The ten principles of digital work

Esko Kilpi
2 min readMay 31, 2018

The human protocols of creating value in the post-industrial world

  1. informed free choice enabled by cognitive diversity and psychological safety, rather than compliance, is the basis for decisions
  2. active participation, rather than passively accepting instructions, is the basis of growth and development
  3. work is carried out within a framework of meaningfulness and self-direction, rather than direction from outside
  4. activities are performed in interaction, sharing the cognitive load of work, rather than based on reductionist organizing principles or social isolation. The focus shifts from tasks and roles to relations
  5. one is responsible for one’s own actions, rather than seeing someone else, somewhere else, responsible
  6. a worker is engaging in complex, responsive and open activities with others, in contrast with engaging in closed repetitions of the same activity. Work is creative interaction based on curiosity and exploration
  7. the network, rather than organizational units, processes or hierarchies, is the main architecture of work
  8. productivity is understood as creative learning and scaling up learning instead of more output with less input. Increasing the quality and speed of learning matter more than increasing the quantitative output of work
  9. knowledge work is investments of human capital following the same logic we have used to understand financial investments. Workers should share the responsibilities and future earnings potential that used to belong only to the investors of financial capital
  10. work is interaction between interdependent people. Competence and learning capability are less about the attributes of individuals, and more about the attributes of social interaction




Esko Kilpi

Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again. -André Gide