Consortium for Local Ownership and Use of Data, Inc.

Book Review | A View from the CLOUD: David Siegel’s “The Power of Pull” (Part 2 - Talent)

I've had this post "on the shelf" for a little while now, and reading about Job Searches in the Passive Commerce section of Chapter 8 in David Siegel's book, "Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business," has sparked me to get it posted. Before I jump into the body of the content, I first want to connect its themes with the ones in this section of David's book.

As I flip through this wonderful book from last year, I continue to be struck not only by David's vision but by the excellent methodology by which he lays out the various parts, chapters and sections.  If you've read this book already, look at the pages at the very front, as well as the various parts to review the "charts" that tie and link everything together.  Very cool.
 
In a lot of ways, the ways in which David has laid out his sections are the way in which our "online" lives should be connected, too.  The problem is that without a language that is wrapped around people, we are forced into the "data locker" or website paradigm that traps our information in silos.  Imagine if the data lockers, which David articulates so nicely, weren't stuck in one place.  Imagine if all of our data could simply be everywhere and not have to be collected up in one spot that the résumé in the data locker.  Imagine if through our WHO and WHAT tags, we could simply link everything together, no matter where it is.  Breaking free of the paper paradigm that lead to résumés in the first place, we won't need microformats like hResume at all, since in a CLOUD-enabled Internet, résumés evaporate completely.
 
A big thanks to David for inspiring me to take these digital bits that have been sitting on my hard drive for months and getting them into the CLOUD… I warn you now.  Some of this gets pretty philosophical!  :-)
 
Introduction
 
Value networks from health to education to finance are in dire need of reworking.  There are a number of processes that are seriously flawed because we've come to accept manual interventions.  However, for all the opportunities to improve the connections in these value networks and bring together disconnected data and untethered information, the power of CLOUD to connect people and their talents may be the most compelling.
 
The Problem
 
To understand the CLOUD approach to people, you have to think about all of the places in which we connect with others and all of the places in which we as people express ourselves.  From our first days in school as children, information about our education is being collected and stored.  From college to the placement center, we actively assess our identity, our aspirations and our vocations.  And every bit of this information is disconnected, scattered across disparate silos of data.  In many ways, our  talent and human capital matrices are in even more disarray than our health records, and those records are in terrible shape.
 
Think about the state of information today.  Even though records exist about our grades and various jobs, we reenter this information everywhere.  We create resumes that talk about our jobs or our schooling, and then companies that are considering hiring us reenter this information for evaluation.  We enter information into data systems at placement centers for matching purposes, we enter information into Monster.com or CareerBuilder, and when we "get the job," we then enter information into HR systems at our new companies as well.  Over and over and over again, we invest time in actions that are repetitive.
 
This is just one plane of the talent story.  Taking a different view of the talent pipeline, there are other vectors to the challenge.  One example of a vital talent puzzle is the daily operation of the healthcare system, and most acutely, the operation of an emergency room at a hospital.  In the case of the emergency room, the race against time makes dramatic the need to have the right "WHOs" in the right place at the right time.  Assembled throughout a hospital is an incredible pool of highly trained talent, capable of any number of life-saving measures.  If the right set of these talented individuals are not together in the exact same location as the patient, then the consequence can be death.  
 
"Blink" and A Philosophical View of our Talents
 
Everyone of us is the result of a lifetime of connections with new knowledge, new experiences and new people.  We do not, however, have any place for us.  We have no place to keep a repository of who we are.  Where is that place that is our essence.  We save memories in our heads, as our neurons reconnect when necessary to recreate an image in our mind's eye.  We smell a smell, and we are instantly transported back in time to the exact location where that smell first connected with our sensory apparatus.  Our minds are truly incredible mechanisms for connecting threads.  Those threads are neurons, and practically, on demand, these neurons flash and send signals throughout our minds.  We capture information through our eyes, our ears, our noses and our mouths can can store them for decades to be recombined when necessary.  Malcolm Gladwell called this process "Blink."  
 
If our minds can create the necessary conditions for Blink, then we should be able to use powerful networks of computers, processing equipment and the Internet to accomplish similar tasks in our connections with each other.  With 300 million people in the United States, there has to be at least one connection between two people to solve any problem.  We just don't know where that connection is.  If our mind was constructed in similar ways to our health records, our education records or any other information about us, we would not have lifted ourselves out of the depths of the primordial seas or come down from the trees.  Connecting people is not a business imperative, it is a global imperative.  It is about something far more than résumés and the next job.
 
CLOUD's Impact on Talent
 
When you think about this process of reweaving, you suddenly realize that our threads and the way we connect them are a vital part of the talent equation.  To tell the pre and post-CLOUD story, it is useful to take the larger CLOUD vision down to the story of one person.  For this one person can be the microcosm of an entire universe.  
 
Let's take a neurosurgeon as our example.  Where has this neurosurgeon been?  One layer of a neurosurgeon's plane of talent is the education vector by which they reached their place in the healthcare system to practice their trade.  At some point early in their lives, the thought crossed their mind to pursue a career in medicine.  From that point forward, the combination of courses in high school, college and then medical school took on a whole new dimension.  These were no longer courses that needed to be captured in some education database; they became the heart and soul of the nurturing of this individual's future.  Those threads, the connection between AP Chemistry and Organic Chemistry in college, and then their research in medical school to understand just how these chemicals cause a patient's brain to become imbalanced are beautifully intertwined.  From the perspective of the neurosurgeon, these are all part of a singular whole... that whole being them.  
 
From an information chain perspective; all of this information is replicated in a myriad of places and databases.  It should be possible for the many WHAT tags that comprise this doctor's resume to be re-tethered and viewed as necessary.  If this neurosurgeon's WHO could be the connecting point of all this information, then the process by which they find themselves completely capable of performing the critical operation on a patient could be better mapped.  And, to make this even more dramatic, the mind of the one patient they "cure" could be the mind of the person that figures out the chemical reactions in our minds that eliminates Parkinsons, Alzheimers or any other diseases.
 
We will never know the answer to these questions if we don't find ways to connect people, and that is why CLOUD passionately believes that it is not just about linked data but about linked people and "The Power of People.  Connected."
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