We live in a complex world today where customers reach or talk or share their views about companies or the products they like, own or use or their experiences thro' a multitude of ways. The touch points, the IT systems and channels are quite fragmented. Each day there is a new one that comes-up and there are more new ones that will emerge too. And to provide expert solutions there will be many specialists who will there. Specialists by terminology, means they specialize in one thing and they may not know enough about the others. This creates "information islands" in companies & acts as a huge barrier to solve a customer's problem. Customers too are left confused or dissatisfied as disparate touch points complicate their interaction with companies, waste their time due to repeated or failed interactions & therefore delayed resolution of their problems.

But to configure an optimum solution, it needs "integrativeness" in individuals who bring this diverse set of data & knowledge together. It needs integrativeness in understanding, thinking and connecting the dots intelligently to identify patterns and solve the problem. No amount of technology or analytical insights or process can solve this problem.

For the sake of analogy, let's take status of healthcare today - There are hundreds of specialists like oncologists, gynecologists, cardiologists etc. The patient however wants to be diagnosed and cured. Period. The hospital provides an umbrella for the generalists and specialists to work together for a successful outcome - curing the patient- they want the best healthcare experience. The integrativeness is provided within the boundaries of the hospital where these expert doctors practice & thrive.

Integrativeness is increasingly going to become a source of competitive advantage for businesses & professionals to manage superior customer experience. Today, APIs-for example, are integrators between diverse systems, integrating internal data & external data is becoming the norm for superior analytical insights, real time business decisions & technology integration is becoming a reality.

The question people must ask themselves -"Do I practice integrativeness in the way I think & work?". They might not know enough about everything deeply but they must have integrativeness in their work flow thinking, accessibility & process to quickly connect diverse sets of only relevant data or resident knowledge in companies to quickly comprehend, develop insights and solve customers' problems.

Integrativeness can change the way customers are managed by companies and how solutions are effectively delivered for them. Integrativeness in individuals is about quickly identifying "match keys" for every problem and having a set of APIs in their brains to connect available knowledge assets within companies, accessing this across departments or specialist functions, succinctly creating powerful insights to deliver superior customer experience or solve a customer's problem like never before.

Because, they may not be experts in everything that they do, Integrativeness is the new normal around how people will need to learn & adapt at work. Else customers can see and feel the difference!






The Workforce Crisis in 2030 - What's does it mean for India?

Here's a lovely TED talk by Rainer Strack on the Workforce Crisis in 2030.

What's was interesting to me from this talk is that India will be a major labor surplus market in 2020 when compared to other global economies. However, the other fact that was fasinating was that there are going to be new jobs and skills that will show-up - like the one on "cognitive systems engineer" in the automotive industry that he talks about. So, how fundamentally prepared are our students who are graduating out of our schools, colleges, professional engineering & management institutes for this change? Also, it reiterates the need for current people who are working in companies to learn new skills and unlearn old ones continuosly, is worth thinking about. Imagine a labor surplus market but a skill mismatch that is looming around. As I reflected on this talk, I realize the immediate need to transform mindsets - in organizations, working professionals and students who are getting prepared for the future.

The kind of people & skills organizations require will be very different from that of what we see today. The need for a 'new culture of learning' will be very important. It starts with:

  • Organizations forecasting what skills they will require from current employees and start to train them for the same. 
  • Current working professionals need to invest in themselves continously with new skills. It will be no more a case of "graduate & earn" but "graduate, earn & learn".
  • With students, they need to be aware of emerging new areas of work, what it takes to prepare and succeed in them while schools/colleges/teachers need to expose them early to new upcoming careers.



Poverty of attention

I often wonder as we have access to more or more information, why is it that it is getting more and more difficult to take decisions ? Jeffery Phillips had a very interesting perspective on the same.Jeffery writes:

"I spotted a statement on a whiteboard that's stuck with me for a few days.  On the white board, in big, messy handwriting, was the statement:

A wealth of information leads to a poverty of attention.

The point of the statement is that what we are missing - what many of us lack in today's working environment - is not enough information, but enough attention to the important things.  We've migrated from decision makers who had to "go with their guts" and could focus their attention on important things, to those who simply cannot (and will not) get enough information and who are distracted by the search and analysis of information, rather than focusing the right amount of attention and effort on any particular problem."

We just need as much minimum information as possible( or just the right information)  and enough  time for attention amongst ourselves to make the decisions.