Daily Archives: August 23, 2011

Dog Bites Man

Today’s post is from Dick Locke, Sourcing Innovation’s resident expert on International Sourcing and Procurement.

News from the Department of D’Oh

Here’s a whole Wall Street Journal article saying venture capital activities are increasing in China. Not once in the article did it mention the nationality of the VC firms who are doing that investing. You don’t have to dig very deep to find that all three of the companies the article mentions are Chinese companies.

“Chinese VC firms increase investment in China.” What a surprise!

Thanks, Dick.

Public Procurement in 2020 — Are You On Track? Part II

In yesterday’s post, we begin our discussion of Hansen’s predictions for public procurement in 2020, which were offered as a 5-part series last month in response to the 5 predictions of Bob Lohfeld (of Lohfeld Consulting) that were published in Washington Technology in early July. Yesterday we discussed the Government Market. Today, we will discuss Workforce.

In his piece, in a nutshell, Lohfeld prognosticated that:

  • The workforce will be more diverse based on population shifts away from cities, and professionals will be employed in a virtual world without regard to where they reside. Baby boomers will be in their 70s and still actively engaged in the workforce either on a part- or full-time basis.
  • Employees will work on global government projects where work is performed in virtual space and staffed by people from multiple countries brought together for their technical expertise, without regard to cultural or geopolitical backgrounds.
  • The workforce will be able to support the entire bid life cycle, instead of discrete segments such as proposals or capture. Technology proficiency will be mandatory, and those who are slow to adopt or resist technology entirely will face dwindling prospects.

Yes, work will become more virtual. Yes, work will continue to be staffed from people in multiple countries. And, yes, the workforce collectively will be able to support the life cycle, but how does this help? Like Hansen says, its lack of depth and imagination is tantamount to the empty calories of a Three Musketeers bar.

SI has to agree with Hansen – the real issue centres on the Clark and Fourastie three (now four) sector hypothesis of how a wealthy nation’s economy evolves. The hypothesis includes the extraction of raw materials (Primary), manufacturing (Secondary), services (Tertiary) and knowledge-based (Quaternary). The workforce will be aligned to where the economy is. Plus, as Hansen points out, multiple factors such as time, increased globalization, a weakened economy and political sensibilities can and do in fact intertwine into a convoluted landscape. And this effects the diversity of the workforce that comes together for any project.

Plus, what about the communication challenge? How do we deal with the situation where, literally, four generations work side by side on projects in the same (virtual) office location. How do we simultaneously communicate with people who have never worked without the internet and people who have never really used it and still have no idea of its potential? Until we answer this question, prognostication on the workforce for the average government organization is missing the point.