can occur in the pub one evening, during the day at a beach bar, in the morning at the docks or at a sports event late at night. Because ever more information is being exchanged on everyone’s whereabouts, events can spring from buzzing and personal drive without any prior planning.
Whenever someone notices several people with a common interest are close by, they can try and set up a meeting or expand the group. There is no need for a single leader or coordinator, for the power of initiative can be combined. This way, human swarms are cre­ated that can become groups, events, fairs, barters, get-togethers or gatherings in which people answer questions or solve issues, exchange ideas, plan things or just casually meet because of a shared interest. To this end, Groundcrew software could be used for example.

Only a couple of years ago, "Where are you?" was the one sentence that was heard at the start of every mobile phone conversation. The question was often posed as a problem. Everyone felt the same: "We cannot start without you here". The latest trend sees "Where are you?" being rapidly replaced with the more constructive message: "We are here, and I see you are close. Will you join us?" Fresh collaborations arise spontaneously,
but are always based on visible opportunities: "I have quality X and person Y right here. That presents us with an opportunity, because it means I can achieve this and this for project Z."

Click to enlarge

The next trend shows that not only is it worth being able to pinpoint everyone who is near (which has a slight Big-Brother feel to it, I must admit, but that knowing someone's exact position becomes more rewarding as users share more about themselves: their status, their profile, their background.
By using applications that inform users of who is available, who is fully booked, who has time to see friends, and who is available at a specific time slot for a specific area of interest, meetings and real-time events canbe started up more easily and will be more reliable. The term "hotspot" will become cur­rent again. It helps knowing people's fields of interests and expertise. Today we tag our pictures, websites and music with titles such as Ski Trip, My Favorites or 80s Rock, but in the future we will be tagging ourselves more still. Increasingly, people and employees will be walking around as tagged beings. My tags would read: writing coach, futurist, father, first-aider, pianist, but also Prince enthusiast,
Keane enthusiast, loves movie As it is in Heaven, enjoys spareribs.
Future meetings can start discussing com­mon interests right away, and walking into
a post office everyone will soon receive of­fers streamed to their mobile phones for live concerts selected specifically for them after scanning their tags and personal profile.
Information on where to find the best spare ribs in Deventer will find me: I will not have to go and look for it.

Points of interest regarding this trend
• More and more locations will anticipate this trend. They will create virtual message boards to show who is near. They will strive to be your and your colleagues, temporary work­space 3.0 as often as possible. Atmosphere, experience and accessibility will become ever more important assets.
• Application and software builders need to realize that the need for temporary localiza­tion is increasing. Sites need to be accessible for mobile devices. Free services will take over paid ones.
• In the near future, managing work will be based on "invite information" rather than inside information, and go from "prior localization" to "localization on the spot". Increasingly, tactical and strategic assessments will be done(partly based on the question: "Who is available right now and what can we gain from that?"
Semi-public localization combined with ex­tensive profile information and status reports make for a high degree of freedom regarding our connections. Technology can thus help us to shape our freedom as well as our connec­tions. Behold the future of our interconnected world.

Guido J.L. van de Wiel
Innovations and Organizational Consultant

Published in trendwatchersmagazine Second Sight 07/2010

(c) Guido van de Wiel

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