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Returning to the future Published: Sunday, May 13, 2012 12:10 am By: Rafael Ríos, Executive Vice President

Our society has evolved significantly in the past 100 years. During this period we have seen the birth of the industrialized world and the evolution of the principles of Frederick Taylor. We moved from being an agricultural craftsmanship society living in rural communities or small town ships to highly industrial urban centers where our social and business structured became highly mechanistic and focused on achieving continuously improving efficiencies. In this era knowledge was concentrated in the upper levels of our institutions. We created production methodologies and organizational hierarchies that made are products and services predictable and manageable. As a society   we grew, yes we prospered.

Yet during the last twenty to twenty five years we saw a slowdown of this growth. New urban centers have emerged. These new urban centers have sprawled throughout the world bringing with them new organizational needs, complexities and opportunities.

I came across an article last week that touched upon these aspects that will affect our organization in the near future.

It stated that there are lessons to be learned from the pre-urban era when we lived in townships or small rural communities. These were collaborative societal structures where everyone contributed.  Many had no leaders or only leaders when needed. The small community was a source of learning through the mentorship of older members, the sharing of stories and legends, and through apprenticeships. Belonging, trust, collaboration and enduring relationships were the cornerstones of the community.

In the past three years we are beginning to see the birth of something that resembles the community.  In this period where the technical and mechanical competencies needed to thrive in our workforce become obsolete or shipped overseas, we are opening to a new business world. We see smaller and flatter organizations emerge. We are beginning to see a new entrepreneurial spirit.

We are seeing these organizations much more focused on integrating people and their ideas into collective virtual community systems that deliver unique services or products. The role of learning is becoming the responsibility everyone at all levels and at all the time.

We are moving to social media, social communities and Social Business. Differentiation is still the key in business, but it is achieved by creating relationships between sellers, buyers, suppliers and others at a deeper and more personal level than today.  In this community success requires trust and transparency. It needs the development of systems to capture ideas and forums for collaborative discussion and idea generation. The Internet makes it possible to expand relationships into virtual

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