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Flexibility for Fixed-Site Workers Employing Human-Centric Innovation

September 23, 2022

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

Flexibility for Fixed-Site Workers Employing Human-Centric Innovation

Flexibility for Fixed-Site Workers Employing Human-Centric Innovation

Trond Undheim, futurist, speaker, entrepreneur, venture partner, and author of a new book “Augmented Lean”. Trond draws on his technology-focused background across public, academic, and private sectors to discuss the need and solutions for workplace flexibility for frontline manufacturing workers. Acknowledging the paradigm shift to employ a human-centric approach, integrating employees’ inputs, Trond highlights sophisticated new software which improve frontline experiences and overall results. These solutions optimize processes and augment workers rather than emphasize machine automation.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[03:19] Trond’s path starts in a random manner when he notices a poster!

[04:55] How Trond canceled Christmas to write his Ph.D. proposal in two weeks.

[06:02] Norway’s phone company is exploring the nomadic workplace in 1998.

[07:44] Trond does fieldwork in Silicon Valley that is selling “placelessness”.

[09:18] Trond becomes sought after for technology policy decision-making, government thinktanks, energy policy, and eventually economics at the E.U..

[12:19] Standardization: Trond explains how fascinating and essential it is—eg the Apple charger.

[14:54] How interoperability and openness have been important new developments.

[16:19] Trond equates learning standards and standardization like foreign languages.

[19:22] Trond’s work at MIT on no-code language and the impact it can have on the workplace.

[20:42] Advanced efforts to transform the factory floor with productivity tools for frontline workers.

[22:08] The tech user interface is finally simple enough to get out of the way.

[22:49] Was the emphasis on automation was the wrong path to take—being technology deterministic?

[23:00] When it comes to manufacturing, why has the focus historically been on automation and efficiency?

[24:49] The question is NOT “Are the robots going to take over?” That has been a distraction.

[26:10] How can we think about the “how” of work differently to get on the right track? Trond offers a fundamental to ask question first.

[27:20] The role of business schools in producing leaders who think they know best!

[28:20] Changing the paradigm from a quest for lifelong specialization in one domain to multiple specializations over time with general systems knowledge.

[31:40] How a human-centric manufacturing approach gathers and benefits from front-line workers’ and middle managers’ years of expertise.

[34:17] Why “cobots” are an important reframing of machines as “robots” are defined as “dangerous”.

[36:52] Bridging the digital/physical divide through augmentation to transform frontline workers toward knowledge work—Trond explains why this is a good thing.

[40:45] How greater advances now can be made augmenting how frontline workers work rather than automating machines.

[42:30] The potential for renewed glory in manufacturing by augmenting the entire workforce. Tune in for Part 2 – the practical “how” to make it happen.

QUOTES

“It sounds extremely dry, but standardization is super interesting. It’s the driver of the economy: it builds markets.”

“Markets are built: they are very purposely constructed architectures of rules, regulations, and standards.”

“Multiple specialities consecutively throughout your career has to be the target.”

“In a true human centric vision of manufacturing, the humans are always at the center---the whole idea is manufacturing has always been about innovation.”

“The overall perspective that ‘management knows best’ is detrimental to a true understanding of human work.”

“To make progress, the smart thing is to augment your workforce more than you automate your machines.”

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