The Process Age is Here

The Truth is In There by blprnt
The Truth is In There by blprnt on Flickr

Many of you that know me have heard me say that the Information Age is over, and that the Process Age has dawned.

The Information Age was a short one, compared to the Industrial Age, eh? The Industrial Age had a good 100 years, while the Information Age had maybe 30 at the outside.

Tony Wagner, Harvard Educational Specialist, is quoted in the New York Times this morning,

"...what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know."

That's about the best summary of the Process Age I've heard yet. Information is practically free and available to nearly everyone in overwhelming amounts. The what-you-know is no longer important. Now, it is all about what you can do with information, systems, and people.

Sure, the Internet and computers are power tools for processing information. But the core skills of the Process Age are the human abilities to innovate new ways of processing, adapt processes and systems to fit the moment and the need with the resources available for the outcome desired, and to see high-order and emergent patterns in data that aren't obvious or normally visible. Sometimes it involves finding or measuring missing data that would complete the picture or prove a hypothesis.

This isn't just in the domain of data and digital. These skills and ways of problem solving can be applied at every level in every domain. It's just we can see it move more rapidly in the digital domains because of the ease of creating new systems there to try out, and the wealth of information available as input to the processes.

It is a new age. I think it may help folks understand what is changing and how it is changing if they use the model idea of the Process Age as one way to evaluate the new skills and tools to be learning, and new jobs to be inventing. Of course this has enormous ramifications on education. Be sure to read the New York Times article, "Need a Job? Invent it," for more specifics on that aspect.