Planners are regarded as knowledge workers!
Planners can be knowledge generators by interpreting information and getting knowledge out of it, knowledge consumers as they can use existing knowledge to form policies and knowledge brokers by trading relevant information. Though a relatively unknown and young discipline, urban planning has a huge potential to solve various problems of cities and regions thus making it house of knowledge workers, required even in the lowest level of hierarchy within an organisation working in this field. Human settlements all over the world are incurring huge losses because of negligence, inefficiency and unplanned growth. This can be reduced considerably when planners are involved in the planning process.
What and who are knowledge workers?
Peter Drucker first used the term knowledge worker in his book Landmarks of tomorrow, they are basically people who have tacit roles and deal with ambiguity and uncertainty unlike the transactional roles which are more of a routine. Their main capital is knowledge and they do jobs which require problem solving with convergent, divergent and creative perspective. They analyse the problem and use it to their leverage for generating solutions and ideas. They can be engineers, physicians, scientists, pharmacists, architects, accountants, lawyers, and academicians etc. They generate knowledge from the information given to them, thus a well established information system is a pre-requisite for knowledge workers.
In today’s world knowledge has become a more valuable asset than capital, land and labour. Advancement of technology after industrialisation fostered creation of new set of employees who use information to make their living. Drucker was a visionary and identified how in future, the value of blue-collar workers will decrease due to automation. He ascertained that knowledge workers will take important places in organisations in future. He emphasise that how advancement in science and technology will lead to creation of new knowledge which will make space and increase the importance of knowledge workers.
Knowledge workers can be broadly divided into three types:
Knowledge Generators: These are the people who generate knowledge and are the primary source of that new knowledge. They are inventors, discoverers, practitioners, explorers etc. They find solutions for complex problems, answer different queries, generate ideas etc.
Knowledge Consumers: These are the users of the knowledge generated. They use different systems to find and use information but have little to offer others. They search the central repository to find the answers and using existing knowledge is their key skill. They use existing knowledge to generate new one.
Knowledge Broker: Knowledge brokers are the key mediators between generators and consumers, they exactly know where to look for the knowledge required. They do not generate knowledge themselves but are well versed in finding the same. A typical example of this can be a secretary who searches relevant information for the owner generated by the employees.
Further these can attain various roles such as controller, helper, learner, linker, networker, organizer, retriever, sharer, solver, and tracker. When knowledge is retained or created it can be further used by knowledge workers to expand the horizons of the working of a company. This can be done by creating knowledge assets which have monetary value and can be materialised by creating patents for these, at this point they become material intellectual properties. In these kind of situations the patents can earn money and knowledge workers play an important role in improving the value of the company.
This can be done by creating knowledge assets which have monetary value and can be materialised by creating patents for these, at this point they become material intellectual properties. In these kind of situations the patents can earn money and knowledge workers play an important role in improving the value of the company.
Today the concept behind knowledge workers has been further extended processes, management, work, functions, organisation and services. The hierarchy ranges from individual specialist to global knowledge economy. The diversification of fields in which knowledge workers work is tremendous, every day a new field is discovered where a knowledge worker can fit in. One of such field is Urban Planning; they require a problem solving aptitude and high level of creativity in their work. Every problem they are exposed to is different from other and requires high level of understanding thus making them one of the most valued assets of a company. A planner works behind the curtain for the future of the city so that it keeps functioning efficiently and needs of current generation are met without jeopardising the needs of future generation. The role and work of a planner is not immediately appreciated. Thee need and thought of having a planner emerge when the problem becomes severe and in a well-functioning place the role is mostly taken for granted.
The knowledge workers these days are key to growth and productivity of and economy. In today’s world the importance has shifted from tangible assets like land, labour building and raw material which can be borrowed or bought to intangible resources like information, talent, knowledge, skill, image and reputation are required by the modern economies to survive and prosper. These resources cannot be simply bought but have to be developed and therefore knowledge workers are of primary importance in today’s worlds. The knowledge workers these days are key to growth and productivity of and economy.