WOW2030

We all know the world of work is changing; but how exactly and what can we really do about it?

I attended the third annual World of Work conference yesterday. Here are my notes:

  • People (esp GenZ) increasingly want their work to have a positive impact (not just £££)
  • At least initially, AI is being used to supplement (rather than replace) humans: ‘co-creation’:
    • a good day to carve marbleAI-generated fortune cookie sayings are entertaining “Today is a good day to carve marble”
    • Banana & bacon do go surprisingly well together in cupcakes (an AI-generated flavour combo) – but, for now, we still need a human baker to tweak quantities and produce
    • Therefore, the ability to work alongside the machines is key – perhaps leveraging their computational/combination power for idea generation and then filtering the results

“Remember, there’s always a human inside the machine” Be it human thinking/empathy factored into an algorithm or a real person within a company/system.

  • The social impact of this tech disruption is real but often not very visible e.g. subtle/slow shifts in gender/regional balance
  • Lily the selfie-taking robot doesn’t care if you are in the middle of your keynote – she will interrupt anyone – she has an important job to do – now smile for the camera :)
  • “Alexa, ask Dominos to feed me” works! Consumer tech is super excited about voice-first (think smart speakers/siri/Alexa etc.)
  • Neural networks are already producing eye-opening results. Try entering partial song lyrics into this gem and see what you get 

RECURRING THEME: why hasn’t productivity increased with this amazing tech (in our pockets)? My thought – we just haven’t got the hang of it yet – e.g. simply being more deliberate with how we use our time

  • Some countries are way ahead in their agile working practices e.g. Finland: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190807-why-finland-leads-the-world-in-flexible-work 
  • Work is generally shit. A CIPD survey of what retired folks missed most from work found “Nothing”
  • Smart organisations are spending regular time preparing for the future, acknowledging:
    • No-one really has a clue. Uncertainty is a new normal. We live in a VUCA world
    • Business survival depends on being prepared for the future, by being able to learn and respond to change.

The best way to predict the future is to to create it ~ Drucker

  • Create and share your visions. Like this video from JLL
  • Workplace diversity is now starting to be driven by commercial imperative (diverse people and thoughts > better ideas > better products and services; duh)
  • What if you left your workplace at the end of the day feeling better than when you arrived??
  • 5G rollout looks like a critical enabler for the IoT revolution – RF engineers will certainly be in high demand

So what does it all mean? 

One thing’s for sure: the people and organisations who force themselves to regularly gaze forward into the future are less likely to be asking “Who moved my cheese?” when the time comes.