Physically here, virtually there.

June 6, 2011

Here’s an article I recently wrote on the future of work and workplaces for the New Exchange

The Year 2020 is only nine years away and for many it holds the romantic promise of how different life and business will be, but will the reality live up to the expectation?


In 2020 we will hold the 32nd Olympic Games and it will be a leap year. Australia’s population will be around 25.5 million. Baby boomers will be 58 years old plus and one in five of us will be over 60 years of age. The median Australian age will be 40 with a life expectancy of 81 for a male and 86 for a female.

In our 2020 workplaces, one in three employees will be working on a causal, part time or project basis. 40% of today’s senior leaders will have reached retirement age. Gen Y will account for 42% of the workforce. The average job tenure will be 2.4 years and one in four workers will be working remotely or virtually.

Between now and 2020 we will also move forward 100 technological years as we continue to irrevocably enmesh our physical world with our online virtual world and render ourselves virtually immortal leaving digital footprints that will echo throughout all time.

Tomorrows’ workplaces and thinking

The eternal core of an innovator is underpinned by a childlike curiosity; a “why not” and “what if” attitude to every possibility they encounter in a daily fresh new world; a strong intuitive belief in how the world is evolving, all balanced by a strategic old-world whole of business pragmatism.

This will remain fundamental in business innovation, but what is different is the speed of change and the breadth of opportunities that we have access to.

As technology increasingly satisfies our linear and routine work activities and provides us with synthetic thinking and analysis, successful corporations will evolve into the realisation that human knowledge and the willingness and agility to readily and appropriately respond to the unusual and unpredictable will offer them their unique point of difference and profitable competitive edge.

Where once we may have jealously guarded our intellectual property and unique know-how, we will instead choose to seek out ways to leverage and make best use of these by forming alliances with other business and providers who service similar and complimentary markets, knowing that in this collaborative offering there is strength, growth and profitability for all involved.

2020’s workplaces will need to be adept at uniting a physically present tribe of employees with a tribe of offsite and often transient staff’s, specifically chosen for their ability to add value to the task or project regardless of where they are on the globe.

These tribe members may have history and longevity in working together, but just as likely may only come together to perform one task or project and then disband, repeating this process over and over again responding ongoing to global marketplace needs for projects, skill, wisdom and insights.

The old management paradigm of control will also slowly give way to the new paradigm of influence, as we learn that our workplaces are extremely fluid, malleable and adaptive and that to flourish in this new work context is to allow our people the freedom to explore new possibilities and methodologies whilst remaining true and fixed on the compass pointing steadfastly to the required outcomes.

As the boundary between our physical and virtual worlds blur and we become more immersed and dependant on constantly on and information rich in situ technologies, the ability to compartmentalise our lives into the historical dictum of eight hours work, eight hours play and eight hours rest will no longer have meaning, or purpose.

The willingness and ability to effectively manage the personal needs of the individual with the commercial needs of an organisation will be a skillset muscle we will all need to exercise and strengthen.

Tomorrow’s professions

Many of tomorrow’s career and industry opportunities are hidden in the 60% of the tasks and jobs we will do in the next decade that we can’t yet imagine.

This includes the burgeoning healthcare industry that will service our aging population as we strive for quality of life as we routinely live to 100 years of age and beyond.

Expect to see a growing number of genetic counsellors, stem cell researchers and custom implant organ designers’ jobs being advertised.

In allied industry’s Baby Boomers will be hiring retirement coaches and counsellors, financial advisors and wealth experts to advise them on how to maximise their post work lives.

Our insatiable reliance on virtual and augmented online worlds will makes digital professionals another sought after industry and profession with new jobs emerging including computer forensic analysts, cyber security specialists, media search consultants and data technologists.

Where to from here?

As we journey towards the year 2020, the companies that thrive and grow will be those that find opportunity in the changes.

They will clearly know what they are capable of; be willing to innovate in large and small ways, be skilled at harnessing the collective wisdom and energy of the people around them, and adept at finding new markets and new opportunities and most importantly not afraid to reach out and grab for them.

The Weekender–6PR Radio–21 March 2010

March 21, 2010

My 4th year on Perth radio’s 6PR’s Weekender program comes to end this week as it goes into hiatus until after the footy season in October; so in this weeks segment Harvey Deegan and I look ahead to what the future of tech and business may be over the next 7 months, including:

• iPad and iPhone
• Google android phone
• eReaders
• USB 3.0
• 3D – computers, laptops, televisions, billboards
• Augmented and virtual reality
• Location based services – rise of foursquare, gowalla and others
• Visual and semantic search
• Continuing rise of cloud computing

It’s always sad when the show breaks for winter and the footy season, but it’s been a great series and I’m counting down the days until St Kilda wins the AFL grand final and we’re back on air in October.

Listen here for this weeks segment, click here for my other interviews between now and October and of course let’s keep in touch on Twitter.

It’s a virtual world – 6PR radio interview

December 16, 2009

Morris Miselowski catches up with Perth radio 6PR’s Jason Jordan to chat about the rise and rise of Augmented Reality apps, web applications and mainstream media uses. Recorded live 16 December 2009.