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.

Email experiment

I reached a mini-milestone today. A simple setting change with a long history:

Like many, I’d turned off new email notifications years ago. No annoying “You have mail!” pop-ups, no sudden sounds, no nagging envelope icon, no barely-perceptible mouse cursor changes, no tiresome fade-in text, no irritating iOS badges, nada.

I was managing email on my terms.  Except I wasn’t…  Using my inbox as a to-do list integral to my workflow meant that I was susceptible to distractions when going in and out of the mail app.  Even though I was only checking to batch process new mail three times a day (morning, lunch, evening), www.rescuetime.com (free trial) revealed the truth of my app usage.

So I’m going to experiment with pulling emails manually only three times a day from now. Why not?  We’ll see…

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Update- 1st October:

Habit formed. This really works! With one adjustment:

Mac Mail users may also want to disable the nagging red count badge that lives in the doc via Mail Preferences: 

 

Spit it out

Ever find it difficult to strip down what you have to say to the bare minimum? I do. My list of draft blog posts has swelled to around 50. I need to get better at getting them out the door. While they are fresh in my mind. Minimal polishing. Idea> open wordpress> tap the keyboard> hit Publish.  Next.

The danger is that it takes time to refine down ideas:

I didn’t have time to write a short letter so i’ve written a long one instead. ~Mark Twain

So I’ve started using postcards to structure my thoughts (idea pinched from this Richard Kelly talk). The space limitation is a kind of old school version of Twitter’s 140 characters and using a pen rather than keyboard feels good.