Currently, CIOs in enlightened organizations leverage a new functional concept for IT: IT-as-a-Service. As machine learning and artificial intelligence are embedded within business and manufacturing operations environments, a hybridized cognitive workplace begins to take shape.
Within the innovative cognitive workplace, there are three types of coworkers: knowledge workers, manual workers and artificially intelligent interfaces and systems.
What happens to the cognitive workplace as these three types of coworkers learn to co-exist? Can humans learn to trust the self-learning, decision-making algorithms of software interfaces and connected equipment, including robotics? Can intelligent software and connected equipment trust non-coded, unprogrammed human judgment?
Can an organization develop an innovation culture?
What’s interesting about the evolving cognitive workplace is that cognitive software and connected hardware move an organizational culture away from the status quo. Instead of focusing on What an organization sells to customers, employees become more engaged, as co-creators, in How and Why these products and services are created.
In selecting robust, nimble and flexible IT Platform as a Service offerings, such as IBM Services Platform with Watson, employees become more engaged in developing new products and services based on employee and end user experiences. This subtle shift in the focus of workplace output pivots a cognitive organization into the direction of innovation, rather than remaining in order-taking mode.
Innovative cognitive workplaces become experimental and translational.
Organizations that are cognitive innovators experience a change in corporate personality. They become proactive and anticipatory of novel new technologies which can help them be three moves ahead of industry trends. When that change occurs, the organization elects to take risks to be more competitive and potentially productive and profitable.
The CIO, working with the COO and line of business unit leadership, develops testbeds to assess the translational validity and viability of new ideas for target markets. Not only that. The innovative cognitive workplace becomes cross-pollinated with external, as well as internal, collaborators.
Concurrently, leadership and employees develop startup mindset and become comfortable with failing fast and often.
As both leadership and HR become more comfortable being “uncomfortable” with innovation and experimentation, they move away from a risk-averse, protective mindset.
Consequently, human capital strategy is re-assessed. Employees are hired and trained for critical thinking skills, regardless of whether they are initially hired as knowledge workers or manual workers.
As cognitive business models evolve, the workplace is flattened and increasingly collaborative and cross-functional. Consequently, there is no safe harbor for risk-aversion within innovative cognitive workplaces. Are you ready to not only work and co-create in, but also lead such a workplace ecosystem?
This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services.
Babette Ten Haken is a STEM-trained catalyst, corporate strategist, storyteller and facilitator. She connects the leadership dots across business units, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within industrial Internet of Things ecosystems. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes which catalyze customer success and customer retention. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Contact Babette here.
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