How to Definitively Prove How Much You Know and How Disruptive You Are in Your Field

Hey, social change agents!

After I've finished all previous 4 levels of the Roadmap for Deeper Work, I've arrived at arguably the most exciting part - Level 5: Creation. I've validated my conceptual MVP and am about to make huge strides toward realizing the career capital I've developed through this process. Get ready to Level Up! [caption id="attachment_686" align="aligncenter" width="157"]

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Level 5: Creation

This is where I put into action the logical conclusions derived from the the Analysis phase. The goals of this phase are to 1) validate the the adjacent possible implied in the theoretical underpinnings of the previous phase, and 2) measure the inherent value of the skills developed during this entire process from level 1 to level 4 - the resulting career capital.

Action / Inputs

By creating products, services, and initiatives that use the previously validated conceptual MVP as its baseline, I can make actionable recommendations that can further validate assumptions and hypotheses and lead to a breakthrough adjacent possible. For example, a social scientist may discover a curious pattern of actions and reactions that result in a disproportionate number of people in a given community performing socially undesirable actions. Moving through the levels of deep work, they might do the following:

  1. Establish consistency and the discipline in their observation methodologies to form a hypothesis (Level 1: Consistency)
  2. Research related subject-areas that may shed light onto the source of the behaviors, making note of any assumptions made in the hypothesis formation(Level 2: Experimentation)
  3. Integrate that new knowledge into a framework of cause and effect to explain the current behavior patterns and validating or invalidating assumptions (Level 3: Comprehension)
  4. Document and obtain feedback on potential opportunities to tweak that behavior within the aforementioned cause and effect framework (Level 4: Analysis)
  5. Design an experiment that tests these opportunities, lists revised assumptions, and makes recommendations for larger social policy (Level 5: Creation)

There are several ways I've identified that I can further validate my hypotheses and assumptions and thus the value of my career capital. I'll continue using the example of the social scientist in explaining these avenues:

  • Package and sell the idea and implementation techniques: The social scientist could become an advisor to those who have the power to implement social policies. In this position, the social scientist would have additional opportunities to test their solutions in the form of social policy recommendations. With greater resources, they can observe their theories in practice, identify oversights, and modify and improve their overall theory and recommendations by making trip through the deeper process. For myself, that means consulting or volunteering with individuals and organizations to test social business models, revenue models, governance practices, and online community methodologies. This strategy is most closely aligned with the paid engine of startup growth explained in The Lean Startup.
  • Presenting at conferences: Academia has perfected this avenue of career capital validation. Like their peers, the social scientist can submit papers and projects to academic conferences as a form of peer review and rigorous testing. In my case, that means attending and speaking at conferences whose audiences are closely aligned with my research areas such as conferences focused on fundraising, business transformation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, and online communities. This strategy is most closely aligned with the sticky engine of startup growth explained in The Lean Startup.
  • Mentoring social entrepreneurs in implementing their social change ideas: This option is, by far, the most closely aligned with the viral engine of startup growth explained in The Lean Startup as it directly relies upon one's ability to teach another and compound the effects as that student becomes a teacher to another. The social scientist could validate their career capital by teaching others their methodologies and having them teach others as part of a cycle of knowledge. In my case, that means mentoring social entrepreneurs in implementing social enterprise principles so that they can be additional examples and advocates for what I'm trying to achieve: a world where 'entrepreneur' and 'philanthropist' are synonymous, where business success is determined by both the financial bottom line and the social one.
I see a world ...

You'll notice that every output item can be linked to a startup engine of growth.The process of deliberate practice in Deep Work is, in effect, the process of innovation accounting in The Lean Startup. Just as a company can chart and meticulously engineer their growth, I think a knowledge-worker can do the same through the acquisition of career capital. Sticky, viral, and paid operate as both engines of corporate growth and of career capital validation. With that in mind, I propose the following metrics for each engine of growth where each group judges the creation phase successful according to the rate of recognition of career capital. Sticky - Rating: Medium

  • Super important metric: Sticky % = # Active Users / Total Users
  • Goal = 100%
  • Optimize: Engagement time or frequency

Viral - Rating: Hard

  • Viral Co-efficient:
  • Goal = >1
  • Optimize: Ease of sharing, leveraging of social proof (that the produce/idea/service/initiative is good)

Paid - Rating: Easy

  • Marginal Benefit = Lifetime Customer Value (LTV) - Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Goal = >0
  • Optimize: Marginal Benefit by increasing the amount betweenLTV and CAC

In another post, I'll go into these 'engines of career capital' using the social scientist and myself as examples.

Blog Ending

The Cycle Continues

It's important to note that getting to Level 5: Creation, and thus acquiring one bit of career capital is not the overall goal. The Roadmap for Deeper work is intended as a framework by which I keep pushing myself to ask questions and create more and more value for my industry and for the world. The authors of Deep Work and The Lean Startup stress this point by noting that:

  • Mastery is asymptote by which you can get closer and closer, by you can never really reach (Deep Work)
  • And engines of growth run out, so there should be an emphasis on research and development to discover pivot points that can keep the organization relevant and growing in an ever-changing market (The Lean Startup)

Now that both you and I have a clear process for career acquisition, there's no reason why we can't create the future of collaborative philanthropy. Right now. I've got an updated version of the Roadmap for Deeper Work with your name on it! Just sign up for mailing list to receive weekly roundups of blog posts and this important tool for career success! ... ... Are you still here? You should be changing the world. If you were signing up for my mailing list, you get a pass, but I'll expect some big ideas tomorrow! ;D