• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Like a marriage procession, the knowledge economy which used to be a futuristic discourse, is persistently encroaching the workspace and demanding a permanent position. It is gradually becoming the currency that drives operations in business and in the corporate world. Management and finance consultant, Emmanuel Tarfa, CEO of Conceptual Strategy Limited did not mince words, “soon, many workers who are in operations industry and who have refused to move to the strategy industry will find themselves without jobs.”

What is the knowledge economy? Stanford University scholars, Walter Powell and Kaisa Snellman define it as “production and services based on knowledge-intensive activities that contribute to an accelerated pace of technical and scientific advancement, as well as rapid obsolescence.” A better understanding is perhaps, the definition given by Emmanuel Tarfa while responding to Business Day, “It is the dependence on the human brain (also known as intellectual capital) for production and provision of services. This is a departure from the reliance on natural resources and physical labour-intensive activities in production of services.” The key attributes of a knowledge economy is the increased dependence on intellectual capabilities than on strength or mineral resources.

Effectiveness is constantly evolving in today’s workplace. Emmanuel listed the three “industries” that characterizes effectiveness. There is the operations, comprising of workers that are mostly found in customer service, who only follow laid down rules; the strategist, people who leverage on their brain power and are always churning out innovative ideas and the creative industry which comprises of workers who create new concepts or products. To remain productive and increase employability valuation in the knowledge economy, workers in operation should of necessity migrate from operations to strategy.

At the World Economic Summit in Davos recently, Kalus Scwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, WEF, reminded the world of the need to plan and prepare their citizens towards the fourth industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution, he said are characterized by “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.” This revolution which he said is imminent is built on information and artificial intelligence and less on human ability. Drawing similarities between the fourth industrial revolution and the knowledge economy, Emmanuel said “it is the latter that is powering the former.”

Many analysts believe it is the direction the world is headed. Hence the average worker needs to acquire the essential skills that are demanded.

Most companies in Nigeria and the world over are already 100 percent complaint to the knowledge economy. The industries that have evolved include “consulting, technology, financial services, professional services, education, research and even public service/sector,” he added. “Every company seeking to remain relevant in its industry must have a knowledge-driven department at least, if it is not a business in the first place.”

There are many ways a worker can respond to the knowledge economy. One of the ways is to invest in good education and personal development, “I am not talking about the type of local education offered in public secondary and tertiary institutions. I am talking about pro-personal development. People should be able to find a cocktail of books and knowledge areas that teach the fundamentals of everything. My issue with Nigerians is that we are more certificate driven and not true knowledge seekers.

“If you cannot afford an Ivy-league education, then pursue rigorous personal development. Go back to the basics of Mathematics, English and Sciences. Good writing is a skill every worker should consciously develop.”

Frank Onuoha