I was interviewed about the future of work for an upcoming workshop

I was interviewed by my friend Teresa di Cairano on some of the topics we are developing for the upcoming Future Of Work workshop, scheduled for November 19-20 in Toronto. Those who read my writing here might be interested in some of the points I made:

What are some of the key forces impacting the future of work?

I think there are three forces transforming the world of work today:

The tempo of competition and complexity has risen to a new ‘beyond chaotic’ pace, and it is increasing, pushing the economy over a threshold into a new economic era, the post normal, in which the primary response of business will be the adoption of a fast-and-loose style of business operations. Fast-and-loose is not meant to suggest shadiness or sloppiness, but instead agility, resilience, and a predisposition toward experimentation, innovation, and action, as well as a seemingly paradoxical loosening and increase of the social connections between people.

Governments around the world have also felt the impact of the financial meltdown, aging population, rising health care costs and other social challenges. As a result this is forcing the public sector to rethink its workplace in order to create one that is more flexible, creative and innovative. People are connected by both open and enterprise social tools to an unprecedented degree, leading to the paradox of a connected ‘workspace’ — the sanctioned and unsanctioned social tools and other workplace affordances – supporting a decentralized, discontinuous, and distributed workforce.

Organizations are being accelerated and destabilized by the adoption of companion devices (aka ‘mobile’ devices), and the explosion of cloud computing. The new role of IT is to bridge the two ends of this shift toward ubiquitous computing, and get out of the way.

What is the emerging role of social business in work?

Social business has become a mainstream concept, with a large number of senior executives expecting to gain new productivity from these technologies. However, it appears that there are considerable organizational and cultural issues still to be worked out before that promise can be met.

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What are some of the leadership implications for the future of work?

In the executive suite, leaders need to adapt to a rapidly changing business context, one that makes new levels of agility, innovation, and resilience more critical than ever before. So business leaders are actively seeking a way forward to new productivity gains, all the while aware that the techniques used in the recent past can’t be applied again. Something new must be found, perhaps distilled from the latent energy in social connection and frictionless communication, and it must be tapped even if the workforce is harder to lead than ever before.

I’m really looking forward to the event, because it is forcing me to clarify and collate a lot of my writings about the future of work into a coherent form.

Relevant Analyst
Stowe Boyd

Stowe Boyd

Lead analyst, future of work Gigaom Research and stoweboyd.com

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