The Modern Architecture of Human and Digital Work Systems

Posted by Laurence Collins on Sep 8, 2020 12:04:00 PM

‘From structures to skills – organisational success has been re-designed’

COVID-19 forced organisations to conduct a huge experiment – re-organise their work, workforces and workplaces immediately.

Companies like Barclays issued thousands of employees with laptops, built the infrastructure and communication channels for them to work from home effectively and re-organised the way resource, talent and technology was being deployed to fulfil mission-critical tasks, at speed.

This was a workforce optimisation project on steroids – and if nothing else it proved one thing – radical change can be implemented when the strategic objective is clear. It also showed the capacity we have to transform structural elements of the ways in which work is fulfilled.

In this case the mission was:

"Re-organise work, workforces and workplaces to be as safe as possible, as quickly as possible, with minimal disruption to the tasks that need to be fulfilled."

Now, the question is:

"How do companies move beyond the initial implementation of virtual working and collaboration to truly optimise work ?"

So, the next mission is a longer-term project but follows on naturally:

‘Create the optimal blend of human work and digital work architectures to maximise productivity, wellbeing and value creation.’

How To Get Started?

  • Micronise work, drilling down from the strategy, to the mission critical work, to the projects, to the tasks, to the skills required to perform those tasks.
  • Provide the people who currently fulfil those tasks (and the potential future workforce) with the toolkit of human and digital skills they need to work productively
  • Create tailored work packages designed to maximise:
    (i) the individual employee’s wellbeing, ability and opportunity to perform meaningful work
    (ii) the collective capacity and capability to co-create sustainable value.

Organisational Well-Being

Begin by running a series of live experiments to test the different signals and variables that can help to optimise human and digital work architectures.

No-one has ever truly optimised the link between organisational resilience, workforce architecture, employee wellbeing and productivity. We refer to this combined set of measures as ‘organisational well-being’. This is what companies need to turn the dial on.

Furthermore, due to:

  • the systemic nature of transformation
  • the marriage between human and digital in the fulfilment of work
  • the rewiring of physical, mental and digital models required to transform work

…we call the programme of change built to improve organisational well-being: ‘human and digital work transformation’.

Finally, we refer to the collective systems an organisation uses to fulfil work as ‘human and digital work architectures’.

What’s This New Language About?

Transforming the language we use is a fundamental part of building new mental models.

You cannot redesign systems and models effectively without challenging your own deeply held assumptions, demanding tremendous clarity on and commitment to strategic objectives, and re-defining the way an organisation is conceptualised.

As such, transforming ‘human and digital work architectures’ requires a high degree of reflexivity, and the ability to instil a new organisational culture. This requires ambition, perseverance and commitment to new language, concepts and models.

Topics: Strategy

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