Through better Knowledge Work

Jack Bergstrand has created quite a book in Reinvent Your Enterprise, and takes a long hard look at the economics of the information age. Companies have changed a great deal over the past 100 years. Rather than 95% percent of workers being involved with the manual labor of the company and 5% being involved with the knowledge labor of the enterprise, now in the 21st century those percentages are reversed. But a flaw in many companies is their failure to realize the difference between information, a raw material that we have plenty of, and knowledge, the mental manufacturing process that uses information.

Jack Bergstand pulls heavily on the work of several well known experts in the field of business theory including Peter Drucker, and the Burrell and Morgan team. The concept put forward in Reinvent You Enterprise, consists of four building blocks that will enhance ‘knowledge work productivity’, those four components being Envision, Design, Build, and Operate. These four elements interrelate in a clear fashion, and by using them many pitfalls can be avoided.

Envision can be summarized as deciding where you intend to go and why? Design by what needs to be dome and when. Build by how these things can best be done. And finally Operate by who is responsible for which task.

As the author explains there are different dynamics at work when you compare manual work to knowledge work. Not least of which is the time frame available, information as a raw material has a short shelf life. For an organization to use it effectively it must have the correct tools and mindsets in place. By way of explaining this short shelf life, and the need for speed Reinvent Your Enterprise briefly looks at the big mistake IBM made with the introduction of the PC and their loss of profits to Microsoft. Microsoft in turn took the wrong direction with the Internet, and has paid dearly in loss of profits to Google.

Reinvent Your Enterprise is not your regular self help business book. This is a well researched and heavily footnoted exploration of the Knowledge based environment that we find ourselves in today. Armed with this book and a city library the reader could spend many weeks exploring the research that clearly went into the writing. Jack Bergstrand is the idea author for this type of book, for many years he was in the upper echelons of one of the worlds largest and most successful company, Coca-Cola. It is from his experiences with this global company that many of the anecdotes come from.  While much of the book is aimed at the large organization it is my belief that even small companies could gain much useful insight by reading it.

Although Jack does not use these actual words, his message is clear, in today’s marketplace a company needs to be proactive not reactive. If a company is in reactive mode, the game is over. However a company needs to pick their proactive battles with care, there needs to be a clear understanding of why doing something is advantageous. You also need a balance of people on your management team. Yes you need visionaries, but you also need doer’s. You need designers, but you also need builders. It is when you have this correct mix, and the skills to leverage the knowledge, then you have the winning formula.

You can pick up your copy of this very insightful work from Amazon.

Simon

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