The Agile Worker

In 1959, Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” which referred to an emerging form of work for the next generation workforce. Knowledge workers is a broad term, but it basically characterized by a worker’s deep knowledge in focused topics and their ability to utilize that knowledge to provide services. The rise of the knowledge worker produced massive consulting companies, legions of financial analysis, and further segmentation of professional medicine, law, and sciences. While knowledge workers are certainly here to stay, I believe another form of work is on the rise. I call it the “Agile Worker”. With the advancement of web technology and the continuing expansion of the internet, knowledge is becoming more of a commodity. You can see the rise of cost effective or free online education, such as the Khan Academy, edX, Lynda, and Codecademy, as a foreshadow of the widespread accessibility of deep knowledge. In the future, knowledge will not be used as leverage to drive demand. Rather, the commoditization of knowledge will empower the Agile Worker .

Some of the idea of the Agile Worker adopts key concepts from the Agile Software Development, such as the ability to quickly adapt to changes, but further applied beyond software development.

The Agile Worker is characterized by their ability to:

  • quickly adapt to change
  • sufficiently acquire new knowledge or skills
  • harmonize diverse knowledge and people

An Agile Worker is a person who is able to quickly adapt to change by sufficiently acquiring new knowledge and harmonizing it with other information and people.

An Agile Worker is able to:

  • be resourceful and learn to the level required to meet the current demand.
  • effective worth with groups of people and skillfully combine shared knowledge.
  • apply a high technical aptitude with unrelated creativity and expression.
  • quickly learn new skills to a sufficient of proficiency (such as languages, programming, finance, and design).
  • acquire a breadth of diverse knowledge enough to be able to effectively teach others.

How do you think Knowledge Workers have evolved?

This article originally appeared at