The Knowledge Workers guide to surviving Digital Capitalism.

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We as a society are experiencing a revolutionary, technological shift and with that, the birth of digital capitalism. Professor Jeffery Brand offered a simple definition for digital capitalism which is that “digital capitalism is business in the information and knowledge economy” (2015).

The shift into and the creation of digital capitalism was brought on by the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which began mid-way through the 20th century. Many have predicted it will bring about technological advancements such as self-driving motor-vehicles/trucks and supercomputers which are available on mobile devices. Despite the great excitement and wonder attached to the idea of such technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has also triggered some concerns with many.

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum expresses these his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution. He raises concerns around the regulation and appropriate use of new technologies, new high-risk security concerns, and the possibility for a growth of inequalities (World Economic Forum, 2015). However, Schwab (2016) also vocalises that the revolution may help to erase the environmental damage caused by previous revolutions, therefore regenerating nature.

Below is a video retrieved from the World Economic Forum showcasing the incredible technological possibilities the Fourth Industrial Revolution may generate.

 

With a new industrial revolution, there is a new expectation for workers, in particular knowledge workers. In a rapid, ever changing environment it is imperative to not slip between the cracks and fall victim to this new digital capitalism. But to instead, yield and assist in its growth and add creative and innovative ideas to it.

As a future knowledge worker, faced with the very real reality that I will be tackling this new dynamic, it is important to ensure that I’m equipped with the necessary knowledge to be an irreplaceable asset to my chosen workforce, and to also ensure that a computer cannot take my spot.

This is what the general role of a knowledge worker looks like.

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(Above: Your role as a KW? – Brand, 2016)

Now that society is moving into the knowledge economy, we must adapt, or we will be left behind. Rob Livingstone solidifies this point by explaining that “knowledge is increasingly surpassing the tangible resources as the basis for value creation and competitive advantage for both economies and organisations” (2015).

We are able to see what future employers will be looking for in terms of our knowledge capabilities and acquire the correct education to increase those desired skills, making us digital capitalist machines. Peter Drucker predicted that “the next society will be a knowledge society…where knowledge is the key resource… and knowledge workers will be the dominant group in its workforce” (2001).

A study conducted on the future of knowledge workers provided some very informative results around the area of “Recruiting/Attracting Strategies” to fill what they described as talent gaps (Holtshouse, 2009). Below is a table representing the top recruiting strategies and desired attributes picked for different age groups, one being on people aged 25 or younger who are just entering the workplace, the other being a more experienced group of workers aged from 26-40 (Holthouse, 2009).

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This is a very effective tool that we, as future knowledge workers can look to as a guide to ensure we attain the job positions we desire, and succeed within them.

I am fortunate enough to have received a lecture from Professor Jeffrey Brand, Associate Dean and Head of Communication ad Media Studies at Bond University. During this lecture he imparted some wise words to my fellow students and myself. He provided us with four key tips which would assist us in ensuring that we benefit from digital capitalism and not become a victim of it. In summary, his four points were to reassess our educational direction from the point of view of the political economy, learn and be competent with information about the political economy, focus more on knowledge work (read more, write more), and lastly making sure to actively search for opportunities within technology sectors (Brand, 2016)

If this is done effectively, and your knowledge is sustained and maintained, then you will benefit greatly and also succeed as a knowledge worker within the digital capitalism during the greatest industrial revolution to date.

Stephanie Jane Barnaba
Knowledge Worker in training.
Bond University Student

References

 

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