Timeframes for the future of work: trends and uncertainties in this decade and beyond

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I recently ran an internal workshop on the future of work for a large company. In the next couple of years it will shift its headquarters into a new building and adopt Activity Based Working across the organization.

The key executives understand that in their planning they need to engage with the broader issues of how the world of work is changing, and not just the immediate issues of office space and workforce structure.

In the first phase of the workshop, before delving into the specific issues for their business, I used my Future of Work Framework to provide a big-picture view of the forces of change and the major shifts in play.


Click on the image to download the full framework.
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Why predictions are dangerous and organizations must be well networked

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AFR_Boss_Dec13_300wToday’s BOSS magazine in the Australian Financial Review includes a feature on my work.

The article focuses on my thoughts on the value of predictions. I’ve written before about why predictions usually have negative value, as an important way of framing how we think about the future.

I am quoted in the article:
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Why your networks and collaboration are at the heart of the value you create

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I was recently interviewed for an extended article Networked Business: The wealth in your connections written by Nick Saalfeld for the Microsoft Talking Business series.

Here are some excerpts from the article, which provide a neat summary of some of my thinking on the space.

It’s a fallacy to think of networking as a sales tool. Firstly, it’s not. Secondly, it might instead be one of the defining sources of value in your business. Business strategist Ross Dawson, author of the (free and highly comprehensible) Future of Work Framework explains how.
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How technology is enabling the humanity of organizations

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After my recent opening keynote at the SAP Australia User Group Summit on Leadership in Enterprise Technology, I did a video interview for Inside SAP magazine, shown below.

The full transcript of the interview is available on our new publication CIO of the Future.
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As more jobs are automated, how many of us will still have productive work?

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There has been a lot of press the last few days about a paper The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?, published by the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology.

Almost all the coverage has been on the headline figure that 47% of US employment is at risk. However the paper provides many more interesting insights when you examine the detail.
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Emerging markets professionals are at the vanguard of the future of professional work

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A very interesting global survey title The Professional Revolution has just been released by Thomson Reuters (Disclosure: I long ago worked for its predecessor Thomson Financial as Global Director – Capital Markets).

The report uncovers a number of very interesting insights into professionals and professional work. One of the most interesting is the differences between emerging market and developed market professionals.

The most interesting statistics from the report, shown below, show emerging market professionals demonstrating clear leadership in creating the future of professional work.

Source of all charts is the report The Professional Revolution.

ThomsonProfessional1
Emerging market professionals are substantially more entrepreneurial than their developed market counterparts, wanting to drive change and initiatives, and preferring a competitive environment. They also recognize there is no conflict between competition and collaboration, and that collaborative work is the essence of professional growth and work satisfaction.
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The future of business education will be centered on contextual learning

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Earlier this year I gave the opening keynote at the Thought Leadership Forum on The Virtual University, which examined the future of business education.

The event organizers, the Centre for Accounting, Governance, and Sustainability and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, have now released a book The Virtual University: Impact on Australian Accounting and Business Education based on the conference proceedings.

The opening chapter in the book was generated from a transcript of my keynote. If you are interested you can read the full article online: Global Social and Technology Trends Shaping the Future of Universities.

One of the points I make is about the shift to highly contextual and modular learning:
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Carving out the middle: how we must respond to the dangers of the polarization of work

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One of the consistent themes in my Future of Work framework is the polarization of work and value.

In a number of the keynotes and workshops I’ve run recently, including at the Richmond Financial Services Forum in Interlaken, the Institute of Chartered Accountants conference in Melbourne, and for the executive teams of various corporate clients, I’ve pointed to research from noted labor economist David Autor that brings into focus what is happening.

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Source: The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market, David Autor
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The rise of crowdsourcing in Malaysia

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I was recently in Kuala Lumpur to do twin keynotes at the National Crowdsourcing Conference organized by Digital Malaysia, and meet with government officials to discuss how Malaysia can best tap the potential of crowdsourcing.

The Star of Malaysia, the largest English-language newspaper in the country, interviewed me while I was there for a feature section on crowdsourcing. Here are excerpts from some of the articles:

The main article Captivate the crowd looks at the big picture of crowdsourcing and its potential:
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How technologies will expand and replace human work

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The Australian Financial Review is today running a special feature on the world to 2100, including an article on technology trends titled Connecting to a rising tide of data.

The article covers a number of themes, including the expansion of connectivity, data, and devices, and the impact of technology on healthcare, drawing on interviews with a wide range of experts including Australian of the Year Dr Fiona Wood.

It begins by quoting me on the impact of technology on the world of work.
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