Research

The Future Exit SignAs I say almost every week:

Smart leaders in 2017 don’t design good conversations, they orchestrate them.

I’ve also commented often that organizational leaders spend very little time thinking or talking about the future beyond the next quarterly earnings report.

In their classic book Competing for the Future, Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad reported that most senior executives spend less than 40% of their time focused on the world outside their own organization, only about 30% of that future-focused time thinking about the next three to five years, and no more than 20% of that time talking with their colleagues about the future. In other words, only about 2.4% of management time (40% x 30% x 20%) is focused on building a shared corporate view of the future (Competing for the Future, p. 4.).

I’m convinced this inability (or unwillingness) to pay attention to what’s around the corner is the major reason the future seems to surprise us so often. [click to continue…]

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What’s in YOUR Future?

April 24, 2017

These days it feels as if there is a story about another new technology on every other page of every other newspaper or magazine, or – more appropriately – every other website or tweet.

We all know how big an impact technology is having on our lives, and it sometimes (all the time?) feels impossible to keep up.

The future is arriving at an ever-more dizzying pace. In most ways, our collective vision of the future holds out the promise of a higher quality of life, though there are also many challenges ahead (like the prospect of widespread unemployment as automation impacts more and more jobs).

I remain an optimist. However, I do worry that we’re not very good at sorting out the consequences – both good and bad – of new technologies. [click to continue…]

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If you don’t “get” what digital disruption is and means, I guarantee it will “get” you.

I recently came across this excellent short article in Digitalist Magazine, a free weekly ezine from SAP:

How Digital Transformation Is Rewriting Business Models

I subscribe to the magazine so it arrives in my Inbox on a regular basis. If you want to be well-informed about the future of work, I recommend it to you without reservation. It’s one of the few online publications that I actually look forward to reading.

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Sell Holes, Not Drills

April 17, 2017

children's fire truckThere’s an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that made me remember a cute story about sharing – or not:

Tommy and Johnny were four-year-old twins. One day they were playing on the floor when Tommy asked Johnny, ‘Do you want the big red fire truck right now?’ To which Johnny replied, ‘Not unless you do.’

The underlying idea, of course, is that we don’t come into the world wanting to share.

Indeed, most of our economic, social, and even military history is based on a world of scarcity. In a capitalist or free market society, the economic value of goods and services is determined by the balance of supply and demand; when something desirable is scarce, we are willing to pay more for it. And when something is plentiful, or in abundance, its price typically drops.

Of course, none of us lives in a pure free-market world, though most of us pay homage to that concept all the time. It also turns out that we are using up many things we’ve always thought were just there to be shared to our hearts’ content – like clean air and water.

But this is not about to become a political rant.

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My silence the last several weeks stems from the fact that I have just returned from a three-week business/pleasure trip to England and France.

While technically I could have easily posted from there, a combination of business commitments and personal holiday time conspired against my finding the time (or the energy) during the trip.

However, now that I am safely back in my “global headquarters” office in northern California I want to encourage you to take a close look at two important newly-published reports that I have been involved in (pardon the shameless self-promotion; I honestly believe these are important reports worth your time and attention). [click to continue…]

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I’m continuing to ask almost everyone I talk to these four “simple” questions:

  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?

I’m just getting started, but I can already report that my interviewees are excited and curious about that third question: What technology will have the biggest impact on the way we work and live in the next five to ten years? [click to continue…]

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The Future: Next ExitI’m continuing to ask almost everyone I talk to these four “simple” questions:

  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?

I’m just getting started, but I can already report – sadly – that my interviewees are generally more uncomfortable with the future than they are excited about it.

Here are a few responses to the second question:

What aspects of the future of work are you most uneasy about?

Because the question is focused on work, I didn’t really expect this:   [click to continue…]

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The Future: Next ExitThere are 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?

I’m just getting started, but I want to build on a few insightful comments I’ve already received about that first question:

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

As you might expect, the people I’ve listened to so far are excited about a wide variety of developments they expect to see, ranging from improved – and personalized – education and health care to increased cross-cultural collaboration and much more efficient generation of energy using non-fossil fuel sources like wind power, solar power, and even geo-thermal (accessing and leveraging the heat emanating from the earth’s center.

I am most intrigued by the almost-universal expectation of much greater personalization – the ability of technology to handle the complexities arising from individual differences like personal educational backgrounds (we’ve all studied different topics and have differing levels of knowledge about anything and everything we can think of). [click to continue…]

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Last week I announced a new research project focused on gathering insights and ideas from a wide range of smart people (that is, almost everyone I know, plus many of you who I don’t know – yet).

There are 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?

I am pleased that I’ve already received thoughtful responses to those questions from several people, including Robert Buss, Graham Jervis, Bob Leek, and David Fleming. You can read their  responses, posted on my blog last week, at this link: “Let’s Talk About Tomorrow[click to continue…]

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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?” [click to continue…]

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