Defining work in the digital age: an analysis by GigaOM Pro

1Executive Summary

The future of work is already here. It is just already distributed, one might say. The freelance economy, microtasking, mobile workers, coworking spaces, crowdsourcing: All of these point to how work is increasingly shifting from the 20th-century model of Taylorism (think scientific management applied to labor processes such as assembly- line production and fixed workplaces) to a more flexible, hyperspecialized and connected workforce.

The current norms and practices are increasingly coming under direct assault by a myriad of social and technological forces that are rapidly eroding business as usual. To be competitive and successful in the future business world, individual workers and entire organizations and firms will have to master new skills in the data sciences and the ability to work in a cooperative or collaborative fashion (in contrast to competition’s being the primary driving force). These same tools may ultimately transform not only how work is accomplished but also the form of the organizations themselves.

Further, at the heart of the future of work and the future firm will be the role of information and how we collect it, manage it, share it and ultimately move from data to information and knowledge to the wisdom that will drive the next generation of innovative products and services.

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