The French Economist, Thomas Piketty’s best-selling book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ has attracted as much praise as it has criticism. However, whether or not you agree with Piketty’s diagnosis and remedies for inequality in society it is hard to disagree when he states that the main force for the reduction of inequality in the world is the “diffusion of knowledge and investment in training and skills”.

Consequently, any individual, any business or any country that does not adequately invest in the acquisition and diffusion of new skills and training will not prosper. In short, those people, companies and countries that do not continually invest in themselves as the maximum priority, are set to lose out badly in the future.

What does this mean for you as a business leader and decision-maker? Well,only you can answer that question effectively but here are three areas of opportunity and challenge for you to think about.

  1. Within your business you may already possess a great wealth of knowledge that is not effectively diffused throughout the entire organisation. For example, you may ask yourself questions such as, “How is it that our London office handles customer complaints much better than our New York office?What is it that the one knows how to do that the other does not? How do the processes differ from one location to the other?”

Challenge: What best practices can you identify in one part of your organisation that can be transferred to all other parts of the organisation?


  1. Delivering knowledge and training can be time consuming and costly, particularly if people need to come off the job and travel to learning and training centres. Today however, advances in digital media and mobile technology mean that training and knowledge transfer can take place more effectively and more rapidly than ever before and can be delivered right to the place of work, the home or even to the commuter train.

Challenge: What opportunities exist to leverage digital media and mobile technology to deliver training and knowledge more effectively and more efficiently in your organisation?


  1. After a protracted period of recession and slow growth, many organisation have reduced payroll and slashed training budgets. Now that the tide has turned and the major economies have entered a phase of growth, new skills, new knowledge and new processes will be required to innovate and thrive in the future.

Challenge: What are the new skills and knowledge that will enable your organisation to develop and deliver the products and servicesof the future and how will you acquire this knowledge?

That knowledge is power is nothing new but it is something that is often overlooked and neglected. Indeed, high levels of literacy among the population of the early US are partly credited with the emergence of that country as a major economic power in the 19th century.

As it was then, so it is now – invest in yourself today and you will reap the benefits tomorrow.

21st Century Warehousing: Strategy and Operation

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