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By Teresa Di Cairano |

Intervista spoke with thought leader and futurist Stowe Boyd to get his take on the Future of Work.  What follows is Stowe’s deep insight on surviving in a postnormal economy as well as a sneak preview on trends and tools he will be exploring in our upcoming Future of Work thought leadership series.

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.

Is the new work place a place?

The great majority of workers still go to an ‘office’ even if they have some degree of flexibility in occasionally working remotely or flexing their hours. Offices are changing, becoming both more open and more varied, instead of a sea of cubicles. But work increasingly is slicing into what used to be called leisure, and life is slicing into work in an incestuous and patchworked way. As a result, the norms and expectations around work are changing more quickly than the adoption of white noise machines and standing desks.

Why does personal branding matter for knowledge workers?

In a connected world, the most important decision is who to follow. To influence others today, to lead or inspire, comes down to convincing others to follow you, and that requires advancing a social presence. That is true in the open web, and in the social networks within organizations where work gets done.

What are some of the enabling tools for a digital work place?

There’s a range of overlapping and complementary work management tools, ranging from task management solutions for coordination, to co-curation tools for sharing information, and work media tools, like Yammer, Chatter, and Jive, for communication about work activities. But culture and architecture are also tools that organizations use, often without conscious reflection.

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.

Learn more about this our upcoming at Intervista’s courses at  www.intervista-institute.com/future.php.

Teresa Di Cairano
Director, Intervista Institute

email comments to: teresa@intervista-institute.com


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