The Future of Work

February 8th, 2011 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

Professor Lynda Gratton – London Business School

Lynda opened her key note speech at the HR Directors summit by commenting on the fact that “the pace of change in business has not moved this fast since the industrial revolution of 1860. The industrial revolution saw the world of work completely change, and the change that is happening now in 2011 is just as great, and has a fundamental impact on businesses, families and our children.

Lynda recommended that we focus on skills of ‘Futuring’, do we have the skills to prepare a blue print for 2025. Can you recognise and see what is changing both within and outside of your business? Is your business future proof? Have you considered the globalisation of HR and Innovation?

Lynda identified 5 key forces that shape the world of work:

1) Globalisation and the migration to cities (or creative clusters)
2) Technology and the digitalisation of knowledge level of connectivity. In the next 10 years 5 billion will be connected. Therefore, Nations and Companies will have no boundaries, there will be global connectivity of micro entrepreneurs.
3) Demographic our children will live up to 100 years. Medical medicine is advancing at a greater speed than cognitive medicine. This has significant implication on our pensions. We have an aging workforce.
4) Low carbon we are increasingly requiring and seeing a low carbon world for Generation Z (our children)
5) Society is changing as a result of globalisation and technology.
As a result, Lynda Identified a number of key areas that organisation should focus on in order to be future proof. In particular, she discussed the need to focus on:

Open Innovation
Generational cohesion
Deep collaboration between virtual and global environments

Dark Side of the Future, 2025

On the one hand, with the world of work increasingly turning to micro entrepreneurs, she explained that some of the dark sides of the world of work for 2025 and beyond could be:

Isolation– Home working, secluded environment
Fragmentation– interrupted every 3 minutes
Exclusion and Addiction – The key is to be a specialist not a generalist or “manager”

She discussed the fact that the positional advantage has gone, our children need to be specialists and learn something that has a global impact.

Bright Side of the future, 2025

On the other hand, Gratton identified the following strengths of the future world of work:
Increased Knowledge
Flexible work cycles
Work 24 hour cycles

To conclude, Gratton confirmed that there are three broad shifts in the world of work that are happening and will continue to happen over the next decade:

1. From Generalist… to… Specialist ‘the Master’
2. From Isolated… to… Connected
3. From a High Standard of Living… to… a Quality of Life.

Blog written by Dr Amanda Potter CPsychol


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