A whitepaper released recently by the Aspen Institute, titled Leveraging the Talent-Driven Organization, written based on a discussion that took place at the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Talent Development, presents a very interesting thesis,

The new talent-driven firm is one that provides conditions for talent to learn, collaborate, and make decisions utilizing social networks and other tools that characterize our digital age. The talent of today expects to learn constantly, to grow steadily, and to exert leadership where he or she can. Structures and strategies need to follow suit.

Author Richard Adler suggests that rather than scaling operational efficiencies, to be truly competitive today’s top firms need to scale learning so that their people can get better, faster; that’s the true competitive advantage (see “The Big Shift“).

Mark Yolton, Senior Vice President for SAP Community Networks (communities described as possibly “the most extensive use to date of social media by a corporation”) participated in the roundtable and has some really interesting perspectives on how social media can support The Big Shift that’s required to keep up with the pace of innovation inside firms (one of the key theories is that what helped firms thrive and survive in the 20th century is actually crippling them in the 21st). Based on this incredibly large-scale implementation, Yolton provides a new model that contrasts these differences and provides some interesting food for thought (for example, “Vertically integrated vs. Horizontally networked”).

It’s absolutely worth a read. To download your own copy, click here.

[full disclosure: SAP is an SMG client]