The shift to ‘virtual first’ organizations will undoubtedly continue

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COVID-19 has shifted most organizations in the developed world to predominantly virtual work.

The question is what happens from here.

Of course there many unknowns around how long it takes to resume work practices similar to 2019 and before, the timeline for a potential vaccine or other measures that may support that return, or indeed whether we will ever see the complete easing of today’s social distancing.

Many organizations are explicitly or implicitly waiting for a return to ‘normal’ workplaces, in the meantime doing the best they can while most of their employees are forced to work from home.

However an increasing number of organizations are clearly stating that they expect never to return to work as it was before.
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Future of the gig economy? Braintrust IT freelancer platform is run by its users using tokens

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In our relatively recently connected economy, platforms have appropriated an outsized proportion of value creation. That is a problem.

There have been many initiatives to build user-owned platforms, supported by tools such as the Platform Co-op Development Kit, and a handful of small scale successes such as Up & Go and Stocksy.

Now Braintrust, an IT freelancer platform, has just raised $18 million to support a very interesting approach, issuing blockchain-based tokens to its users to give them effective ownership of the platform.
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Conversation with Harold Jarche: Sense-making in a networked world and personal knowledge mastery

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Harold Jarche and I have long known each other online. He started blogging in 2000 while I jumped in in 2002, so we were part of an initially small but burgeoning community exploring online connections before and as modern social media started to emerge.

We actually did meet face-to-face briefly some years ago when by an odd coincidence both of us had engagements in Toronto on the same day, but we have certainly shared and explored each others’ ideas and content at length over many years.
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With the launch of Infinite Office Facebook is making a play for virtual reality offices

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From today’s suite of virtual reality and augmented reality product launches by Facebook, one of the most interesting was its announcement of Infinite Office, allowing users to work on multiple screens in a virtual/ augmented reality space.

I shared some thoughts on the announcement and what it means for the rise of virtual offices in this brief segment on The Virtual Excellence Show. See below for the video transcript.


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The next generation of tools to enhance serendipity in remote work environments

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The greatest value of people working in organizations is not having them act as cogs in a machine, but in interacting to spawn ideas and insights that generate new opportunities.

I have long explored the value of serendipity in work environments, and in particular how we can ‘enhance’ serendipity to make happy, fortuitous connections between people and ideas more likely.

In a world of remote work, often dominated by scheduled video meetings, serendipitous connections are far harder to come by.

A recent Wall Street Journal article examines some of the tools being used to mimic the accidental conversations around the office water cooler.
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Going beyond Zoom hell to avatar-based meetings in virtual spaces

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Since March many people feel they have been caught in a ‘Zoom hell‘ of back-to-back video calls throughout their waking hours.

While this would have seemed futuristic a few decades ago, it already feels deeply tired. We have all experienced the problems with engagement, attention, and effective collaboration on video-conferencing calls.

One of the most interesting directions for the next phase of virtual meetings is avatar-based meetings in augmented and virtual reality.

In this very interesting excerpt from my conversation with futurist and AR/VR expert Cathy Hackl on The Virtual Excellence Show, Cathy discusses the realities, potential, and pragmatics of avatar meetings, including a demonstration of one of the current offerings in the space, and her own experiences using the technology.
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The amazing opportunity of balancing home, office, and ‘third space’ work post-coronavirus

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A couple of days I was a guest on ABC’s The Drum program. One of the questions I was asked was the degree to which we will continue to work from home after the pandemic.

For my response watch the brief video below, or see the full program online, this segment starts at 45:00.

Below the video I describe in detail the forces shaping the relative roles of home, office, and ‘third space’ in a post-coronavirus future of work.
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Adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit will rebuild employment after over 100 million jobs are lost

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The chart below of weekly initial US unemployment claims puts into context the scope and scale of the economic and employment impact of the pandemic.

The long horizontal scale of chart, giving us temporal perspective, actually hides the extent of the problem, with the spike at the end in fact comprising three weeks of new unemployment claims of first 3.3 million and then the last two weeks at 6.6 million, for a total of 15.6 million.


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The critical role of HR in helping leaders envisage and create the future of work

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I was recently interviewed by Anita Lettink for the 25 on HR 2025 Podcast series, speaking about the future of work and the role of HR in 2025 and beyond.

You can listen to the podcast on the site or below.


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Vectors of Disruption: a framework to clarify the key forces of change

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Yesterday I gave a briefing on Technology Trends and the Future of Work to a group of Non Executive Directors of major corporations, organized by a large professional services firm for its clients.

The group was the first to get a run-through of my new concept framework Vectors of Disruption, shown below, which I used to introduce and frame the rest of my presentation.


Click on the image for the full-size pdf
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