The Future of Work is Adaptive, and it’s Closer Than You Think
Today, we are witnessing the disruption of almost all processes, practices, and industries by digital technology.
Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 500 years.
If you doubt that, just look at the simple graph below: “Estimated Speed of Technological Advancement“.
Buckle up, because you’re not ready for the speed of progress. The future of work involves humans working side by side with intelligent machines. And in general, employees and organizations aren’t prepared for this revolution.
Digitalization is inevitable, but what does it mean in the context of work?
Employees now have less financial commitments compared to generations before. They’re not having as many children and few are choosing to have mortgages, and they will abandon more traditional workplace values in the future. They gave up searching for their “one true calling” because it most likely doesn’t exist. Instead, they are focused on adding value where it’s relevant the most.
More and more employees are willing to sacrifice stability for the freedom to move jobs, countries, and careers. These sociocultural trends are giving rise to an alternative workforce known as adaptive talents.
“Adaptive workforce: mobile & decentralized network of talents
The future of work seems promising, but what exactly this new workforce will consist of?
The concept of the adaptive workforce includes:
- Project-oriented groups that emphasize collaboration and agility.
- Organizational management that makes data-driven decisions.
- Teams empowered to innovate through a culture of an iterative approach.
- Continuous upskilling as a core organizational competency.
- A contingent workforce that uses external talent including contractors and freelancers.
The work itself will change dramatically. The ability to contribute to different projects, upskill and add value will be valued the most. How can one become an “Adaptive Talent”? Learning won’t stop after college. On the contrary, adaptive talents of the future will have to upskill themselves throughout their entire career.
A group of developers can make as much impact as big corporations and governments.
Where will you find these Adaptive Talents? Experts predict the employees will use online remote work tools to work on projects with other contributors worldwide, then monetize their work time. Some of the basic remote work/project collaboration platforms and tools are already in use today as employers are facing the tech talent crunch globally. The tech will only get more advanced, removing roadblocks on the way to productive collaboration across regions.
Automation will empower communities, not destroy them.
While automation is changing every aspect of life, yet meaningful connections & real human relationships are valued greater than ever.
The more interaction-based tasks get automated, the greater our craving for social experiences are. The way we communicate at work may be fully automated, but there’s more to work than just tasks to complete. The tech can never replace the community aspect, meaningful social connections and the feeling of being a part of something great.
At the end of the day, It’s the people that make us love or hate our jobs.
Communities of talents from programmers to scientists are the go-to places for advice, support, and guidance. In other words, companies and platforms that leverage social proof and build a community of engaged users will stand out and thrive.
Will Adaptive Talents be the last workers on earth?
Think about it, after self-programming robots, self-driving cars replacing taxis… what jobs will stand still?
Adaptive Talents‘ reputation and trust will help when comes to personal connections, those human interactions that robots cannot replace. The jobs that require empathy and interpersonal interactions (hiring, coaching, communications etc) we least likely to be affected by automation. Thus, adaptive Talents will be highly influential and they are less likely to be replaced with AI.
This coming disruptive transformation is all about the empowering of people working on projects driven with purpose, not replacing people with machines for the sake of replacement.
The World Is Complex, Not Complicated. Complexity scientist Samuel Arbesman has argued that technological progress is bringing an end to the knowability and control we once had over things around us.
Society is rebuilding itself, and not for the first time.
Things won’t be simply good or bad, wonderful or terrifying — it will be all of those things at once.
– Joshua Cooper Ramo
More complexity produces more interaction, therefore the future might be even more challenging than what we’ve ever faced. Employers will have to retool their processes and reevaluate their talent strategies and workforce needs. Organizations will have to optimize their culture, leadership, and structures to comply with the new standards of work. Governments will have less control over their workforce and talent mobility.
Whether you call this the death of Work as we know it or a disruptive transformation by the “adaptive industry” is open to discussion.