It is widely accepted around 10,000 years ago, about 8,000BCE, that humans became ‘people’ – when the ice melted, and it became possible to no longer continually travel, but to stop, come together and work for the common good. Plant wheat, wait for harvest, bake the bread, and pray for rain, to plant more wheat.
Civilisation. It allows us to find something we’re good at, something we enjoy, something that contributes positively to common social requirements and for which we can be rewarded monetarily.
But more than that, it allows us to be human – to come together, to talk, to share, to learn. We’ve been doing this for 10,000 years, maybe 400 generations of humans coming together for common good.
In a very short 24 weeks, this has all been taken away from us. The ability to sit, talk and gather information, using all of the normal audio/visual cues available, has been taken away. We can no longer be together.
Information is about perspective. If I need it, I call it information. If you have it, it’s called knowledge. And knowledge, as they say, is power. I prefer ‘Knowledge is social currency’. You transfer the information to me, now I have knowledge, and now I think you are a genius. A transaction has occurred.
I think it’s one of the reasons we accept that is ok to have so many meetings, which seem to be little more than information transfer – because my knowledge gives me social currency, credibility, intrinsic worth and sense of purpose and value – this is my specialisation for the common good.
Our current circumstances prevent us from gathering that information/knowledge in the same way, so here lies our opportunity to make fundamental change. Social isolation should cause us to find different ways to achieve not just the same outcomes, but better outcomes.
Although what is happening to humanity is certainly calamitous, the real tragedy would be lives lost in vain, for nothing, if we don’t come out the other side a better, stronger, fitter, faster version of human.
Perhaps the answer lies in sharing of data – I’ve seen so many businesses offering up ‘free access to resources’, which they previously have been charging for. But if we all have unlimited access to data, then what happens to the social currency transactions of ‘Knowledge is Power’?
Overlayed on Project Controls, if we can enable Project Management having free access to data, and the ability to convert data into their own information, their flavour, their way, by automation and analytics as ‘a required skillset of a nextgen-PM’, then what happens to PC as a specialisation? Do we cease to exist?
Is it a pathway to be afraid of – or an opportunity to evolve? We all know the jobs of today will not be the jobs of tomorrow. We just don’t want it to be ours…
Does that make data and automation a double-edged sword? How do we wield this sword, safely and wisely?
The best response I’ve ever heard to a deep and probing question was by Jessica Schilling, a talented young project professional, at the 2019 Australian Project Control Expo.
She noted ‘Maybe there aren’t any answers. Maybe there’s only more questions’.