Abstraction shifts

Abstraction shifts pave the way for new work  

The concept of new work is based on the fact that in today’s complex and changing world, all fields of work will sooner or later face one or more abstraction shifts. This means that the content, relevance, execution and output of work become redefined and shift to a higher level of development. At the same time, some types of work unavoidably become irrelevant and cease to exist.

In general, companies have two ways of successfully coping with the change: they can either gradually evolve their business model or make a radical move to new business sectors. Car manufacturers have chosen the evolutionary road, combining branding and design to technological progress. In turn, Apple is a prime example of radical change and expansion, now operating not only in hardware manufacturing, but also in the fields of media, content production, and software development.

Figure 2. The evolution of phenomena.  © Juhani Risku 2010. Every phenomenon has four evolutionary stages: primitive, traditional, modern and futuristic. A mundane example: drinking has evolved from the primitive quenching of thirst to the traditional consumption of liquids to the modern refinement of drinks and finally to the futuristic form of a toast. An abstraction shift happens at each transition point. These evolutionary shifts can be intentionally exploited when drafting new models for work, business and systemic solutions, thus creating a competitive advantage and long term success. The goal of Wikimploi is to develop every dimension of work from content to effects so that a higher and more sustainable level of abstraction is achieved.