Repost: Nilofer Merchant and Value in the Social Era

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Repost: Nilofer Merchant and Value in the Social Era

I rarely re-post, but it almost exactly a year ago since I wrote this post, and the lessons of Merchant, Zuboff, Gorbis, Rinne, and others are increasingly vital to educators: 

Taking advantage of sitting at the Toyota dealership in beautiful Hays, Kansas as they replace something called in inverter cooling pump. $600. Catching up on blog reviews, and here is one that caught my attention from Nilofer Merchant.

In her book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, Ms. Merchant argues that we have entered a post-Information Age paradigm, shifting from decision-making based on enhanced value through data to enhanced value through social interaction.  Most of us automatically link “social” to “media” as she points out, when in fact social interactions have a completely new and more valuable context.  This from her post:

Here’s the simplest way to define the Social Era: the industrial era primarily honored the institution as a construct of creating value. And the information age (inclusive of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 phases) primarily honored the value that data could provide to institutional value creation. It allowed for greater efficiency to do the same things that were done in the industrial era. The Social Era honors the value creation starting with the single unit of a connected human. In this framework, powerful organizations look less like an 800-pound gorilla and more like fast, fluid, flexible networks of connected individuals — like, say, a herd of 800 nimble gazelles. 

I have been writing and thinking a lot about those same terms “fluid, fast, and flexible” and how they apply to education.  It is the increased rate of change in information creation and exchange that is the single greatest external stress factor that is driving the need for educational innovation.

In America alone (and there is every reason to expand and not regionalize the connectivity) there are a million educators and tens of millions of students who can contribute to co-learning and collective self-evolution.  A few of these interactions will be face-to-face, but all of it will be mind-to-mind.  This is the cognitosphere I have posited as the critical linking mechanism of a massively connected knowledge base. It is a system based on the laws and characteristics which govern natural ecosystems, not Industrial Age or Information Age designed outcomes. School leaders should jump their organizations into this neural network as deeply as possible; it is how we are all going to work.

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