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Work and Learning in a Digital World

Across the globe, business, government, and social structures are buffeted by sweeping generational change, technological innovation, and the emergence of new economic development models.

Although these forces differ by geography, they provide opportunities for social innovation, community engagement, economic growth, sustainability, and country transformation.

Much of the change under way contains, at its core, a new relationship among individuals, communities, employers, public authorities, and educational institutions.

Indicative of these profound cultural shifts in society are two inherently, related trends Cisco IBSG calls Smart Work and Learning—an act of production performed independent of time and place.

The responsibility to enable a Smart Work and Learning culture lies not only with employers, individuals, and workplace learners, but also with the existing formal education system.

By developing skills at an early age for self-motivation, decision making, and critical thinking, people can become productive Smart Workers. The work culture has transformed significantly since the Industrial Era (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Smart Work Evolution

KnowledgeEra

Source: Cisco IBSG, 2013.

Smart Work and Learning Imperative

In every sector of the economy, people are opting for more collaborative and flexible forms of work and learning that allow them to participate when they want, from virtually anywhere, with almost anyone.

Society’s ability to grasp the Smart Work and Learning concept will be a key factor in enabling individuals, organizations, and communities to compete effectively and achieve operational excellence.

Similarly, a community’s ability to define and implement effective strategies for infrastructures, spatial environments, and regulatory frameworks will prove increasingly imperative. This is a key theme I discussed in a recent blog post on cities and distributed communities.

Many public and private organizations are leading the way with transformational projects, and the best of these efforts will be adapted by other jurisdictions throughout the world.

A detailed perspective from Cisco IBSG on Smart Work and Learning is available for download: Work and Learning Futures: Enabling New Organizational Models for a Digital World

Further perspectives from Cisco IBSG on both public-sector and urban innovation are available for your consideration.

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