As the world focuses on a global pandemic, remote work has been a popular topic. As reported by Brian Fung, Google just Announced the extension of their remote work policy to July of 2021 – an acknowledgement that the pandemic could be with us a while. Siemens decided to make their policy permanent, but as this Recent Announcement indicates, their approach is very refreshing. Following in the footsteps of others, Siemens is adopting a new model that will allow employees worldwide to work from anywhere they feel comfortable. The permanent standard allows employees to leverage the new model for an average of two to three days a week. This article by Justin Bariso focuses on the refreshing part of the announcement, reflected in this quote by incoming CEO Roland Busch:
Several recent articles have focused on a world that is changing faster than anything the world has ever experienced. From the socioeconomic front, to the geopolitical, to the technological, and more, the pace is accelerating. This Acceleration is not new, but it seems that it finally made the radar of organizational leaders. This phenomenon calls into question the traditional view of five-year plans. The world in five years likely looks quite different than our current world. This puts the ability to pivot and change at the heart of future organization success criteria. This new-found awareness highlights the need for flexibility, resilience, and adaptability, likely accelerating the path Towards Digital Transformation.
I am a big believer in storytelling. Stories about the future and how it may unfold help us create a future that is both prosperous and sustainable. I have talked about stories in the context of Future Thinking and used a visual to tell these stories and provide a Future Thinking Canvas. A recent Article describes this approach as future-back thinking. The article explores the work of Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz, co-authors of Lead from the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking into Breakthrough Growth.
Can we ever go back to the way things were? That’s the question Manon DeFelice asks in a recent Article that explores the return to the office. The article provides some interesting insights. For instance, about 62% of Americans say they have worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Gallup Poll. A majority (59%) of those individuals say that remote work would be welcome post-pandemic. One of the concerns often stated about remote work is the impact on productivity. Well, Ms. DeFelice shares results from a YouGov Survey that found 54% of professionals ages 18-74 felt that working from home has had a positive impact on their productivity.
As I continue to research the societal factors that influence our future, I’ve explored broad topics from Government Deficits to Modern Monetary Theory. Most recently, I’ve looked into something that lies at the heart of many societal ills; unemployment and underemployment. That journey led me to my most recent book titled: A Job Guarantee. I just added a book – written by Pavlina R. Tcherneva – to my Book Library. Ms. Tcherneva is an American economist of Bulgarian descent, working as associate professor and director of the Economics program at Bard College.
“The best leaders are constantly learning, curious about where they made mistakes and actively looking for areas where they might have it wrong”
“Every so often, we learn something new that rewrites all of what we have come to know and trust. In those moments, our foundation of knowledge crumbles—and with it, many of the beliefs that we have built on top of it. Those transitions are hard because we do not easily let go of our beliefs”
– Jeff Booth, The Price of Tomorrow
The COVID-19 crisis is fast-moving with information bombarding us in real-time. On this Monday morning, as we awake to more isolation and rising numbers, there is much to consider. In this Article, the author focuses on three economic scenarios: Easter: an optimistic scenario (25% likely) where isolation leads to a slow return to normal by late April; Summer: the main scenario (55%) where improvements begin in mid-summer; and Winter: the pessimistic scenario (20%) where impact lasts into the winter. Given the expansion of isolation through April in the U.S., the optimistic scenario is all but eliminated from consideration.
This Analysis by the Conference Board underscores how the trajectory of COVID-19 and the economic response over the next few months are uncertain. They developed three scenarios for the course of the US economy for the remainder of 2020. Focusing on future scenarios was already a critical imperative given the pace of change; the current pandemic just underscores the point. The analysis authors from the Conference Board are: Bart van Ark, Executive Vice President & Chief Economist, and Erik Lundh, Senior Economist. Here is an executive summary from the report:
In 2018 I shared a video that I use in presentations titled The Great Reset. The video features economist Tyler Cowen as he describes our current trajectory and the possibility of a great reset. He has talked about strong indicators that this great reset is already underway – and that was before the world began to envision A Post Pandemic Society. Mr. Cowen thinks about these indicators as canaries in the coal mine. As he describes it, miners used to take canaries with them to provide an alarm when levels of toxic gases were too high. The birds were much more susceptible to the gases and would show signs of distress – or even die – before the miners were in grave danger.
Although it’s now popular to ask how life will change after the Coronavirus pandemic, truth is we were already on a path towards massive change. Nationalism was already a growing movement, immigration was already a hot button issue, the world was already moving towards a Post-World War Two order, the negative impact of globalization on jobs in developed countries already had leaders promising to bring manufacturing back, while automation promised a jobless era of localization. The pandemic serves as an accelerant in some instances – and an obstacle in others. But let prognosticators be warned; past predictions of life after pandemics have not Gone Well.
I’ve talked about the Catalysts of a different era. These horrific events of our past were catalysts towards a better future. This horrific event – the Corona Virus – will shine a light on education, health, work, and other aspects of our well-being, while exposing underlying weaknesses. Responding as a global community to these types of events is hard. I’ve asked the question about the catalysts of our future in a recent Poll – please participate and add your thoughts.
This week I attended the Annual Directions Conference held by research firm IDC. Because of the coronavirus, the conference was held online. Here are some of the key messages – a deeper analysis is provided by Michael J. Miller, chief information officer at Ziff Brothers Investments and can be found Here.
The Fast Future team continues to provide foresight in various areas. In this recent Article they explore what family life may look like in 2025. The possible future they describe is built on a foundation of multi-sensory immersive experiences, while distance is eliminated. We will no longer miss family celebrations and story-telling rises to new levels. Imagine a grandparent telling stories from their past, brought to life in ways that stimulate our emotional sensations.
In a world of knowledge abundance, there are so many things to consider. Knowledge has always been the engine that drives human development – and it has been throughout history. Knowledge expanded in the hunter-gatherer days with the invention of fire. In those days, a human obtained all its food by foraging. Although the source of food did not change, fire allowed humans to cook food and consume more calories. The human brain expanded with this caloric increase, and soon we invented language – the first in a series of innovations that drove the growth of knowledge. All that followed – from agriculture to the great inventions of the second industrial revolution – enabled us to advance as humans. I explored that progression Here.
I recently added a new book to my Book Library. Authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler explore the acceleration of technology and the Upheaval we are likely to experience in the coming decade. Diamandis and Kotler investigate how exponentially accelerating technologies converge and impact both our lives and society as a whole. They ask key questions like: how will these convergences transform today’s legacy industries? What will happen to the way we raise our kids, govern our nations, and care for our planet?
In a recent Article by Bryan Walsh, he describes the mega-trends that are likely to shape this century. These trends are driven by the Acceleration of innovation and a growing set of Societal Factors. In describing the seriousness of these trends, our author points to a forthcoming book titled “The Precipice”. In the book, author Toby Ord of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute gives one in six odds that humanity will suffer an existential catastrophe during the next 100 years — almost certainly due to our own actions.
In the book The Fourth Turning, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe illuminate the past, explain the present, and reimagine the future. They offer an utterly persuasive prophecy about how America’s past will predict its future. Here is what they had to say:
Nahal Yousefian is a Chief Human Resources Officer. She reached out recently to discuss her passion for disrupting the Human Resources function. She has moved from conforming in the system to learning about and experimenting with more effective models of organizational design, capability, and ultimately psychology. She pointed out that many systems and structures were designed precisely to reinforce a centralized, command and control flow of work versus an agile and responsive model. She has reframed her personal purpose at work and strives to create the world of work anew.
I will let her tell you the rest of the story in this brilliant Dear John letter that she wrote to HR. Every function, every institution, every mental model could benefit from a similar letter. It is my continued hope that more people like Nahal make it their personal purpose to think differently about these fossils from our past. Enjoy her letter.
In a recent Post I said that this decade is likely to be remembered as the launching pad to a very different future. Seems Oregon Futurist Steve Brown agrees with me. Mr. Brown sees a whole lot of change by 2030. And he makes a bold prediction: “My expectation is that we’re going to see more change in the workplace and more change in our lives in the next ten years than in the last forty. It’s a bold statement to make, but I think it’s accurate,” said Brown. This recent Article describes each of the areas that he believes drives this change. Here is a summary:
A recent Article explores those things keeping most Chief Human Resources officers (CHROs) up at night. According to Gartner, CHROs believe three topics are impacting the future of work: AI and automation, the gig economy and an aging yet multi-generational workforce. However, Gartner also believes that they are missing some key trends. They identified these six trends as areas for chief human resources officers to consider:
- Unethical Use of Employee Data
- Falling Barriers to Access
- Automation of the Manager Role
- Elimination of On-the-Job Learning
- Radical Transparency
- Rising Demand for Remote Work
Like every corporate function, human resources will face its share of change in the coming years. According to Gartner research, only 9% think their organisation is prepared for the future of work. Explore each trend in the article referenced above.