Knowledge work is a "Wicked Problem"

This is where NolijWork is starting from, find out more on our thinking here…

Knowledge Work – A Definition…

In addition to the experts, this is how we are thinking. First, absent an agreed definition of Knowledge Work, we offer this:-

Knowledge Work is the application of specialist knowledge in the facilitation and/or enhancement of services and goods. It requires autonomous individual activity combined with purposeful interactions between relevant stakeholders to achieve outcomes. Critically, unlike repetitive work, knowledge work must exhibit one or more non-routine characteristics, which can include, but is not limited to, creativity, design, methods, planning, co-ordination, problem solving or other cognitive and empathetic skills.


How is Knowledge Work Different?


  • Knowledge work is characterized through aspects of variability.
  • Strategies of the past i.e. to eliminate work variability (work & human) for the purposes of productivity and automation, are ill at ease with knowledge work.
  • Consequently a one-size fits all approach to facilitating Knowledge Work cannot produce sustainable outcomes.



  • Institutions have evolved past hierarchical and matrix organisation structures, employees now operate in the era of the “wirearchy”, spanning a 3D lattice inherent within the modern enterprise.
  • Critically, its not just about B2B or B2C, we believe that organisations have lost sight that knowledge work is primarily about human-to-human (H2H).
  • Productivity challenges apply irrespective of company size, as increases in organisational size are matched in lock-step by increases in complexity of interactions.



  • There are endless technology solutions on offer.
  • But those portfolios of technologies, and the infinite permutations in which they can be combined, has produced a “Tower of Babel” situation within many enterprises.

And Finally…

  • Knowledge Workers have always been mobile.
  • The new reality of working from home (WFH) arising from Covid-19 has just accelerated the initiative and speed towards “Work from Anywhere” (WFx).
  • Organizations cannot manage Knowledge Workers in a “Work from Anywhere” world using methods optimized for the office.