Emerging Signals On The Future Of Work

While the world continues to navigate the challenges of a global pandemic, discussion of a post-pandemic future is ramping. The future of work is a dominant piece of that post-pandemic discussion. There are still more questions than answers, but the signals are flying. Three recent articles focused on distinct pieces of this future: Performance, Identity Economy, and Making a Hybrid Work model. The article on performance highlights the pandemic as catalyst and accelerant. The need to rethink how we view performance was clear pre-pandemic – but mostly not acted upon. The events of the last 15 months may be driving action.

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COVID-19 And The New Great Depression

In a new book by James Rickards, the author explores both the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. A prolific writer, Economist, and adviser, Mr. Rickards predicts years of economic turbulence ahead. In The New Great Depression, Mr. Rickards sees the pandemic through an historical lens, where crisis presents a gateway between one world and the next. With an eye towards history, he concludes that the Keynes practical definition of a depression fits, and we are now in a new depression that is more far reaching than a mere technical recession. Along the way, the author wades into controversial topics such as China’s role in spreading the virus and the lockdown that ensued (which he calls the biggest policy blunder ever).

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Global Technology Governance

Strawberries. Simple enough for farmers to grow, but can they do better? That is a question that a smart Agriculture Competition in China attempted to answer. Four technology teams competed with farmers over four months to grow strawberries. This Article by Victoria Masterson describes what happened next: data scientists produced 196% more strawberries by weight on average compared with traditional farmers. It is not surprising, given that vertical farming using intelligent sensors and AI have shown the possibilities. As we witness this rapid pace of innovation, we see the potential for human development (in this case food abundance), but also the likely unintended consequences. These Two Paths have historical precedent, as every great period of invention has followed both paths. After all, fire provided light, warmth, and food, but also burned down villages.

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Guarding Against Future Crises In Business

In the early days of 2021, there is still an uneasy feeling involved in any search for a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, it may be that this will always remain the case. And yet, without disregarding or minimizing the tragedy that the pandemic has inflicted all across the globe, there are certain potential positives coming to light.

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Post Corona: From Crisis To Opportunity

“I begin with two theses. First, the pandemic’s most enduring impact will be as an accelerant. While it will initiate some changes and alter the direction of some trends, the pandemic’s primary effect has been to accelerate dynamics already present in society.” – Scott Galloway

That is a quote from a book I just finished. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing to second-year MBA students. In his new book, he looks at the world post corona. The book titled “Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity” has been added to my Book library. He points to remarkable things that have happened since the virus reared its ugly head, like: It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value, and 20 weeks to accelerate from $1 trillion to $2 trillion (March to August 2020), and we registered a decade of ecommerce growth in eight weeks. Additionally, Tesla became not only the most valuable car company in the world, but more valuable than Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Honda combined.

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Life After Coronavirus

In this brief video, several experts talk about life after the global pandemic. Adil Najam, Dean, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and his colleagues set out to answer this question: what will our post-COVID-19 world look like? I tackled that question early in the pandemic by looking at Applying History to our current day. Mr. Najam interviewed leading thinkers on 101 distinct topics and produced a video series which you can find Here.

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Transformers Prioritize AI Investment

There are many examples of COVID-19 serving as an Accelerant. History and necessity tell us that automation is one of those examples. According to a Business Insider survey of 53 leaders featured in the Transforming Business series, AI and Cloud are at the top of the list of transformation that companies will invest in during 2021. It’s on the agenda of 47% of those surveyed. The connection to the pandemic can be seen in examples of where automation is applied. This recent Article describes a scenario where social distancing requirements are met through automation. Author Joe Mullich points to the kitchen of a burger joint, where a hard-working fry cook named “Flippy” is paving the way for greater use of artificial intelligence and cloud technology in the restaurant industry. 

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COVID-19 Accelerates Innovation In Healthcare

We owe so much to the frontline heroes that serve society in critical times. The pandemic has shown us just how important and under-appreciated these individuals are. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Healthcare is one of those areas where we see both heroics and exposure. The lack of digital progress has been exposed across sectors by the virus. That is the bad news. The good news is that extreme events like this can serve as accelerants. This recent Article describes the turning point that COVID-19 likely represents for healthcare. Rethinking healthcare for the digital age should be a top priority (as it should across all industries).

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COVID-19 Impacts University Enrollment

A recent Study found that the number of students enrolling in college immediately after high school plunged nearly 22% this past fall over last year. The future of education is a big discussion topic, as the pandemic is threatening the viability of education organizations and models. Key findings include:

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Eight Trends Amplified By COVID-19

I just finished another book and added it to my Library. Pandemic, Inc. explores eight trends that are amplified by the current pandemic. Author Patrick Schwerdtfeger believes we will see more change in the next 12 months then we saw in the last 12 years. He views the current crisis through an optimistic lens, seeing a time of incredible change, but also opportunity.

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Bill Gates Looks At Life After COVID-19

Back in April and May, there was a lot of crystal ball gazing going on. Will COVID-19 change our world forever? This Post, among others I wrote in the early days of the pandemic, explored the various ways the world may change. In the post, I reflected on a key warning sign: most predictions of a post-crisis world have historically been wrong. I pointed to an Article authored by Rob Walker, where he stresses that thoughtful speculation about the future helps us cope with the present and identify potential challenges and opportunities. He adds however that history tells us that most predictions will be wrong. In looking back at predictions post 9/11 and the great recession, Mr. Walker provides supporting evidence for this statement.

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What Will The Future Home Look Like Post-Pandemic?

The Innovation Wheel and the Home

When I talk about this emerging era of great invention advancing the various areas of our well-being, I always include changes to the home. The home has remained quite static since great inventions of the second revolution (running water, sanitation, heating, air conditioning, etc.) established our modern-day home. For the first time since that period, the home is likely to see another shift. This was true prior to the pandemic, as the visual I use to describe this part of the innovation story describes.

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The Future Of Jobs

Data gathered by LinkedIn, Coursera and the World Economic Forum was captured in a Future of Jobs Report recently published by The World Economic forum (WEF). A good summary is provided by senior writer Kate Whiting in her recent Article on the WEF website. Report content is showing up in varied places, with key findings like those below widely shared:

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The Next Generation Of Farming

As we Rethink Humanity, we appreciate that the next decade represents what is likely the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption in history. By 2030, much of what we know could be completely reimagined. Something as basic as food and farming could look quite different, as the possibilities cover a wide spectrum. In the short term, we find different ways to farm, optimizing yield and improving our environment. In the long term, we likely witness the complete transformation of farming.

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Accelerating Towards Automation

The acceleration of automation is not a direct outcome of the pandemic – it is simply more visible now. That visibility is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise horrible several months. The inequities that exist in the world are now more visible. The lack of preparation for a digital future has exposed those who did not see the need. In the case of automation, it was going to accelerate for a number of reasons, but the pandemic will Accelerate the Acceleration. One clear reason that this decade will see a massive investment in automation is the fall in Working Age population. Said another way, it is getting increasingly difficult to find skilled resources.

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COVID-19: The Great Reset

I just finished another very good book and added it to my Book Library. COVID-19: The Great Reset was authored by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret. Professor Klaus Schwab is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. He has argued that a company must serve not only shareholders but all stakeholders to achieve long-term growth and prosperity. To promote the stakeholder concept (something gaining considerable traction today), he founded the World Economic Forum. Thierry is the co-founder and main author of the Monthly Barometer, a succinct predictive analysis exclusively provided to private investors and some of today’s most influential opinion and decision-makers.

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Dealing With Loneliness And Isolation

At a Milken Institute Health Summit in 2017, I participated in a panel discussion that focused on effective methods for healthier aging on a vast scale. One of the key discussion points was how Loneliness and Isolation were a leading cause of death among the elderly. Here in 2020, that concern has been amplified by the pandemic. During that panel discussion, I mentioned the use of companion robots to deal with this growing crisis. As society continues to age, the problem of isolation and loneliness grows more acute.

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Covid-19 Leaves Its Mark on Real Estate

Shopping malls are an example of the lasting impact that the global pandemic is likely to have on real estate. If the surge in online shopping represents a new normal, then what is to become of all those malls? In a recent Article, author Parija Kavilanz explores that question. According to data from research firm (REIS) Moody’s Analytics, the rate of mall vacancies is at a historic high of 9.8% in early September, exceeding the previous peak of 9.3% in 2011.

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Virtual and Augmented Reality Likely To Accelerate

In early 2019, I described the Three Focus Themes for the year. They were Acceleration, Convergence, and Possibilities. Little did I know that one of those themes would factor so prominently in 2020. In a recent Presentation, Mehlman, Castagnetti, Rosen & Thomas – a full-service, bipartisan government relations firm – describes 2020 as the year where forces already in play experience a great acceleration. One of those forces is mixed reality.

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Travel In A Post-Pandemic World

There was a lot going on in the world of travel prior to the pandemic. The emerging Mobility Ecosystem built on a foundation of innovation promises to disrupt this space as the decade progresses. The visual describes some of what lies ahead (click to view in a separate window).

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