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What Does the Future of Work Look Like?

Posted by on June 19, 2014

A few weeks ago I flew to NYC to film a video on the future of work with the folks over at Success Factors. The video was recently debuted at SAP’s Sapphire conference in Orlando. It explores a lot of the themes and ideas that I care about such as employee engagement, workplace flexibility, the internet of things, and the importance of shifting from focusing on profits to prosperity. It was actually quite a production with full film crew, actors, and lot of cool editing and special effects. It was a very fun project and I was quite happy with the final video, check it out and let me know what you think. It does a great job of helping paint a picture of the future of work.

  • Very impressive Jacob – particularly like to think that organizations will prioritize prosperity over profits, though don’t see much evidence of that yet!

  • Rafael Acevedo

    Wow! Thanks for sharing, Jacob. Great video quality and editing work. Below are some concerns with “the future workplace.” I am hopeful we can make the changes necessary to provide equitable opportunities for as many future generations Americans to succeed.

    This brief video presents a future where technology and Internet based platforms may catalyze societal change inclusive of a more transparent & humanistic business culture NOT driven by profit (rather by prosperity). That’s one way of interpreting the disruptive impact of technological advances have had thus far.

    1. If your version of the future were to become a reality within which our American youth will have a viable chance to compete, our college prep through 16+ educational pipeline needs a major upgrade of teaching & assessment practices; training & development of teachers administrators, school boards, and (ideally the general public!).

    2. To be blunt, this level of paradigm shift does NOT happen in 5 years not without much more investment from many more Americans. Technology has outpaced our ability to smoothly transition and adapt to the outputs of more information than we can process even today! As you noted, in about 5 years we will be producing exponentially more information that in the written history of humanity. This is evidence for employee skills in mining for and interpreting data and producing succinct written reports & convincing presentations.

    3. Without a realignment of what high school and colleges do to train America’s future generations the skills & competencies required by to globally compete for jobs (essentially making it an employers market!), your clip may have hinted at a future where many more Americans are unable to achieve their American Dream. Companies can (and will!) pay the lowest possible price for global human resources.

    Case in point- for profit online universities. These businesses have already tapped into a global workforce of Ph.D.’s to design and publish online course curriculum (much less than current university faculty earn). They already benefit from the employer’s market of a global workforce that accepts much less than the American cost of living. They hire course designers on contracts with essentially zero need to invest in employee benefits and retirement packages. Further, with little overhead costs (no brick & mortar buildings) maximize profits.

    In conclusion, if the case above repeats in other industries, then WE need to better prepare our kids NOW for global competition. This starts by redefining the skills, abilities and competencies high school and college grads need to have a fighting chance to sustain a reasonable livelihood in the future workplace.

    Again, I’m hopeful that the a transformation occurs in education to help create Americans who can succeed in the future workplace by effectively competing globally.

    • Hi Rafael,

      Thanks for the comprehensive comment, very much appreciated. You make a lot of important points and I actually address many of them in an upcoming book for Wiley called “the future of work.” The future of work is also very much about education and there are many gaps and issues there which entire books have been devoted to exploring.

      In short, “yes”, I agree with what you have written above and I think we are starting to move in the right direction but you’re right; the future of work is very much about a new generation of employees and that means adapting our educational models to meet the changes we are seeing in the world!

  • Ziad Atallah

    Great video! I agree that the future will be very connected. It will be
    interesting to see how different countries handle the new technology.
    Living and working in China for the past 5 years, it is easy to see that
    the internet of things is not seen as an essential part of the future
    when interacting with locals. With Internet speeds very slow,
    disconnected from the outside world due to censorship, automated homes
    very rare, and local (although big) businesses looking for a cheap
    workforce not willing to upgrade infrastructure, i find it hard for this
    model to succeed in China. Time will tell how local telecom giants here
    will steer the markets.

  • Sarah Clayton Was Pyburn

    Hi Jacob. Great video, feels a million years from where we are in the UK civil service but we’re working on it. If I could ask one question: How would you maximise learning and development that improves performance?