Lego flexibility means that the production of every product is broken down into its component parts. These components are produced where the cost is low, the quality high, the competence excellent, and the innovation rate above average and high. Each of these four elements brings different components from different parts of the world, but they are finally brought together to make up the product, which could be a mobile phone, a car, a computer, etc.
Lego flexibility depends on the existence of an organizational form in which multifunctional teams form the smallest units and global competence clusters form the global unit. In addition, it is vital to assign a central role to knowledge development, knowledge transfer, feedback processes, co-creation and the analysis of social sentiment.
Information, communication and technology functions could be outsourced, for example, to the Bangalore region in India, sales functions to Paris, London and New York, PR and media relations to Berkeley and administrative functions to Berlin. One could also envisage such a strong focus on core processes that all other functions are spinoffs brought in for strictly limited activities for a specific assignment.
There will be enormous social consequences if this type of lego flexibility does come into effect globally, and it will represent the development of a new form of global work distribution and professional specialization. In this new landscape, competence development, career development, personal risk and wealth-creation processes will all undergo inherent change. One result of this kind of lego flexibility will be that sovereign states could easily lose their grip over wealth-creation processes. As we know from the industrial era, democratic control over wealth-creation processes can easily disintegrate, erode and be downgraded to a purely symbolic level.
In the 1980s and 1990s a large part of the workforce moved from industrial production to jobs in the service and knowledge sectors. This movement occurred both through cuts in the number of traditional production jobs and an increase in service and knowledge jobs. On the threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, knowledge workers – making up the backbone of the middle class – are now under threat, as are service workers.
We analyse and discuss how this development in the new organizational logic result in new forms of cooperation, the main driver of which is the new technology, i.e. robots, informats and artificial intelligence (AI).