Leonardo’s Legacy and the Web3 CV

#WF17 A Renaissance in the New Infrastructure of Work

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One of the first reported applications of the CV* as a personal marketing document was by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1482. As a 30-year-old, young Leo applied for a job with the Duke of Milan as a military engineer.  

“I know how when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.”

In retrospect, Leonardo’s lifetime accomplishments included ‘the most famous painting of all time’ and ‘invented the helicopter and parachute’, but back then even Leo had to apply for a job.

Today, 539 years after Leonardo’s job application, we are still using the CV. Things have moved on a bit, for example, we can now email our CV.  

This article highlights how we are seeing the early stages of a renaissance in the infrastructure of work. Not only will this allow us to ditch the CV, but it will also have a big impact on how we organise our work.  In the future, we will still need to persuade someone we are worth hiring. New digital technology can allow us to do this with more flair, more fairly, and more efficiently.

(* for this article I use the term CV – for Curriculum Vitae and Résumé 🤓)

Why CVs Don’t Work

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.“ Leonardo Da Vinci

There are a few issues with CVs.

A dry PDF is not a good format for a personal marketing document. We have access to instant videos, and free editing and publishing. You can now use TikTok Resumes to apply for jobs with Target, Chipotle, and Shopify.

From an employer’s perspective, the CV is not a good predictor of subsequent performance.  78% of applicants lie on their CVs, which is probably only a big issue in exceptional circumstances.   

In practice, most job applications will be processed using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) parsing data fields against search criteria.  However, humans set the search criteria and design the algorithms. So we  are subject to our own biases which can cause unfair discrimination of candidates.

Digital Landlords and Your Career Data

“Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep, They just lie there and they die there”

From the song, Mona Lisa, sang by Nat King Cole, written by Evans and Livingston.

Some thought LinkedIn would disrupt the hiring industry, providing a searchable repository for career records and potential candidates. Today it is a centralised database where 774 million professional users willingly share their career data.  Instead of ‘disrupting’ the hiring industry, LinkedIn ‘services it’ by selling our data to recruiters and sales teams.  A problem with this type of business model is that it ends up generating spam and harmful data breaches.

Employers are willing to pay a transaction fee to agencies to search protected databases to find suitable candidates.  The cause of many labour market problems comes down to how we organise our career data.  The good news is that this is slowly changing. 

The Web3 CV

A more efficient and fairer global labour market requires greater trust between workers and participants in business, education, government.  It requires data that is controlled by users, verifiable and interoperable across different platforms.

In my research paper with the BRI I outlined how blockchain technology might be deployed, and the longer-term implications. Verifiable digital career wallets are now being built that put individuals in control of the work application process.  

For now, here are three examples from the Blockchain Workforce ecosystem that are worth following:

The non-profit Velocity Foundation is building the Internet of Careers, reinventing how career records are shared across the global market.  Their members include HireRight, SuccessFactors, Oracle, KornFerry, Cornerstone, and represent a billion workers.  Members can issue, share and verify career credentials using blockchain technology.

Veremark uses career passports that are blockchain verified and can be ported from employer to employer, saving time and cost of multiple background checks.

Truu provides a secure, portable digital passport for a modern healthcare system including the NHS in the UK.  100,000 clinical days per year are lost in the UK to cover doctors completing onboarding checks when they move to new hospitals.  Clinicians use a digital staff passport – which collates and enables remote verification of all their relevant qualifications, registrations, and other necessary paperwork – reducing the process to minutes. 

A Renaissance for the World of Work

When individuals control their career data in verifiable digital career wallets, current business models are turned upside down.   

For employers, there are benefits to being able to access a liquid workforce, in quicker time-to-hire, quality, and risk. This will make it easier to launch and disband projects, find suitable candidates, streamline onboarding, and, avoid high transaction costs.  Workers will have much more autonomy and equity in their work and start to develop new forms of teamwork including cooperatives, digital guilds, platforms, and Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs).

We can source better teams with the help of pattern recognition to identify success factors from performance data.  Workers will be able to port their hard-earned reputations across platforms and share wages with family members with much lower remittance fees. New business models will reduce transaction costs in searching, contracting, and coordinating as groups of workers are hired, nearly on-demand. According to the British economist Ronald Coase, under these circumstances, the firm shrinks. We have smaller organisational units.  As jobs disaggregate into projects and tasks, we need to rethink work, organisations, careers, welfare, and education.

So like Leonardo, we will still need to pitch for work in the future, but chances are our future colleagues will know us anyway.

Speakers Corner 📢

Here are a couple of interesting free events for Workforce Futurists to hear me and lots of interesting speakers, from Silicon Valley to Supply Chain in Denmark.

A Decentralized Future: From Organigrams to Organizational Networks

I will be speaking on a Future of Work Series from Silicon Valley, with Kae Huynh (investor at EG Ventures), Jennifer Paylor (Head of L&D, Capgemini), Francisco Marin (CEO Cognitive Talent Solutions). We will talk about the role that networks play in the creation of a decentralized future of work. Should be interesting…

🕐 9th September 09:00 PST, 18:00 CEST

When there is a shortage of milkshakes, and chicken at Nando’s - Supply Chain makes headline news. The reality behind the scenes is complex and involves the human supply chain with a shortage of lorry drivers.

I am pleased to be speaking at the Optilon Supply Chain Conference 2021 - Thriving in Uncertainty. Prepare for the Future. I will be talking about how organisations will be able to find the talent they need from an increasingly liquid and decentralised workforce. Other speakers include Matt Britton, on the consumer of the future, Thomas Bjørnsten on how human data will affect the design of future supply chain, and Alis Hinrichsen, a thought-leader on responsible procurement.

🕐 15th September for 3 hours, starting 12:00 BST, 13:00 CEST, 07:00 EDT

Catch-Up Corner 👓

For those who were on the beach in August, having a digital detox, or just a well-deserved break. Now September is here, you need to catch up on your reading!

Here’s a couple of Workforce Futurist articles to get you started…

Building Preferable Future Work Scenarios - #WF16 - using scenario development to make work better. With some help from Roy Amara, Wikistrat, Accenture, and of course, Ivor - Tarot Consultant Brighton Pier.

🦄24 Fast Growing WorkTech Unicorns To Follow - #WF15 - What’s behind the great work technology bull run? What are the VC and pension funds betting on? And have I put them off?!

The Great Flourishing – Why People Are Quitting Their Jobs - #WF14 - Why “The Great Resignation” is an illusion, with some help from Truman Burbank.

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