Adult humans have long existed as physical presences, perhaps 5 or 6 feet tall by 2 feet wide. Consideration of this physical presence is important in a business environment when it comes to the field of ergonomics, designing functional office spaces and the like. In addition to being a physical presence a human also exists virtually, as a collection of data. This has become clear with the pervasive nature of the internet, many online personas are created every day but this sort of representation is not of primary interest when considering intellectual capital. This is so because humans have existed virtually since long before the internet was created. Each and every person on Earth exists virtually, not on the internet, but in the minds of other people. Each person is represented by data in the minds of others and should consider the nature and content of these data and how they are used by others.
In the Information Age it really and truly does matter what
of you. Thought produces intellectual capital and therefore value, the
modern equivalent of Industrial Age physical labor producing physical
In your company, how are you represented in the minds of others? of
peers? your superiors? your customers? Given your virtual existence in
their minds, are these people more or less likely to share information
with you, to make it easier for you to create and use IC? It is well
that open lines of communication are important to create a productive
and fundamentally this is why IC is the dominant creator of value in
21st century, information must be shared between those working
You exist in other people's minds and they exist in yours, if these
representations differ from reality then your company has a problem,
bigger and more common the difference the bigger the problem. This is
true for those in management or other leadership positions, people who
are responsible for ensuring that value creation is maximized. Given
truths, businesspeople should take some time to consider the true
of their existence and how it helps or hinders value creation.
Looking through the new prism of the Information Age we can see that Taylor had the right idea but the wrong approach. Taylor had the right idea in applying scientific investigation and analysis to human performance but he took the wrong approach in treating humans as physical capital, as machines laboring to produce physical goods. While the production of physical capital created value during the Industrial Age and Taylor's approach was correct at that time, today the great value of humans is in the production of intellectual capital. So, we should use Taylor's ideas of scientific management in combination with a new approach that views humans as computers producing information. This approach is logical since our brains are biochemical computers, with circuit pathways (neurons), memory storage and variable processing speeds.
Applying Taylor's scientific management to the production of IC
considerations of how to maximize the brain's performance. A company
therefore develop guidelines to do with sleep, hydration and nutrition.
These guidelines will help to maximize human abilities to create,
receive and use intellectual capital. For example, fatigue and the
decrease in IC production is often the result of insufficient hydration
levels so the venerable office water cooler may be viewed in a whole
light. It is important to understand that these guidelines must not be
presented in the context of command-and-control but rather in the
of empowerment. That is, helping employees maximize their production of
IC is for their own good and that of the company, in the 21st century
truly is power so brain performance guidelines will literally empower
help their biochemical computers to function more efficiently and
Conversely, such guidelines would be nearly impossible to monitor and
if presented as commands, as control mechanisms and so such an
would be futile. Companies should work with biomedical scientists to
recommended amounts of sleep and hydration, focused nutritional
memory-improvement programs and the like, all geared toward maximizing
human performance. Frederick Taylor will come back albeit in a
form, he had the right idea but the wrong approach.