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Which clippings match 'Adapting To Change' keyword pg.1 of 1
19 NOVEMBER 2014

Generic and self-programmable labour

"Labour is fundamentally divided in two categories: self–programmable labour, and generic labour. Self–programmable labour is equipped with the ability to retrain itself, and adapt to new tasks, new processes and new sources of information, as technology, demand, and management speed up their rate of change. Generic labour, by contrast, is exchangeable and disposable, and co–exists in the same circuits with machines and with unskilled labour from around the world."

(Manuel Castells, 2000, p.16)

Castells, M. (2000). "Materials for an exploratory theory of the network society". British Journal of Sociology Vol. No. 51 Issue No. 1 (January/March 2000) pp. 5–24 [].

Fig.1 Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images.



2000adaptabilityadapting to changeconcrete poetrydisposable • exchangeable • general principle • generic labour • independent decision-makingindividual initiative • industrial workforce • knowledge worker • labour market • Manuel Castellsprogrammed useself-programmable laboursingle-mindedsocial anthropology • unskilled labour • workforce


Simon Perkins
07 FEBRUARY 2013

The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy

"The approach we developed in working with our clients at Monitor Institute is what we call adaptive strategy. We create a roadmap of the terrain that lies before an organization and develop a set of navigational tools, realizing that there will be many different options for reaching the destination. If necessary, the destination itself may shift based on what we learn along the way.

Creating strategies that are truly adaptive requires that we give up on many long–held assumptions. As the complexity of our physical and social systems make the world more unpredictable, we have to abandon our focus on predictions and shift into rapid prototyping and experimentation so that we learn quickly about what actually works. With data now ubiquitous, we have to give up our claim to expertise in data collection and move into pattern recognition so that we know what data is worth our attention. We also know that simple directives from the top are frequently neither necessary nor helpful. We instead find ways to delegate authority, get information directly from the front lines, and make decisions based on a real–time understanding of what's happening on the ground. Instead of the old approach of 'making a plan and sticking to it,' which led to centralized strategic planning around fixed time horizons, we believe in 'setting a direction and testing to it,' treating the whole organization as a team that is experimenting its way to success.

This approach wouldn't surprise anyone in the world of current military strategy. Recent generations of military thinkers have long since moved beyond the traditional approach, most notably famed fighter pilot John Boyd. He saw strategy as a continuous mental loop that ran from observe to orient to decide and finally to act, returning immediately to further observation. By adopting his mindset (with a particular emphasis on the two O's, given our turbulent context), we can get much better at making strategy a self–correcting series of intentional experiments.

To provide structure to this fluid approach, we focus on answering a series of four interrelated questions about the organization's strategic direction: what vision you want to pursue, how you will make a difference, how you will succeed, and what capabilities it will take to get there.

The skills and mindset for today's strategic planning will come from continuously asking ourselves these questions about our organizations, programs, and initiatives. Once we accept Dwight D. Eisenhower's sage advice that 'Plans are useless, but planning is everything,' we will be ready to adapt to whatever curveballs the twenty–first century sees fit to throw."

(Dana O'Donovan & Noah Rimland Flower, 10 Jan 2013, Stanford Social Innovation Review)



adapting to changeadaptive approach • adaptive strategy • becomingcentralisation • continuous mental loop • data is ubiquitous • decision makingDwight Eisenhower • evolving trajectory • experimentation • experimenting to success • fixed time horizons • fluid approach • John Boyd • military strategy • military thinkers • Monitor Institute • navigational tools • pattern recognitionplanning • plans are useless • predictionsrapid prototyping • real-time understanding • roadmap • shifting destinations • strategic directionstrategic planningtactical engagementturbulent contextuncertain environmentsunpredictability


Simon Perkins

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