Innovation for Jobs

Innovation for Jobs

i4j ECO Workshop: A True “Work Market”, replacing resumes with facilitation

David A Nordfors

Sun Jan 24 2016 14:14:49 GMT-0500 (EST)

Here is Gary Bolles i4j ECO Workshop – a great

Here is Gary Bolles i4j ECO Workshop – a great topic & scenario. What u think? 🙂

A True "Work Market”, replacing resumes with facilitation
Workshop Leader: Gary A. Bolles

There is a huge business opportunity to create a true “work market” that actually helps job seekers and employers find out what they should know about each other in order to decide to work together and get the best working relations from day one. Today, this is not the case. A large part of all human potential is wasted, just because people don’t know each other and try to establish stereotypical relations when they look for jobs, instead of establishing a good match.

Most workers today think that job-hunting means writing an updated resume – but they often don’t know what skills they most love using, or where they might use them. And most employers today think that defining a job means re-writing an existing job description – but they often don’t know what specific problems they need solved, nor what specific skills are needed to solve those problems.

In this workshop we will be discussing what a True Work Market can look like and the opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop it.


Megan has a unique set of skills, interests, and work background, but she isn’t particularly adept at determining the characteristics of the kind of work she would love doing most.

Margo is a mid-level manager at a large multi-national firm. She knows that she has a huge, multi-year project around the corner, and that she’ll need someone with exceptional talents to help her deliver it.

In a traditional approach, Megan would write a resume (which of course would simply describe her past work). And Margo would simply write a job description and post it through her HR department – but the job description would simply be a poorly-edited version of an existing job description, because Megan is so busy she doesn’t have time or incentive to craft something specific.

However… Megan stumbles on a new approach that helps her to rapidly understand her own skills, interests, and other unique characteristics and needs that define a variety of work options.

And Margo stumbles on a new approach that helps her to quickly and clearly articulate the problems that she needs to solve, which in turn define the requirements she believes she needs, and to gain the input of colleagues who help her to rapidly hone her requirements.

Both Megan and Margo end up using exactly the same kind of language to describe their needs.

Through a process that blends each of their existing people networks with a flexible process that helps each of them to identify the likelihood that there might be a match between them, and to go through a series of steps to ensure the right balance of anonymity and disclosure, Megan and Margo are able to find out about each other.

They engage in a process of collaboration to hone the requirements and tasks that define the work to be done, baking in enough flexibility to allow them both to know they’re getting what they need; to gather enough information to feel they’re each making a good decision; and to test out the relationship to ensure it’s a good fit.

Of course, each of them is simultaneously discovering and negotiating with others, to allow them to determine what they feel is the best choice in their current situation.

It turns out that Megan and Margo do indeed have a fit, and they use their negotiated agreement as the basis for the committed statement of work.

What kind of system and processes would be needed to make this kind of "Work Market" operate effectively?

Jeannie Kim-Han

Sun Jan 24 2016 17:04:43 GMT-0500 (EST)

I may be insane and may be overly simplistic in

I may be insane and may be overly simplistic in thinking that one answer may be to have individuals create personal network maps overlaid with an understanding of what they can offer (KSARs – R being resources I.e. access to other networks – my 2 cents on the lit) for each relationship/tie instead of resumes/job descriptions and have a platform that helps the facilitation of such connections similar to how eHarmony makes romantic matches.

Could we use the algorithms used for traditional match making services like eHarmony and apply it to connecting job seekers and job creators?

Downsides: eharmony and match making forms take a concerted amount of effort and time to complete. Individuals need to have a good sense of self and honesty in assessing KSARs

Upside: embed assessments like Xavier's TRAK but geared toward working adults to understand mindset, philosophical orientation etc. this only has to be completed once and a profile is them maintained and updated. Could also use Gallup strength finder which is more readily accepted in research circles than Myers Briggs.

Educationally: kids are taught from a young age on the basics of network theory and Granovetter's strength of weak ties. Career centers and job centers focus on developing ego-based social network maps as well as spheres of influence maps instead of focusing on creating linear resumes.

I'm eyeball deep in network theory and analysis so forgive the crazy or mundane in this nascent thought.


Sent from my iPhone

Gary A. Bolles

Sun Jan 24 2016 17:38:25 GMT-0500 (EST)

Jeannie, good thoughts all.

I'll tell you some of my personal

Jeannie, good thoughts all.

I'll tell you some of my personal biases. (But we can call them "insights."

. A useful way to separate an individual's job search is into three parts:
what, where and how. What skills and other unique attributes does the
individual have; Where would those unique characteristics be most
effectively used (especially the ones the individual loves using most); and
How to find work opportunities that match those. Network maps are great for
the How part, and for the "information interviewing" part of Where. They're
not especially good for What, though, so that's where self-inventory comes

. There are many instruments for doing self-inventory, and both
Strengthsfinders and Myers-Briggs are useful for specific contexts. (I
actually consulted on the first software version of the MBTI back in the
80's.) But neither delves specifically into all three kinds of skills, nor
into the other factors that define successful work matches. So a
work-specific ontology is needed. And we need better automated tools to
automatically infer skills and other strengths.

. I've used the phrase "eHarmony for jobs" frequently, because at its base
the process is about connecting. But it's unfortunately not 100%
equivalent. Two people searching through eHarmony have exactly the same
goal: finding a mate, so the power dynamic is (reasonably) balanced. Two
people searching through the Work Market have two different goals: To find
someone to solve problems (employer), and to find someone who will
compensate an individual for solving problems (seeker), so the power
dynamic is historically unbalanced: The employer has the money. But I
believe it's possible to solve for this and other challenges (like the need
for a consistent ontology, network effects, contextual anonymity, etc.).

. Specifically on network theory… Completely agreed that Granovetter
thinking is critical for anyone looking to effectively leverage a network,
digital or analog. It's easy for those of us in Silicon Valley to forget,
though, that usage of digital tools is often lumpy, and although LinkedIn
et al are extremely useful in high-use fields and high-density urban areas,
we need to make sure we're teaching kids and adults to use good
old-fashioned research and information interviewing, because most digital
tools are useful but not sufficient.

Before we launched the SoCap – SocialCapitalMarkets conference, we created
a tool called Xigi, which people used to create their own visual maps to
see how they connected with others in the nascent social
entrepreneur/impact capital arena. We need more consumer-friendly ways to
help people visualize how they're connected, hopefully without some of the
restraints of the current social networking tools.


On Sun, Jan 24, 2016 at 2:04 PM, Jeannie Kim-Han […]

Jeannie Kim-Han

Sun Jan 24 2016 19:04:23 GMT-0500 (EST)

Agreed on all of your insights. 🙂 and a

Agreed on all of your insights. 🙂 and a few additional biases of my own.

In my mind the "what" component is an overlay on the visual network map. I guess I'm thinking more in terms of how an individual assesses their KSARs which I think becomes more apparent in relational context. For example, I know what KSARs I need to bring and have in my relationship with my 15 year old versus the KSARs I perceive to be necessary to engage in this group. (Note the affirmative language of "know" vs "perceive." This too needs to be dealt with)

As a cultural anthropologist steeped in Geertz's thick description, my bias is that context helps us with understanding and articulating the "what" so that it matters to the other and thus an exchange can actually occur. The exchange also does not have to be 1:1 in the mind of either as the valuation will be different…it's more of a barter than a quid pro quo.

I think this is true for the unbalanced power dynamic of seeker vs. employer, the employer may have the $ but the right seeker has the KSARs to get what the employer needs done, so in the end there is a bit more balance than not. The problem in operationalizing of course is in the valuation of work which will still be influenced by supply & demand.

Regarding the tech platform maybe what it should be doing is assessing dynamics and flow particularly in relation to understanding the holes in the network structure of jobs in a particular industry. So more predictive than matching. The seekers are then given access and via a yet-to-be-determined interface, the seeker & employer find each other. This process is more towards keeping up with the changes taking place in the job market given our knowledge economy.

Looking forward to discussing further later this week. 🙂

Sent from my iPhone

Esko Kilpi

Mon Jan 25 2016 03:02:50 GMT-0500 (EST)

Hi Jeannie,

We are presently testing network algorithms for achieving your

Hi Jeannie,

We are presently testing network algorithms for achieving your goal with one difference, we don’t talk about workers connecting with employers, we talk about platforms and connecting with customers. To us it is the customer who has the money, not the employer.

Here is some background:

Work, then, is interaction between interdependent people.

Best wishes,


Esko Kilpi Company

Jeannie Kim-Han

Mon Jan 25 2016 04:50:40 GMT-0500 (EST)

Hi Esko,
Thanks for this. The language of customers and businesses

Hi Esko,
Thanks for this. The language of customers and businesses being "cooperators" and your definition of work definitely resonates with me. It is this type of semantic shift that will help us make the philosophical paradigmatic move so that these concepts are not inherently ladened with traditional power dynamics which I believe limit our own creativity in thinking outside the box and truly disrupting unemployment now and in the future.

Regarding the algorithms, one possibility in thinking about them may be in calculating or weighting the presence of social capital as represented by the structural holes or openness within an ego-network. My very fuzzy thinking on this is that it would help us in understanding the level of connectedness necessary to mitigate any absence of social capital which I believe is at the crux of why certain people just can't get connected to work despite their KSARs.

This thought occurred to me as I read about the young Starbucks Barista in the UK who is autistic. Somehow, someone connected him using their social capital which made a difference in his life.


Sent from my iPhone

Esko Kilpi

Mon Jan 25 2016 05:54:51 GMT-0500 (EST)

Dear Jeannie,

Of course our approach to innovating jobs is less

Dear Jeannie,

Of course our approach to innovating jobs is less useful in industrial settings, such as in the case of Boeing discussed here earlier:-)


Sent from my iPhone

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