I’ve been a Hive member for … a week. I joined because I was intrigued by what @david-clark has been posting on LinkedIn: consistently relevant, thoughtful, original material that very much aligns with the values I espouse as an organizational psychologist. I am interested in helping individuals, teams, and organizations identify their needs, find ways to communicate them — and discover means of working to accomplish them in a spirit of continuous improvement (or lifelong learning).

It’s been a week of thoughtful, inspiring conversations! It never ceases to amaze me that I can share “tea time” with a mindful Higher Education expert in the UK , work simultaneously on an .xls workbook with a data-crunching entrepreneur in New York, and hash out video scripts with a media guru in Vancouver. Working with people in the Hive has already expanded my network and given me opportunities to add value to my connections.

What I am seeing emerge as a trend in these conversations is the energy around the place where technology meets people. We’re beginning to define the roles between ourselves as humans and our technological offspring. It is a conversation, I think, that began with the first stone tool and will continue as long as humans keep inventing. AI asks how the conversation will continue when the machines keep inventing. Psychology asks what is it that makes conversation.

Traditionally, people and technology have been in two different categories: “soft skills” vs hard skills” or “touchy-feely” vs measurable results; qualitative vs quantitative. Increasingly, I’m getting calls from IT start-ups who are asking me how to clean up after they’ve done a tech dump/implementation on/for a team. The “Definition of Done” is hard to stick to – clients keep asking for more help, and the problems seem to be less technical and more personnel-related. For DevOps guys who are implementing, say, Kubernetes for a client, it should come as no wonder that the “agile” tech solution causes unwieldly people problems. This will become even more interesting over time as we negotiate the increasingly fuzzy line between humanity and its hybrids.

People and Culture seems to be the “black hole” of the moment. Has our love affair with tech eclipsed our understanding of what makes us human? As Jack Ma famously said, it’s time we stopped learning about facts, and started concentrating on human values: “Everything we teach should be different from machines”. He lists three values that have helped him become build Alibaba, one of the world’s leading e-commerce web portals, and a personal fortune of over 20 billion dollars. These values are reflected in Hive communications.

First, he says: “Be optimistic” – how will I be different from the others?” The HiveMind is building a global community of outstanding people with the passion and ability to make the world of a work better — people who want to collaborate because they truly enjoy what they do and have fun sharing their expertise. Not about selfies, not about look-at-me videos. For example, technology solutions that go beyond UX to truly enhance human values from a cradle-to-cradle mind-set.

The second value Jack outlines is: “Find a group of people who share the same vision.” Hive members are eager to learn from one another and celebrate that members have different backgrounds, different languaging and epistemological backgrounds, and share the same passion for collaboration that brings ideas to life. So how we communicate is more critical than ever before— more than the technology, it is the human ability for deep listening and patterns of communication that builds the bedrock of trust. Hive members are members because we share the same values. In fact, it’s the first thing my interviewer, @Ddr-h_stebbings talked about!

Finally, Jack reminds us to think about sacrifice, and consider the long-term vision. Tenacity. Persistence. Stamina. The ability to create a trend, not follow one. AI isn’t the trend to follow. It’s already causing disruption. The opportunity lies in redefining what makes us human.

I look forward to reading your thoughts and more great video conversations with Hive members. Thanks to everyone who I’ve met during this incredible week for the inspiration!

Published in Opinions, Uncategorized