Inclusion 3.5

by Judith H. Katz & Frederick A. Miller fred_judith_web.jpg

Inclusion 3.5 = Web 2.0 + Diverse Multigenerational Organization + End of Industrial Revolution

The need has long existed for organizations to be more inclusive of people—to create cultures where people feel valued, respected and seen for who they are. The advent of social networking and other emerging technologies provides an opportunity for organizations to think differently about how they connect with their people—and how people connect to each other; about the opportunities of having a diverse, high performing organization; and about moving the conversation to a new level based on the always-changing realities of today and tomorrow.

As Web 2.0 does not suggest a new version of the Internet, Inclusion 3.5 does not suggest a new version of Inclusion, but instead offers new possibilities for how creating an inclusive work environment can be achieved.

More than 100 years after the Industrial Revolution began, many organizations are still struggling with fully making the transition to a new age where people are more than hands and feet. But given the ever-increasing pace of change of the global marketplace, simply achieving a workplace where all people are encouraged to contribute and feel valued won’t be enough. As we begin the 21st Century we are entering a time when organizations will need to recognize the operational benefits and higher organizational success enabled by mass collaboration, global co-creation of knowledge and a diverse community problem-solving; an organization including as many people as possible, inside and outside the organization, in achieving its results.

Most 20th Century organizations are not ready for the degree of change that is predicted over the next 25 years. Some say it will be a factor of 4 to 7 faster compared with the last 25 years. For organizations that want to survive and thrive as 21st Century organizations, they will not be able to get there through incremental change. To create highly inclusive work environments, organizations will need to act quickly over the next 36 months. One organizational competence that will need to be developed is inclusive mindsets and behaviors that will enable local and global diverse ad hoc teams to quickly perform at high levels in order to address complex problems.

Too many organizations still operate with a linear mindset, a linear communication model, a linear diversity model and other linear approaches that simply cannot work in a non-linear world. Organizations will need to be more nimble and fluid, relying on networks rather than hierarchies, moving from command and control to transparency and open knowledge windows. Teams built for constant and unpredictable transformation will become the norm while collaboration and knowledge sharing will become the new currency for influence and results.

Web 2.0 alone will not bring down the walls blocking co-creation to the degree necessary for 21st Century success. Whereas collaborative software and approaches, peer-to-peer platforms and social networking tools can create new spaces to dialogue and co-create, and the possibilities of being able to cross cultural, hierarchical and generational divides without inclusive mindsets and behaviors, the "old" behaviors will just form in this new technology container.

Inclusion 3.5 is a radical change wherein communities of effort are diverse and global, a change wherein how we operate changes from a two-way street to a global network of interconnected paths that form an unlimited knowledge base, and a change wherein leveraging others’ differences, similarities and value-added talents results in an unsurpassed level of performance. As Inclusion 3.5 becomes a way of life in organizations, we will see the traditional walls and barriers break down as people both inside and outside of the organization join together to solve problems and bring sustainable solutions. In many ways, just as we could not imagine the explosion and impact of Web 2.0, we are embarking on a new journey ahead for what Inclusion 3.5 can bring to our organizations.


Linkage Summit on Leading Diversity Presentation