Resilience and talent management 2.0

Maite Moreno and Francesc Ballester

"Public awareness about the effects of climate change will further increase the pressure on the public-private partnership to enhance the sustainability of cities”.

“This new paradigm of relations has been implicitly framed in a hyper-complex society[1]– beyond rigid classification - like ours, which learns and adapts itself naturally and therefore must consciously accept resilience as a future challenge”


 “[...] in my childhood when society seemed motionless […] the implementation of steam power signalled the end of one era and the beginning of another for humanity […] (that) would eventually bring us to a new civilisation.”

Ildefons Cerdà (1816-1876) Teoría General de la Urbanización (General Theory of Urbanisation).


If there was anything that the urban planner and engineer Cerdà particularly stressed in his theory, it was to not limit the understanding of the phenomena that caused the growth of cities - especially Barcelona – to simply a matter of needing space. Indeed, he devoted much of his time to observing social complexity, indicating that the changes were not only caused by the technological revolution, but also by the amount of tension between the political and economic spheres. As well as this, there were the addedpressures of the advent of mechanised manufacturing and new social classes. His socio-urban analysis already praised the possibility of understanding cities such as the ones in which as we live today: as living organisms.

The industrial economy transformed the urban landscape across Europe, which suffered from demographic pressure and the increased need for access to services and different communication systems. In the same way that Cerdà observed in his time - and which is reflected brilliantly in documentaries such as Berlín, Symphony of a Great City (W. Ruttmann, 1927) –, generally we are more aware today than before that the distinctive features of our cities are movement and openness.

Despite this, we must pay attention to essential change factors whose origins date back to the last century, because they implicitly form a part of the way we collectively live in cities. The increasing role of institutional public politics and the growth of companies from an economic point of view, led to a polarisation between public and private management resulting in the longer-term transformation of urban and individual spaces. This led to associated changes in people’s mentality resulting from these new internalisation processes and the construction of a new collective identity. One of the most obvious consequences today is the physical relocation for people’s births and deaths, which changed from their homes to hospitals, thus affecting medical, palliative and preventative illness treatment.

The effects of all these dynamic changes have become the main challenges for Smart Cities throughout Europe, driven by the symbiosis between public institutions and private companies with high-value industrial and technological R&D. As Luis Fontanals[2] describes, by extrapolating the knowledge developed in industrial processes, infrastructure management (transport optimisation, improved energy efficiency, healthcare, telecommunications, emergency management, and hydraulic infrastructure) is improved due tothe pressure of the constant transformation that they are subjected to. Without any doubt, public awareness about the effects of climate change will further increase the pressure on the public-private partnership to enhance the sustainability of cities and daily life in the long term. Fortunately, nowadays we can already talk about the requirements that make a city a Smart City, as Manuel Moliner eloquently described in a previous edition of SC Smart City[3]: 1/ Sustainability, 2/ “Livability” (habitability + security) and,3/ Smart Mobility. Improvements in sensor technology in real time data acquisition systems or SCADAs, research into robotics and Artificial Intelligence, as well as the future of heightened reality interfaces, offer us a paradigm shift in all the described areas. The effects derived from multi-stability technology - in the words of Ihde (2004) - will not always be expected and, in fact, predicting them is no easy task, despite the many institutional efforts devoted to the study of EPISTLE type impacts in the past: due to theshortcomings of this study, the desirable inertia cannot be consolidated today (Aibar, 2006)[4].

 

Urban resilience and social hyper-complexity: Two sides of the same coin

Talking about Smart City sustainability, of course, means taking into account the current economic situation and its impact on the efficiency of the results of the public-private partnership. The difficulties in publishing tenders due to government indebtedness could jeopardise infrastructure maintenance by private sector tender awardees in the medium and long term. And these, as a result, suffer from the effects of the loss of competitiveness, talent, knowledge transfer and innovative capacity that would make their products and services more profitable in the sense expressed by Iñigo Arribalzaga[5] and his Client 2.0 concept. All these factors, among others, are coupled with a widespread short-sightedness that has forced significant budget cuts with even greater consequences.
As we see it at Monday Happy Monday, the current labour market situation suffers from two key problems that hinder the growth and competitiveness of private sector companies: 1/ The inefficiency of public policies towards occupation and training, 2/ a lack of awareness about the qualitative transformation – in the words of Paolo Virno[6] – of relationships between highly qualified professionals which is taking place within the network. You only need to visit one of the many co-working centres to confirm that this transformation is taking place beyond the traditional talent selection mechanisms that are based on the quantitative supply and demand management.

We agree that, for a Smart City to be a reality, the public-private decision making structures should be consistent and stable over time in the terms defined as structural forces by Luis Fontanals. But for us, working towards the competitiveness and innovation of the private sector, inasmuch as it is aimed at the sustainability of cities, also implies transcending the standardisation of processes and the compatibility of structures inherent in attracting, selecting, retaining and improving internal and external talent. That is, we do not limit ourselves to making people manage more industrial processes as understood until now, because it is simply not an efficient process.

Understanding cities as living systems, at Monday Happy Monday we introduced new adaptation strategies for employees leading the paradigm shift in the new concept of specialised work, as a way of improving competitiveness and innovation, including: coordination of co-working centres (with an international vocation), fablabs, freelance, open knowledge, headsharing, networking, empowerment via binomial university or company research, training, etc., beyond classic consulting. Therefore, in addition to our experience, we constantly incorporate and internalise opinions and feedback from other current experts in the field. Precisely in this sense John Burn-Murdoch, the renowned journalist from The Guardian[7], highlighted the future need to incorporate this inherent relational hyper-complexity into analysis strategies specific to Big Data and Smart City processes in order to achieve a balance between the structured (standardised, quantity) and the unstructured (specialised, quality) in the last edition of the BDigital Global Congress:and that is effectively our goal.

We notice that these forms of organising people work as complex sensors of a potential value that is still intangible, whose structure can be analysed and exploited with tools like SNA, and therefore are highly likely to become very profitable knowledge for our clients. Under this concept IBM[8] and Fujitsu[9] respectively presented their Big Data and Smart City initiatives at the same conference, but always framed them within classic social networks. This new paradigm of relations has been implicitly framed in ahyper-complex[10] society – beyond rigid classification - like ours, which learns and adapts itself naturally and therefore must consciously accept resilience as a future challenge. We are convinced that it would be a mistake to believe that the participation of private industry in the public sector is enough to make the change from a Smart City to an Intelligent Society.

Monday Happy Monday invites its clients to get on board, and contribute to the profitability of their projects and their future partners’ time, from the time of innovation which means incorporating this hyper-complexity in Smart industry leaving many unsolved problems.

By Maite Moreno and Francesc Ballester

Monday, Happy Monday

 


 

[1] As understood in sociological terms as advocated by Edgar Morin, Zygmunt Bauman, Richard Sennett, Peter Sloterdijk and many others.

[2] Fontanals, L. Improving the resilience of emerging cities: Industrial knowledge applied to city management, IAJBS 18th World Forum 2012, Barcelona: IQS School of Management – Ramon Llull University.

[3] Moliner, M. The Energy Dilemma. Interview with Marco Bozzer. SC Actual Smart City, number 2, October 2012.

[4] Aibar, E. (2006). Science, Technology and Society. Barcelona: UOC (Open University of Catalonia).

[5] Arribalzaga, I. Citizen/client 2.0customer service will be a commodity SC Actual Smart City, number 2, October 2012

[6] Guardiola, I. The crowd and culture, La Vanguardia 22nd of May 2013, Cultural Supplement, Barcelona

[7] http://www.bdigitalglobalcongress.com/2013/sr-john-burn-murdoch/

[8] García, Carmen. Smarter Cities: cities run by big data, Ponencia. 13th of June 2013. BDigital Global Congress.

[9] Valenciano, Manuel. Making the Human Centric intelligent Society reality, Ponencia. 13th of June, 2013. BDigital Global Congress.

[10] As understood in sociological terms as advocated by Edgar Morin, Zygmunt Bauman, Richard Sennett, Peter Sloterdijk and many others.

Resilience and talent management 2.0

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