Knowmads - The Transient Knowledge Worker - IEDP
  • Managing people

Knowmads - The Transient Knowledge Worker

Learning to better manage knowledge workers is vital to coping with Society 3.0 says Ralph Blom, a program director at de Baak Management Centre in The Netherlands.


By downloading this resource your information will be shared with its authors. Full privacy statement.

"The most successful managers in companies, are those who accept that you can’t manage knowledge –or what’s inside people’s heads. The next step is to go from a knowledge economy to what I call ‘Society 3.0’. Some people are already in this paradigm, others are running away from it. This society is driven by accelerating technological change what also futures social change. We have continuing globalization, and technology helps to make that happen. Individual knowledge is very important but: “What are you going to do with it?”. This is where innovation comes in. We see that people that lead us in society 3.0 are more likely to do a start up, networking and creating new social configurations.” 

Are these people the Knowmads? 

“Yes, nowadays people are becoming much more knowmadic. They are knowledge workers, they are mobile by choice or are being pushed into it. A typical example of a knowmad is that they work for a company, start a business two months later and after a while choose to go back to school. Knowmads sell themselves by their individual expertise, and companies must find a way to leverage that. Knowmads check themselves by asking the question: If I were not in this organization, would anything change? If the answer is: “yes”, than they’re not needed there. Knowmads really catch on to that idea. We as a society are going to challenge the structure of companies.” 

What skills are needed in a society 3.0?

“Because everybody is in it together it is not bounded by a specific generation. Nobody has done this before, there are no role models. We all have to co-create this together. Knowmads are highly engaged, creative, innovative, collaborative and highly motivated. They adapt fast in new situations and contextualize ideas due to situations. So schools need to find out how we can learn skills in motivation, creative orientation, being friendly, and an ungoing mindset on always keep up with technologies. All of us have to learn to share without geographical limitation. We have to create global footprints, go beyond the small communities and learn how to engage people all over the world in open and flat knowledge networks. A big cultural mindshift is needed, we have to start thinking that learning is everywhere, always and naturally. It is quit normal that even the biggest leader says: “Can you help me learn that?”. The most successful entrepreneurs do it all the time: “I don’t know how to do this. I have this idea. I want to get it to the next level. Can you help figure this out?” Innovation will not come from software and new technologies. It’s about mindware. That is our imagination, our creativity.” 

How does sustainability come in? 

“We shouldn’t hide all the information and ideas. Openness and honesty are the key. Just send ideas out and look how they develop. So ideas grow bigger than the ‘I’ and ‘Me’ thinking. The 3.0 or knowmad society is all about expression of personal leadership and personal responsibility. All of us have to show leadership. Successful people are very talented and very skilled but they are also very thoughtful and they make things happen. There is an increasing importance for soft skills. Are you a friendly person? Can you work with costumers well? These are the important characteristics for people that organisations want to hire.” 

Google Analytics Alternative