Let’s Talk About Tomorrow

February 6, 2017

I’ve spent a lot of time the last few years investigating the future of work and doing my best to interpret it for you – especially the “So What?” questions that breakthroughs inevitably produce.

But I have also pointed out on many occasions that, obviously, the future doesn’t exist – yet.

We, together, create the future, one day, or one moment, at a time. The actions we take, the assumptions we hold, and the expectations we create about Tomorrow all add up to new experiences that become The Present and then The Past.

I like to talk about “premembering” the future in the sense that the more we can anticipate what might happen, the better prepared we can be for whatever does happen. Besides “So What?” the most important question we can ask is “What if?”

I’ve also been fascinated for years about “the wisdom of the crowd” and the power of crowdsourcing. In other words, collectively we know more than any of us individually. That’s why collaboration is so important today, why we hear so much talk about inclusiveness and diversity, and why the most critical skill of all may be listening – in order to understand what others know and expect, and to build synergy through the combination of many different but complementary insights.

As Rod Collins, the author of Leadership in a Wiki World and now an Innovation Sherpa at Salt Flats, puts it so eloquently:

In the digital age, nobody is smarter than everybody.

All of this is my way of setting the stage for four questions I’m asking everyone I know these days – and that includes you:

  1. What aspects of the future of work are you most excited about?
  2. What are you most uneasy about?
  3. What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the way we work and live in the next five to ten years?
  4. If you could change one thing about the way you work right now, what would it be?

Over the next several months I will be holding a series of in-depth conversations with thought leaders and practitioners about questions like these. And of course I’ll be sharing those conversations here and in other publications as well.

Please help me get started by taking a few minutes right now to respond to those questions in the Comments below. And if you’d be open to a telephone or Skype interview with me (20-30 minutes max), please let me know (contact me via the website or send an email to jim@thefutureofwork.net and we’ll get a conversation scheduled.

But even if you’re not interested in being interviewed, please take a few minutes right now to share your initial thoughts about those four questions. At the very least you can help me improve my questions.

All I want to do is help the world create a future of work that works. Let’s talk about how to make that happen.


Call me today (+1 510.558.1434) for a free exploratory conversation about how you can enable your entire organization to take charge of its future. I’d love to explore with you how the ideas in these two books could inform your strategic planning and achieve breakthrough innovation results.

Don’t face the future alone. Jim Ware is a workplace futurist, author, and consultant who has invested his entire career equipping organizations to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Contact Jim today to learn how his workshops, keynote presentations, and advisory insights can put the future to work for you.

Download "Let's Talk About Tomorrow" as a PDF

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Buss February 7, 2017 at 3:26 am

What aspects of the future of work are you most excited about?
3D Printing and better online collaboration.

What are you most uneasy about?
At the moment, politics. The repercussions from reducing openness between cultures will have an impact on trade and collaboration (and trust) that leave me uneasy.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the way we work and live in the next five to ten years?
I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say AI, but it will take more than five years. I place self-driving cars in this area, because they need to be “intelligent” enough to drive on public roads. Other processes are getting AI “assistants” and sooner or later there will be a “platform” for creating such “assistants”, thus making AI available to a very wide audience.

If you could change one thing about the way you work right now, what would it be?
Less interruptions. The ability to work on one issue until it is dealt with, without getting a phone call or some other interruption would be great. Disconnecting is not the solution, but being able to prioritize what interruptions come through would be helpful.

Reply

Graham Jervis February 7, 2017 at 4:06 am

1. What aspects of the future of work are you most excited about?

Genetic engineering and Biotechnology solving some of the serious health problems in Health Care

2. What are you most uneasy about?

Climate change and cybercrime

3. What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the way we work and live in the next five to ten years?

AI replacing many administrative and lower knowledge content worker jobs.

4. If you could change one thing about the way you work right now, what would it be?

Replace the drudgery of mass commuting to work.

Reply

Bob Leek February 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

What aspects of the future of work are you most excited about?
The continued development of creating solutions “for you” mean that there will be a constant stream of new and thoughtful technology capabilities. Personalization, especially in the local government space, is now an affordable and service-oriented possibility.

What are you most uneasy about?
Cybersecurity will be the number one threat to a safe and secure future. The first time there is a successful hack or exploit of one of the main platforms – Salesforce, Workday, Facebook, Instagram, etc. that results in a universal condemnation of the safety and integrity of someone’s online presence will usher in the beginning in the next phase of over-reaction and battening-down that organizations will have to do to ensure that what people use a service for can be done in a safe way.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the way we work and live in the next five to ten years?
Machine learning and AI are going to fundamentally alter the way people interact with technology. With Alexa / Siri, we already almost have Majel Barret’s voice (for all of you Star Trek fans) just waiting to answer a question.

If you could change one thing about the way you work right now, what would it be?
Figure out how to stay on a regular cycle of paddling out to where the waves are building and riding on the face of the wave of work instead of these two alternatives:

– riding the crest and wondering about survivability,
– getting buried as the wave crashes down,

all while resting every so often on the sand in the sun after a particularly knarly and thrilling ride.

Reply

David Fleming February 8, 2017 at 5:21 pm

1. What aspects of the future of work are you most excited about?
The merger of Human Intelligence with Artificial Intelligence (Robots)
2. What are you most uneasy about?
The recent elected USA president and his advisors; i.e., the future of the USA and world: equality and environment.
3. What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the way we work and live in the next five to ten years?
Robotics
4. If you could change one thing about the way you work right now, what would it be?
Emphasize the inclusive and mutual values of collaborative and individual thinking.

Reply

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