On May 25th I had the pleasure of participating in an all day Think Tank about the Future of Work. The event was hosted by Adobe and took place at One Kearny in San Francisco, in conjunction with the release of a new FoW study Adobe has just published.
The Think Tank brought together eight industry experts to discuss potential changes in the future of work that will take place over the next 5 years in the categories of people, places and technology. Some of the things we discussed include:
- What is work? Is it something we do for money or personal fulfillment?
- What is employment? Should we all be contractors? What is loyalty?
- Where do we work? Office? Home? In transit? In shared spaces? In virtual environments?
- What is work:life balance, or life:work balance, or blending, or integration, or just life?
- Should work be fun? Should we have choices of what we do, or do we need to just accept what’s available?
- What’s wrong with the tools (software and hardware) we use today at work, and how can we fix them? How will AI, VR/AR, wearables, IoT, etc. impact getting work done?
- How should performance be measured? Today jobs can scale on the web far more than they could in the physical workplace. What is the return per employee?
- How should we be paid for work? Is money the only currency?
- Are robots and AI going to replace us all?
- Have we seen all this before, and we’re just living in the middle of a current cycle, or is something different this time?
I had a great time interacting with and learning from the experts on people and workplaces, and hope I contributed on the topics of technology. I found the event extremely beneficial, and will use the information to guide several of the topics I write/speak about in the future.
One thing I would have like to have seen us do more of is push the boundaries further. To be fair, the day was focused primarily on the next 5 years or so, but imagine the next 10 or 20! Think about transit to work via hyperloop subways, ramjet planes or self-driving cars. What about when “function specific wearables" go away, and their functionality is just woven directly into our clothes, shoes, glasses, hats, etc. ex: Imagine a map displayed right on the sleeve of your jacket. What will work be like when augmented reality provides us information in real time, right within our field of view? How will holographic displays or flexible/foldable/bendable screens impact our ability to create and consume information? The future is exciting, and I can’t wait to be part of it.
Below is the recording of one part of the Think Tank, in which Jeremiah Owyang moderates a 90 minute discussion with us all. Stay tuned, as more content will be released from the day long event, including short interviews and highlights from our brainstorming workshops. *I am looking into if anyone has indexed the 90 minutes, listing the questions and their timing.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the future of work. Will is remain the same? Will it be completely different? What do you hope changes? What do you hope stays the same?