Dickeson--Understanding Knowledge Workers
There's a geometric impact resulting from information linkage. With every addition of a node to the digital information link, the need for knowledge power increases by some numeric power. (Add two knowledge workers to a Web network, and the information increases by a factor of four, for example.) As information increases, the demands on the knowledge worker increase.
The world of the knowledge worker is now an ever-expanding universe. This is why Drucker and Papows seek to shift our concentration to them. How are we to enable our own knowledge workers to process expanding information?
Shifting Our Vision
Our challenge in printing is to shift our management vision. We must put productivity increase (by new hardware) and technology on the back burner, and reserve the front burner for our knowledge workers. But, what information and formats are required for them to assimilate that information into decisions and action? Balance sheets and chargeable hours won't serve them now, if they ever did.
In the past, we spoke of "collecting" data. From collecting data, we progressed to processing data into rudimentary forms of information—journal or log entries were collected into general ledger classifications and, thence, to income statements, since the year 1400. Now, our industry must concentrate on the information-to-intellect step in order to make our knowledge workers more productive.
Information to Intellect
That's what has changed—dramatically. It's not just adding a couple of new words to describe ordinary jobs. Our task relationships have turned around. We don't "own" our off-balance sheet knowledge workers. In fact, one could almost say that, in reality, they own the true engine of the printing company.
We've got a long way to go, and I'm not convinced we've even started the journey. When we have industry meetings, what do we still talk about? Press speed, materials waste and CTP—computer-to-plate. So much remains to be done in information presentation to printing knowledge workers. It must aid their assimilation processes. How to proceed?