I visited Sydney recently and took a ferry to the Biennale on Cockatoo Island. Apart from the ferry ride and the art, (I particularly liked the pendulum work), the title of the show intrigued me;
“the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed”
(William Gibson, science fiction writer)
I started musing on the future of work, thinking about my clients and looking for clues about what future is already here….
Some are doing agile working, flexible futures and human centred design. There are scrums and scrum masters (replacing teams and team leaders), avatars on lockers, hot desks, stand up meetings, visual walls, virtual teams and matrix structures.
The concept of a portfolio career is gaining ground. I wonder if we will all be brand “Me” in the future, coming and going from a stripped back organisation? There is also a growth of social enterprises whilst big corporates become leaner, more performance driven and even more powerful.
A Fast Company article on the future of work threw up the following topics:
- Three ways Google predicts your smartphone will change the future of work
- How to avoid being replaced by a robot
- How certain Facebook friends can boost your chances of getting a job
Confronting stuff. My brain was in overdrive so I decided to turn to some more conventional sources. I read two reports, both dense but interesting reads:
- The Foundation for Young Australians; The New Work Order Report
- Price Waterhouse Coopers; Future of Work
The first report cites three main factors that are shaping the future:
Automation, ever-smarter machines will perform ever more human tasks
Globalisation, our workforce will go global as the global workforce comes to us
Collaboration, many jobs with many employers and often at the same time
A quote from the PWC report captures a similar vein:
“Tremendous forces are radically reshaping the world of work. Economic shifts are redistributing power, wealth, competition and opportunity around the globe. Disruptive innovations, radical thinking, new business models and resource scarcity are impacting every sector. It is important to reflect that the scale of expected change is not unprecedented. However, what is unique is the pervasive nature of the change and its accelerating pace.”
Speaking of complexity, that same day, I went to a VCE preparation night for my eldest daughter who is in year 10 and tried to work out how to guide her in her subject choice to prepare for this future world. This is a work in progress…
For those of you who would like some comforting nostalgia – “The times they are a changing” Bob Dylan