The top buzzword on the day emphasizes this, everyone was talking about the emergence of the “innovation worker”. From information I absorbed on the day (plus some Googling) my understanding of the term is that the “innovation worker” is the new improved “knowledge worker”. So whats the difference? Well simply put, the main components of the “knowledge worker” are analyzing and collaborating, however the main components of the “innovation worker” are analyzing, collaborating, executing and innovating.
So lets look at these two new components, executing and innovating.
Executing, what does that mean? I was disappointed to discover that executing didn't mean the middle ages type execution, rather, it refers to the ability to create something to completion. A large part of being able to bring something to completion is ensuring you have the knowledge and skills to get the job done. So in order to execute, if you don’t know or have something that you need, then you go learn it or get it. And there are two reasons why this approach has become within the realm of a normal worker. Firstly, it is because the information is now there, if you want to know anything about anything you can either get it directly from the Internet of find some that can get it for you. And secondly, it is because more and more people are realising that a lot can be learned from “doing the work” yourself. The experiential knowledge that comes with “getting your hands dirty” can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your next task or decision exponentially. By going through the execution process, the experience itself, will provide insight into how and where to go next. This is commonly referred to by artists that sculpt or paint as “the resistance of the medium”. The “knowledge worker” has become tired of just thinking in fragments, now they want to execute and create the whole.
Innovating, means to continually introduce something new. The increasing number of non-hierarchical organisational structures and the growing popularity (and success) of self managed teams is allowing this component to be a normal part of the work we do. Why do non-hierarchical organisational structures and self managed teams allow for innovation? Because within non-hierarchical organisational structures and self managed teams the worker experiences a heightened level of freedom. Freedom is a key ingredient when it comes to being innovative. Workers feel empowered to offer new suggestions and try new things. The “knowledge workers” are being set free and they are gathering together to build cultures that embrace change and breed innovation.
The emergence of the “innovation worker” coincides with the emergence of the Data Scientist role.
The “knowledge worker” to “innovation worker” transformation is seen as workers transform to the Data Scientist role from roles such as statistician, programmer, data manager, data analyst, engineer, librarian, and the list goes on.
If you feel you are stuck in a “knowledge worker” role and would like to start transitioning to a “innovation worker” role, I’d be interested to hear what you need to help you along the way. I’ve created this survey to collect data on what people want in a Data Scientist Training course.
Please contribute and answer all 5 questions, because I appreciate your opinion.