Editorial: Building the organization of the future Deloitte Review, issue 23

​Technology-driven change can be disruptive, but it also gives us powerful tools. There is no better time than now to start building the organization of the future.

Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte US CEO

Nearly everyone seems to be talking about the future of work these days, from business leaders to academics to journalists. What does daily work, or a lifelong career, look like a decade from now, or two decades? What roles will automation and artificial intelligence play? Are robots really coming to take our jobs? Will machine learning eventually outpace—and displace—human learning? And what does this huge, impending shift mean for companies and the economy? These are all valid concerns, and the social and economic challenges are real.

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There are plenty of predictions about what’s ahead. Technology-driven change can be disruptive, but it also gives us powerful tools that we can use to gain new insights, drive business transformation, and unlock value. There is no better time than now to start building the organization of the future.

Our efforts are bound to have far-reaching effects, at every level of the organization and all around the business ecosystem. CXOs will have to recalibrate and coordinate, so that they work more as a symphonic c-suite. No one executive can build the future of work on their own. And we also need to rethink talent models. Talent is increasingly untethered from the workplace and setting new priorities in the marketplace. In the face of rapid change, leading organizations are developing open networks to attract new kinds of talent, build collaboration, and foster continuous learning. More than ever, careers are nonlinear—something I’ve experienced first-hand.

If smart machines can automate tasks, intelligent machines can augment human work. In professional services, we’re already seeing that AI and other technologies are placing a new premium on human talent and ingenuity. We can’t lose sight of what makes human work distinctive.

This issue of the Deloitte Review takes up these topics, offering new perspectives on the opportunities we have to redesign work—and collaborate with technology—so that we can succeed and thrive. Here, you’ll discover new research on workplace design and well-being, how to unlock the secret of internal talent mobility, and what a rising new class of female CIOs say about careers, leadership, and whether the future of IT is female. As other articles in this issue outline, the changes we are seeing in the workplace will also have important social consequences. Technology and the mobility it enables will change the way we live, from the planning of cities to the delivery of public services.

I hope you’ll find this issue of the Deloitte Review thought provoking. The diversity of thinking and analysis here suggests that there are many promising paths forward for the work we do, the careers we pursue, and the 21st century society we are busy creating.