Technology and Social Are Transforming How we do Business

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft,
imagines# what might be possible if more organizations embraced the full,
empowering potential of technology and encouraged a truly open,
collaborative and flexible working culture.

RSA Animate helps us envision it.

Does the Future of Work look good on you?

When I participated to the Podio series of talks on the Future of Work more than two years ago, some of the emerging trends# were:

  • high tech, high touch, high growth — top grads will tack toward a variety of potentially lucrative
    positions that prize technological savvy and analytical aptitude (source: Alex Altman)
  • training managers to behave — the
    Oath of Honor such as the one graduates of the Thunderbird School of
    Global Management recite is part of a broader rethinking of the balance
    between doing well and doing good that could reshape the economy and
    the workplace in coming years (source: Justin Fox)
  • the search for the next perk –  it's become distressingly clear that employees are increasingly on their
    own when it comes to retirement savings and health care (source: John Curran)
  • we're getting off the ladder — companies are increasingly supporting more natural growth,
    letting employees wend their way upward like climbing vines, because
    creating a flexible workforce to meet staffing needs in a changing
    economy ensures that a company will still have legs when the market
    recovers (source: Laura Fitzpatrick)
  • why boomers can't quit –  due
    to economic pressure, Boomers will try to hang on to their jobs en
    , this will present a challenge for younger workers ready to move
    up, however it could stimulate a crop of new companies and industries
    instead (source: Stephen Gandel)
  • women will rule business –  the female management style, education levels,
    purchasing clout are already being used by pioneering women and
    insightful companies, to create a female-friendly working environment,
    in which the focus is on results, not on time spent in the office chair
    (source: Claire Shipman and
    Katty Kay)
  • it will pay to save the planet –  although we won't be able to create a solar job for every
    unemployed autoworker, with climate change a real threat, shifting jobs
    from industries that harm the earth to ones that sustain it will become
    an economic imperative (source: Bryan Walsh)
  • when Gen X runs the show –  we will
    need to be adept at collaborative decision-making that might involve
    team members scattered around the world, from Beijing to Barcelona to
    Boston, whom the nominal leader of a given project may never have met
    in person (it works for me) (source: Anne Fisher)
  • yes, we'll still make stuff — the sweet spot for manufacturing workers in coming years is highly
    skilled workers creating high-value products in high-stakes industries(source: David von Drehle)
  • the last days of cubicle life –  most of the best jobs will be for people who manage (my take is “ collaborate with”) customers, who organize fans, who do digital community management(source: Seth Godin)

Even if you just read the headlines, we are in the thick of many of these trends.

Back to the future

The key points raised with fellow professionals and globetrotters Marcia Conner and Jennifer Magnolfi focused on answering the same type of questions: how do we work more
efficiently? How do we leverage technology / tools to lower the barriers to collaboration?

From the conversation:

  • the meaning of workplace and work space today has changed
    dramatically — we're in the second decade of the 21st century and many
    of the work spaces as we know them were built in the 20th century
  • workspace today is not longer a place to go, it's a thing you do — and it often starts as a digital space
  • there is an entirely new idea of work space as digital space
    — the challenge for the physical environment is not how do you
    reprogram it and change it but how do you create an environment that is
    an extension of your digital space. It's the other way around
  • too often organizations are focused on their peripheral activities
    — we could be collaborating, we could be finding one another, etc.
  • we lost sight of the fact that just learning from one another,
    listening to one another and building on that knowledge that would make
    us build something better together than we could do alone is just too
    often left out of the conversation
  • organizations forget that they are made of people
    — there is a set of agreement that people have with each other, it's
    like a metabolism and they have to be healthy systems in order for them
    to function
  • it's so easy to forget about the people when we talk about the
    brand, the buildings, the space, the clients — it's not that any of
    those things are not important, but they begin with a conversation, they
    begin with a connection between two people, then four people, twelve
    people, etc. and then we can start getting some of that wisdom rise to
    the top

Culture of Openness
One thing is for sure, a culture of openness remains scary for most organizations, as well as the people who work in them.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover
the value of promises and its effect on relationships and
. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.