Navigating the future of work

01 July 2017

The future of work holds myriad possibilities for change. In order to adapt, we need to zoom out and understand the interconnections among evolving technology, demographics, and power dynamics. Are you prepared?




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Imagine the future of work – what do you see? Do you see factories full of robots and offices teeming with AI? Do you predict that changing demographics will rewrite the rules of who works, and how long? Or do you anticipate the rise of a global gig economy where most people are working for themselves?

All of these scenarios are emerging – but looking at them in isolation misses the point. We need to zoom out and see the big picture. Evolving technology, demographics and power dynamics are all connected – and those connections make all the difference in the future of work.

If intelligent machines can do many tasks now performed by people, what uniquely human skills will be valued? If the half-life of skills necessary for employment continues to dwindle, how can individuals, employers and society as a whole ensure that learning models and the education system keep up? As the global workforce gets older, younger and more diverse, how will leaders and organizational culture have to adapt? If alternative work arrangements like short-term gigs and self-employment become more ubiquitous and mainstream, could that have profound effects on not just how we work, but where we work, how we commute and even how cities are designed? If augmented reality gives workers access to vast amounts of data and assistance, will workers need to become more tech fluent for the technology to deliver on its promise?

The future of work is coming –in some cases, it’s already here. It’s time to get to work.