Now You See It by Cathy Davidson

The Changing Worker Stories

  • 1. Second Life is presented as an ideal tool for learning how to work in a global workplace. If you want to learn how to collaborate with people different from yourself, virtual environments offer rapid feedback.
  • 2. Specialisterne is a company run by a man with an autistic son. He realized that autistic people are much better at some tasks that people with typical brains are not very good at. In his case it is testing software for bugs. This is tedious work for which the autistic skill set is well matched. The bigger idea is to shape the job to the person, not the other way around.
  • 3. The story of FutureWork shows how giving up time clocks, required attire, and organization charts can lead to success. Here the work is structured around the lives of the worker, not the other way around. Workers can choose anything from part-time to eighty hours a week and be compensated accordingly.
  • 4. Duke fans will enjoy the story of Sean Battier, a star basketball player with the nickname of Lego, because when he is on the court, he makes all the pieces fit. It is always about moving, sometimes with the ball, sometimes without.
  • 5. Jimmy Wales is the man behind Wikipedia, perhaps the world’s best example of mass collaboration. His efforts are a great example of how the crowd can be smarter than any individual. Given the size and value of Wikipedia, his operation is small, the hierarchy is practically invisible, and people solve problems together. A key is to have many different kinds of eyeballs with even contentious ways of seeing.
  • 6. The Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC is the greenest hotel in America. The leader of the project gathered local talent and challenged them to make this happen with mostly local resources. This meant a lot of learning and unlearning together. The details are very cool.
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