There is great news from the age of cloud computing, cognitive assistance, global exchange platforms and blockchain. All the advantages entrepreneurs enjoy as individual economic actors can now be augmented. We all have far more individual economic power than we could ever have imagined.
We can download scale from the internet, we can access all forms of knowledge through cognitive assistants, and we can refine the quality of our knowledge with data and analytic insights. Using the Service Thinking framework, we can improve our capabilities in serving others, which is the ultimate key to economic success in the Individual Economy.
Scale for everyone.
Assume that all scale is available, from “one man band” to “globally networked, unlimited computing power, fully expandable storage capacity”.
Assume all knowledge in the field you choose is available via networks, queries, intelligent search and cognitive assistance.
Add more and more skills to your repertoire.
Assume that you can acquire appropriate skills throughout your life journey through the individual economy – the right skills at the right time. These can be acquired through on line learning and on-the-job application. The on-line learning component is increasingly becoming tradable as a result of badging and certification. When badges and certificates are recognized worldwide and represent a standard of accomplishment that all searchers for talent can trust, then your value in the individual global economy is enhanced by your possession of these tokens of knowledge and learning.
Data and analytics at your service.
Assume that any insights you seek to derive will be available, given sufficient data and the appropriate analytics. There’s an algorithm for that.
Service Thinking turns your empathy into a service business.
Using empathy, as well as behavioral analysis and experience mapping and other service design techniques, you can identify service innovation opportunities that you can address with new solutions. You can do this as an individual, decide which service field you choose entrepreneurially to enter, and proceed to business planning and market entry.
We’ll all enjoy cognitive assistance.
At a rapidly accelerating rate, artificial intelligence and machine learning are being deployed in the form of cognitive assistance. A cognitive assistant is software that responds to your need for knowledge. Let’s imagine you are working as a legal researcher. You are tasked with preparing a defense for a client. You would describe the facts of the case (probably using voice activation, just as you would with Siri or Alexa) to a cognitive assistant specifically designed for paralegal work. The cognitive assistant would parse your description and present you with details of the 10 most relevant legal precedents, in ranked order of relevance, with links to the underlying statutes. The assistant would stand by for your next request, which might be to compose a first draft of a defense document. This capability already exists: IBM’s Haifa research lab built IBM Argumentor as a form of deep learning for legal analysis.
But cognitive assistance does not have to be so advanced. Your smartphone can perform as a cognitive assistant. Let’s imagine you operate a business repairing household appliances for homeowners in your community. Using your smartphone, the internet and a search engine, you can access the operating manual and parts list for every model number of every home appliance you encounter. Does this model of Sub-Zero brand of refrigerator-freezer have a water filter on the ice-making unit? What is the part number? How can I order a replacement? How is it installed? All of this knowledge and much more is quickly and easily available for the asking. It’s augmentation: providing more knowledge, at the time and place it’s needed, and providing you with more confidence that you can tackle any issue, while enhancing your reputation with your customer.
The Individual Economy is here.
In the individual economy, it is reasonable to assume that you can augment your personal capability and resources to the extent necessary to achieve your goals. Decide on what it is you want to do without first worrying about the scale of your resources.
 Hunter Hastings and Jeff Saperstein: Service Thinking: The Seven Principles To Discover Innovative Opportunities; Business Expert Press, 2014, pp65-7
Also published on Medium.