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How and Where Will You Work in the Future?

- April 22, 2015 - 3 Comments

My previous blog post considered enterprise agility and our individual responsibility to take some level of ownership by being more present and connected. This week at UC Expo in London I met many industry colleagues, and it sparked off some interesting conversations.

Two themes emerged that made me think about what work might look like in ten years time:

1) Balancing artisan creativity with the art of making money

We agreed that the mass-market appeal and adoption of some technologies and devices have lead to quite bland output by some teams. We have, to some degree, lost the ability to be creative at scale. The pressure of time and money and the corporate iteration process often distil the essence of something beautiful down into something quite vanilla – generic tools often force us down the road to blandness.

Thankfully, some emerging approaches and technology are starting to bring back our ability be creative even across global organizations – enabling artisans to spread their creative wings.

At UC Expo I listened with interest to Bruce Everest talking about how Vodafone have transformed the way employees work. By empowering employees with suitable spaces and technology they have brought about big changes. Bruce quoted Darwin’s famous statement on survival (being the most adaptable to change) and described Vodafone’s Better Ways of Working initiative that has transformed Vodafone into a market leader today. Inspirational stuff.

I also listened to Cisco’s Marianne Calder talking about how we have transitioned from working as individuals to dispersed yet effective teams. Collaboration tools have brought about this change, but Marianne went on to say that she now predicted this transition to accelerate with the advent of solutions like Cisco Spark. Cisco Spark has been designed to enable us to gather in virtual rooms and work even “better together”.  I am already benefiting from the change in organizational pace that this innovation brings to Cisco. With faster operational speed and greater ability to cut through process, I am finding more time to be creative.

2) Cultivating business models to accommodate the future worker

Tim Banting (Principal Analyst at Current Analysis) told me about an interesting article published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – The Future of Work. PwC have used scenario planning to look back from the vantage point of 2022 to investigate what they describe as a dramatic shift in the world of work impacted by technology, data, and demographic and economic shifts.

It is compelling reading and highlights the need to start planning now, ready for the inevitable changes ahead. It’s not just the technology that will be disruptive. A new generation of workers will bring with them greater diversity, new career models, new ways of working; even new jobs. Those of us with teenage children will already be familiar with the multimodal, multitasking training ground that our kids seem to live in 24/7. We may not like the behaviour while they are living with us, but we are going to have to embrace it once they start working with us…

So I came away positively from UC Expo this year. We are going to see some big changes over the next decade. There will be plenty of disruption around us, and equally caused by us. But as Bruce reminded me… Darwin did warn us about being adaptable!

Do you have any thoughts about these two themes, or another one?

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3 Comments

    Very Informative Marcus - thank you for sharing

    Innovative mechanisms in the Future

    • If you mean the integration between man and machine, then I would agree. I guess there will be two sides to this. Designers will need to develop innovative ways for us to work togther, but equally we will need to adapt how we work to complement and integrate; and I guess the onus will be on us humans...

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