An enjoyable experience of scanning more than 70 trends related to work and entrepreneurship made me conclude that there are five driving forces shaping the future of work: technological developments, globalization, demographic shifts, social trends, and paradigmatic changes.
Get ready to face with a transformed world of human productivity in an age of information-rich, context dependent and software-mediated work environments. This is the best message that I can offer you with my blog post at this time. There are numerous macro and micro trends of future societies, technologies, economies, environments, policies and developments in the areas of work and entrepreneurship.
Receiving an interesting order from a friend client, I decided to launch a scanning project on the future of work and entrepreneurship as a part of placing that order. I identified more than 70 trends at “micro” and “macro” levels that embraced a wide range of implications on society, technology, economy, environment and politics (STEEP). In addition to studying the probable effects, the strength (very high, high, medium, low, and very low) and maturity (emerging, growing, and grownup) of each trend were also located.
The trends were identified by scanning published resources on the Internet containing pieces of news and information related to keywords like “employer, employment, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, job, office, work, worker, work place and space.” Six sections were designated for each trend: title, description, implication, strength, maturity, level, STEEP orientation and source. At the end of the road, a concise trends report was prepared and submitted to the client.
Here is a brief of that report:
Technology has been always evolving the ways we do our jobs. Technology will continue to replace low skill roles. So people will have to upgrade their skills according to technological innovations. Their failure in doing this may cause the origins of unemployment problem. Studying the unemployment in different social contexts reveals that what we lack today is not employment, but a way of fairly distributing the created opportunities through our technologies. There is a problem of resource and technology mismanagement in many societies, even in developed ones. The futurists believe that a convergence of technological and economic factors, especially the rapidly falling cost of communication is enabling a change in the nature of business and work.
The issue of globalization is no longer just a political theme. It’s a matter of communication and connection of people to the rest of the civilized world, out of political circles. Globalization and associated developments have lifted millions in the developing world out of poverty. But there is still a huge shortfall in the number of real jobs. A solution can be the improvement of social networking. My scanning job shows that networking technologies will be improved and more people find themselves always connected among themselves and other communities. A new social life is emerging. This globalized style of life will require a transformed working behavior and entrepreneurial code of practice in both the employee and the employer. Entrepreneurship has find a new paradigm in the era of globalization: Think globally and act globally!
Immigration, birth, death, and other forms of demographic changes that alter the populations’ quantity and quality are strong driving forces of the future in the jobs markets. Unfortunately, we’re living in a time when productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. Developed, developing and even under-developed countries can be regarded productive as far as they can provide shelter, food, education, and health care for their entire population. If they fail to do this, they should wait to see demographic changes in their nations. Such changes in what is called “brain drain” will have deeper and stronger effects. When intellectuals face with working problems in their home countries, they respond initially by shifting their work field or skills. But if they find it useless, they’ll eventually decide to move into other countries to find a new job. Many intellectuals stay “permanently temporarily” in foreign countries.
Highly skilled people migration is not about the mobility of boundary-less careers (nor can these migrants be seen as cosmopolitan), but rather it is a mobility with its own costs and constraints.
The policy makers’ minds today are occupied with this concern that how they can engineer their societies for better jobs. Extrapolating current social trends shows that people will need more formal and permanent jobs. Most of the applicants for permanent positions will be young adults. Governments will have to review their employment policies. Coalitions may be built by public and private sectors to create more reliable jobs. The most essential need of the future job seekers will be confidence in jobs they will find to assure an earning and a life. In the future, people’s social position will be defined according to enduring power their jobs reflect against environmental changes. Work and social lives will become indistinguishable.
The term “entrepreneurship” is taking the place of “employment” in the dictionaries of job and expertise. A shift in workers and employers’ look toward the nature of work is defining future businesses and job markets. Future commercial enterprises will be graded by the amount and quality of information they use to operate in competitive markets. It is the stuff the world is made of. What we are doing right now has nothing to do with entrepreneurship; it is the art of creating new ideas leading to real new jobs, not the same enterprises exist in the market today.
But information should be a product of everyday usage, like electricity. Now, information is being turned into a product of global enterprises. It is a tragedy that is being sold to us as progress. Even universities that are studying entrepreneurship in growing numbers (in the US and Canada alone, more than 200 institutions have established centers, courses, competitions, scholarships, or speaker series on entrepreneurship) are trading that information, not offering new ideas opening new positions for their students in the market.
Summarizing my words, I think that we should expect more turbulence in the jobs markets. Technology will continue to play its decisive role, but the frontiers of innovation and job construction and destruction will be cruised by human beings’ paradigmatic shifts. However, when money is a measure of worth, improving the quality of human capital becomes a real hard work. In the future, we’ll need to build skill-flexible and resilient human capital.
Alireza Hejazi is the founding editor of Futures Discovery website (http://www.futuresdiscovery.com/). He is currently an MA student of Strategic Foresight at Regent University School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship.
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
Energy storage prices are dropping fast. If you follow me, you’ve seen me write about this before. Energy storage prices have in fact been dropping exponentially for at least 25 years. Here’s a new piece of analysis – a model that uses a 20% learning curve per doubling to that project Li-ion batteries dropping to 5 cents per kwh round-tripped through them by ~2030.
The beleaguered nuclear power industry may soon have a good story to tell post-Fukushima. Lightbridge, a nuclear engineering company based in Virginia, is about to test a literal "twist" for fuel rods that can increase power yield by 10% in existing nuclear power plants with only minor modifications. And if the plants replace existing turbines with larger ones it would mean as much as a 17% increase in power output and incurring only an incremental investment without a major build.
The carbon capture and storage project at the Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan is about to go live as reported in the press today. The project goal has been to eliminate 90% of the CO2 generated by the coal-fired power plant. Additions have cost $1.4 billion CDN, $115 million over budget, and represent what is believed to be the world's first commercial-scale CCS project to go live.
I occasionally do talks on future TV and I generally ignore current companies and their recent developments because people can read about them anywhere. If it is already out there, it isn’t the future.
Surely gardens are a place to get back to nature, to escape from technology? Well, when journalists ask to see really advanced technology, I take them to the garden. Humans still have a long way to go to catch up with what nature does all the time.
Cool is a concept that people understand instinctively and globally. It is not Carl Rohde who decides on his own what it the cool stuff on any subject; his eyes and ears are his students and associates. Rohde teaches on (almost) all continents. Part of his assignment is take photographs, describe what it is, and why it is cool. Select the best cool hunt of the week, and upload it to the cool hunting platform. The cool hunters rate each other's works. The items that have most potential will show up. The network of associates does pretty much the same thing, but there everyone has his own specialty.
In a recent issue of Globe and Mail, Canada's purported national newspaper, Janet McFarland wrote a piece on ethical investment describing the Montreal Carbon Pledge and the commitment being made by global funds to report the carbon pollution within their portfolios. Portfolio screening focused on environmental issues is a relatively new practice for fund managers. Carbon represents just one in a number of the risks being assessed. Water, land use, pollution, and waste are also measured against portfolios and policy decision making.
Our individual minds, though distinct and uniquely ours, may also join with others in a kind of mental symphony that now and then becomes audible against a prevailing background of static. That's a conclusion suggested by the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), which got its start at Princeton University in 1998 and now operates as an international collaboration.