The Future of Work
Stream Captains: Guy Geron, Dipesh Pala and Michael Stange
There has been 3 main revolutions which fuelled our economy:
- The steam and the usage of mechanical production equipment
- Electricity and the division of labour which enabled the opportunity for mass production
- Electronics and automated production
Through the emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing, the fourth revolution is inevitable and is just an evolutionary corner away.
On the supply side, many industries are seeing the introduction of new technologies that create entirely new ways of serving existing needs and significantly disrupt existing industry value chains. Disruption is also flowing from agile, innovative competitors who, thanks to access to global digital platforms for research, development, marketing, sales, and distribution, can oust well-established incumbents faster than ever by improving the quality, speed, or price at which value is delivered.
Major shifts on the demand side are also occurring, as growing transparency, consumer engagement, and new patterns of consumer behaviour (increasingly built upon access to mobile networks and data) force companies to adapt the way they design, market, and deliver products and services.
A key trend is the development of technology-enabled platforms that combine both demand and supply to disrupt existing industry structures, such as those we see within the “sharing” or “on demand” economy. These technology platforms, rendered easy to use by the smartphone, convene people, assets, and data—thus creating entirely new ways of consuming goods and services in the process. In addition, they lower the barriers for businesses and individuals to create wealth, altering the personal and professional environments of workers. These new platform businesses are rapidly multiplying into many new services, ranging from laundry to shopping, from chores to parking, from massages to travel.
On the whole, there are four main effects that the next industrial revolution has on business—on customer expectations, on product enhancement, on collaborative innovation, and on organisational forms. Whether consumers or businesses, customers are increasingly at the epicentre of the economy, which is all about improving how customers are served. Physical products and services, moreover, can now be enhanced with digital capabilities that increase their value. New technologies make assets more durable and resilient, while data and analytics are transforming how they are maintained. A world of customer experiences, data-based services, and asset performance through analytics, meanwhile, requires new forms of collaboration, particularly given the speed at which innovation and disruption are taking place. And the emergence of global platforms and other new business models, finally, means that talent, culture, and organisational forms will have to be rethought
Overall, the inexorable shift from simple digitisation to innovation based on combinations of technologies is forcing companies to reexamine the way they do business. The bottom line, however, is the same: business leaders and senior executives need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly and continuously innovate
In an environment that doesn’t require so many employees (if any) to create, where the most important is the ideation and its marketing, what role would Agile play in the emergent work space? how would it support the future of work?
Klaus Schwab, 14th of January 2016, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What it means and how to respond”, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond/