Transit computing: From productivity to personal logistics

Posted on | March 30, 2016 | No Comments

A summary of some recent work…

The idea of productivity so crucial to both IT and workplace design relies on a notion of work that is over a century old. Scientific management eliminated wasted motion to drive efficiency in the factory and the office at a time when people worked in fixed hours and locations, with measurable inputs and outputs. In today’s distributed work worlds, mobile devices turn any location into a potential workplace. What we count as work has also changed to incorporate the logistical, administrative and social aspects that accompany the formal demands of a job. These two factors require new technical, psychological and logistical skills from technology users who aspire to be productive in ever more adhoc situations. Examples from two recent studies – of mobile knowledge workers and air travel passengers – suggest the dominance of transit computing. A range of services now facilitate personal logistics for workers who want to make a life around a living. In this context, business models wedded to strict work locations, singular employers and privileged access are obstacles to productivity. The future of work will be defined by technologies that remove barriers to transit.

The following table plots the shift from productivity to personal logistics as it relates to workers’ experience. In the logistical enterprise, competition comes not from what we do but how we do it.

Capture

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