How the Gig Economy is Catching On in Knowledge Work

By: Jennifer Ayres, Founding Partner

I think everyone by now has heard of the term the “gig” economy and are likely using these “gig” services every day for simple tasks like ordering food, getting from point A to point B, getting your pantry goods delivered (often same day), etc. 

Well, what about for complex business tasks – maybe for your own business? What if you are working on a project for your organization and you need to learn more about the regulatory guidelines for getting your medical device to market. Or maybe you’d like to get someone’s help who is an expert in leadership development. Or even, hire some help for a week, two weeks, even maybe a year to help you roll-out a new organization to support a product launch or service. Perhaps you are an investor and you’d like to learn more about the direction of the FemTech industry before you spend thousands of dollars pulling a detailed due diligence report together for some new fancy start-ups that have come across your desk. Imagine if you could hire knowledge on demand like you do with UBER?

Well, it’s already here and it’s real. The gig economy has been hitting the “professional knowledge” or “knowledge worker” circuit and ‘on-demand’ knowledge platforms like DeepBench, AdvisoryCloud, Veritux, and of course our own, Senscient, are tapping into a new kind of on-demand. The demand for real-time, deep expertise, no strings attached.

Why is “gig” work so attractive for knowledge workers? 

As a business owner or investor, you can get qualified leads to help you gain insights and knowledge in a particular area for a reasonable fee and you don’t have the burden of engaging a recruiting company or haggling with a larger consulting firm to get quality and a high price point. Many of the individuals on these networks are curated and have extensive consulting backgrounds coupled with deep industry or capability expertise. Many have held former C-suite or executive positions and are now looking for opportunities to expand their own network. It’s a win-win for everyone as more professionals seek flexibility as they’ve ‘done their time’ in big corporations or consulting firms. 

The other convenience of gig work is that if you don’t find the right fit for your business needs, you move on to another resource or another network. These networks could be viewed as ‘competitive’ but I see them as ‘cooperative’ platforms as referrals move from one to the other and it really becomes a game of timing – matching knowledge requirement, price, and fit at the time a buyer needs help. Our job managing these platforms is to be accessible, present the best options, and when we don’t have the right fit, refer someone elsewhere. It’s about helping you make your more complex business tasks easier – just like slipping into your Uber and letting the driver worry about getting you to your destination.