Technology is changing work. It’s changing labor. Some imagine radical transformations, both positive and negatives. Words like robots and drones conjure up all sorts of science fiction imagination. But many of the transformations that are underway are far more mundane and, yet, phenomenally disruptive, especially for those who are struggling to figure out their place in this new ecosystem.
We can see it’s coming. The future of work in the next five years will be so different from the last 50 years. There are more than a few driving forces behind this: demographic shift, lifestyles of millennials, technology, organization design, nature of competition, and human capital flow etc. Management of the workplace used to be quite simple. All one has to manage are:
Sometimes I wonder how much progress we’ve actually made over the last 50 years. In Saudi Arabia, women are still not allowed to drive, along with many other things. Today, a group of Saudi women have taken to the streets in their cars on a day of collective protest against the ban on female drivers. I am sure they will be getting threats of all kinds and if we’re talking about human rights let's start with this. There were about 17,000 people who signed a petition calling for women to be allowed to drive.
For all those cash-rich companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook, there is a race to hire celebrity architects to design their headquarters. Google headquarters consists of nine angled buildings connected by bridges. Reportedly, the idea was based on data collected from Google employees’ behavior which then translated into some kind of architectural algorithm that should produce “casual collisions” to make innovation happen more often.
I'm a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson (particularly the TED talk he did on how schools kill creativity which is the most watched of all time). His book The Element is a powerful evocation of how finding the point where your natural talent meets your personal passion can lead to high achievement and personal fulfillment in work and in life. It all feels perfectly tidy and logical.