Every one of the almost 8 billion people on this planet is unique.
And everyone can contribute to the world and humanity in a unique way. Most of us spend our lives trying to work out quite how.
The past of work has been one of using and paying for a tiny and specific portion of people’s capabilities.
The future of work should be one that is able to uncover, express, and reward everyone’s unique capabilities and their ability to contribute to society.
The great risk is that we try to build the future of work on the assumptions of the past, perpetuating the engrained models of treating people as “human resources” to be exploited simply as factors of production.
That risk is deeply amplified as soaring machine capabilities inevitably supplant the overly-defined roles that humans have until now played in creating economic value.
The compelling opportunity now is to reconceive the nature of organizations, how they are structured, and how they coalesce the value of their people, to ones that uncover, attract, tap, and reward the fullest, most wondrous potential of everyone in their ambit.
Beyond that, we need to envisage and build a society that is founded on recognizing and supporting everyone’s unique capabilities to create value for others.
Imagine a global economy that is optimized not around maximizing return on capital, but on maximizing everyone’s unique abilities to contribute, and rewarding them for their contributions. An economy so utterly efficient in its workings that most of us discover and express talents that we never knew we had.
It may be hard to do, but having imagined it let us imagine how we can do it.
We live amidst a pandemic that is completely restructuring the nature of work.
Let’s be sure to treat this as the extraordinary opportunity that it is to shape a future of work that brings out the most of who we all can be.
Image: Gerd Altmann