Technology changes everything. Can you imagine life without iPhone, WhatsApp, Uber or GPS? We are so much more productive than ten years ago due to those and other relevant technologies. Since the first industrial revolution, we have been harvesting significant productivity gains, improving quality of life and dedicating way less time on the traditional concept of work. Between 1880 and 1995 the amount of work per day fell nearly in half, allowing leisure time to more than triple, and as per the projection, it will continue growing in the next decades. And what do we do with all that free time?
LAY BACK AND RELAX
The leisure industry is showing unprecedented growth to help us occupy all that free time. Have a look at the content production revolution for movie theaters and cable, the exponential growth of tourism, and the proliferation of events, gourmet restaurants, and wine tastings. All are results of productivity gains and more free time to spend the wealth we have been accumulating. To add to the picture social trends are bringing new forces into the workplace. Highly demanded by the new talent the work contract is becoming every time more flexible. Mobility options, virtual offices, part-time jobs and engagement by the project are helping to create more flexible hours too. The result is a better quality of life and more discretionary time. All that is uncontested progress, however, we can do more with all that time.
Another industry anchored in productivity gains and showing steady growth is the online education. People tuned in the future of work are using their free time to learn and acquire new skills too. The report by Docebo shows the total marketing for e-learning in 2016 was $51.8B growing in average 7.9% per year in the 2012-16 period. But online courses are not the only solutions out there.
SOLUTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK
As we look for new investment opportunities at collectivebrains.org, one new company called my attention in Brazil. TOP2YOU has created a very friendly tool to connect top executives with anyone in need of business or career advice, or even talking about new aspirations and innovation ideas. HR professionals are jumping in the tool to provide external mentoring to their employees either developing further high potentials or helping performance laggards to grow. Top-ranked executives are also using the tool to discuss business strategy and innovation paths with other experienced professionals of the market. It is very simple to schedule sessions with the leaders they want to talk. The tool removes all the bureaucracy and communication barriers one would usually encounter to reach and talk to such renown professionals.
TOP2YOU is not only for large enterprises but to all professionals willing to rethink their careers, solve a business problem or find inspiration. A great resource for small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent workers too. Connecting with people that inspires you just became as simple as choose, click, and talk. As the job market changes and the workplace landscape reinvents itself, we need to be on top of our game. The tool can make the difference to rethink one's professional future.
That was what happened to Simone Madrid, an executive search pro who has seen the risk of disintermediation in the headhunting industry as a significant threat. Technology is changing the landscape, and the growth of online recruiting is undermining many of the companies in the sector. Simone decided not just to wait and see. She saw an enormous potential for people development beyond recruitment. In no time, she joined efforts with Thiago Correia and Marcio Minuzzi and created TOP2YOU. Thiago path is rooted in the investment market. He is an Associated investor at Gavea Angels, and immediately recognized the business potential of the idea in a country that is the 7th largest economy on the planet, and yet not well served by new tech solutions. Marcio is the third partner. He is still employed at a big multinational company but decided to try the entrepreneurship with the blessing of his employer. He brings digital marketing expertise to the team. The three are great examples of the entrepreneur spirit required to thrive under the digital revolution. The future of work is closer than we think. It is time to reinvent ourselves.
What is the future of decision making in business?
Large and small businesses live under the threat of being disrupted due to unwise decision making. Key projects are delayed, innovation postponed or killed before maturing, and new sales channels starve to death due to unappropriated funding, and more. Committees are equivocally used for decision making slowing outcomes; shadowy leaders are ambiguously hired and promoted, brands become fuzzy patchworks, and this list goes on and on. If you have worked for corporations, I am sure you are already mentally adding to the list.
The truth is most of the businesses are populated by smart and well-prepared resources, graduated in the best schools and continuously educated to make wise choices. And most of the wrong decisions are surrounded by managers not supporting them, and yet their voices are rarely heard.
Companies are not prepared to change this reality, and HR professionals in most of the cases have no support to change it either. Here are the primary sources of wrong decision making.
VOICE OF GOD
Egocentric charismatic leaders are a significant source of faulty decision making in larger companies. They can be extremely convincing even if the facts do not support their point of view. Usually, they are surrounded by tens of the "yes man" type, what does not help the process either. In this case, the voice of few is muffled by the "yes man" bunch. In small companies, the owner or founder is usually the top expert and the only one with skin in the game. Therefore, there is a limit to where employees can push back on decisions. For small companies, an impactful wrong decision might be just fatal.
SMALL GROUPS POLITICAL ALIGNMENT
It is not hard to find small groups of professionals aligned around some particular interest. Marketing vs. sales, followers of a charismatic leader vs. another, protectors of an investment line, one department vs. another. Politically aligned groups can create arguments and raise the volume when is the time to debate. They may also cover for each other when is time to explain. In all those cases, decisions are made in favor of a group and not necessarily the best for the company.
TOP DOWN DECISIONS
Wrong decision making does not belong to the middle manager only. Chief Officers also have a limit how much they can push their own beliefs and agenda. The actual impactful decision making in larger companies is done on the board of director’s level. CEOs have a limit to influence those decisions as the board of directors' members represents groups of investors with high authority.
LONG TERM vs. SHORT TERM
Data, analysis and common sense are not the only currency on making decisions. In many cases, decisions are negotiated, and middle ground has to be reached - and that is a significant source of mistakes especially when investment trade-offs have to be made in favor of a short-term P&L or a long-term benefit for the company. Every time there is less room to support long term decisions if that is going to hurt the quarterly P&L. The bottom line pressure is big and potential new businesses are killed just because funds are not allocated at the right time to nurture innovation.
IN A NUT SHELL
Short term favored decisions, political groups aligned with the wrong idea, big ego managers, and board room disputes might lead companies to off target decision making. Thus, it is important to have a look what the future of work looks like and the impact on decision making.
ROBOTS MAY DECIDE BETTER THAN HUMANS
The very first impact is about low-level decision making. I mean every decision making based on data without broad strategic or economic impact. Robots will potentially take over most of them. As soon as we explain AI powered robots how to make those decisions, human decisions will be obsolete. Even areas we thought as private human realms before. A good example is IBM's Watson law. Watson is heading to replace junior associates at scale on a key role, e-discovery, simultaneously adding precision and reducing costs. The rest is simple math. Marketing, sales, legal, planning, finance, HR among other personnel will be no longer demanded at the same pace as today for a company to develop and perform their core business. Big offices, hundreds of employees, and supporting areas are no longer necessary. A significant downsizing, with no help of consultants, will happen in the next decade. As a consequence, we will watch fewer employees involved in those processes, but amazingly productive. No long meetings, no political capital required, no "yes man" groups to perform simple tasks and so the potential for better decision making is higher either by robots or humans.
NEW JOB PROFILE
Most of the tasks in the post 4th industrial revolution "higher educated quadrant" of the jobs spectrum requiring human participation, will be both cross-functional and multidisciplinary. The way people will interact will be collectively based on genuine respect and regard of expertise. New degrees of analysis will be required, and strategic thinking and creativity will rule decision making. The best leaders will be the ones who can get the best out of a team and garnish decisions beautifully for fully informed board rooms and government agents to approve. CEOs will be pushed to be less egocentric and genuinely better leaders, as the impact of their work will be able to be measured in days and not quarters due to big data availability and power analytics tools. Robots will defy our logic, prototype ideas real time, create sales projections, make real time research to help us in our decision process. People will be compensated and promoted by their competence and business impact, and no one will have to fill in HR excel files of little value to the business. When we look back in the future, we will see intelligent robots to business leaders as we see tractors to farmers today. Just progress.
HELP TO BUILD THE FUTURE
Rest no doubt we will go through a phase where the transition to this new scenario will impact us all and how we work. That has been called the 4th industrial revolution. We invest in solutions that will help make people productive in the future. Please join our discussions at collectivebrains.org.
DILBERT © 2015 Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL
SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.
As jobs massively disappear in the next years, we have been looking for solutions that will create new opportunities for people to engage with work, be productive and sustain a happier life.
The problem is clear and high impacting - soon the rate of workers displaced by the new tech wave will be bigger than the jobs created by the same technologies. Automation, machine learning, AI, and robotics will eliminate entire classes of jobs that exist today leaving millions of workers unprepared to the new workplace. The World Economic Forum forecasts that 5 million office jobs will be eliminated by 2020, just three years away, and that is just the beginning.
Concomitantly, a new social trend is hitting big companies where it hurts the most. New talent does not want to work for them anymore. Millennials and Gen Zers are turning their backs to toxic work environments, stalled paychecks bullying managers and low innovation environments. Only 15% of the class of 2015 said they would "prefer" to work for large corporations, according to a survey by Accenture. Large companies will have to adapt and be creative to attract and retain talent as there are new ways of engaging with work, create value and find self-fulfillment.
WE SEE NEW SOLUTIONS
A new broader-better-balanced workplace is in formation as we speak. Digital disruption is the norm, and new talents are deeply involved in creating the new deal as entrepreneurs or collaborators. New ways of digitally engaging with work are multiplying, and networks, platforms, and job opportunities are set up by the minute. More than never hybrid teams formed with internal and external experts are being created to supply talent to areas companies are short. All it requires is the hunger for continuous self-education and stamina. Money is available to venture, and there is demand for market knowledge and experience in many collective-thinking platforms. All you need is the leap of faith, as your job is probably not the safe harbor it was before. The sooner you get prepared, the better. Change is irreversible.
On our search to invest in new solutions aiming to build the new future, we found Nitesh and Indiez. Check it out. Nitesh, a 25yo super talented engineer, graduated from IIT, Bombay is the founder of indiez.io - a community of independent designers, developers and product managers who have come together with a shared purpose to build the Future of Work.
After trying the traditional big tech company environment and few start-ups, Nitesh decided to break with the model and create a better environment for software talent. A collaborative network that leverage talents 24h a day across multiple countries and get the job you need to be done faster and more affordable, and where every talent gets a bigger cut of the revenue generated.
An excellent example of what Indiez can do is help a large enterprise launch a product for masses in a matter of months. Tikkle (Tikkle.io) is a flagship case. On Nitesh's own words - " It was one of our complex assignments. We collaborated with the Tikkle’s team remotely to get to a right feature set. From a concept in their board member’s heads to a real product feature set. We have brainstormed online and remotely. After, we engaged a team of 15 members from 4 different time zones collaborating to build Tikkle. We managed the project through processes like daily check-ins, weekly reviews, regular demos and closed feedback loops. We developed mobile apps, web apps, backend and admin panels. The product was very elaborated as we were building impressive designed features with high performance on low-end smartphones, integrating the best-fit third-party solutions for a chat and live streaming, and serving enterprise customers with 100,000+ users all at the same time. Indiez has delivered Tikkle on time and enable them to do sales demo. Now Tikkle.io is used by multiple global organizations to engage their employees. We continue to provide them development support as needed. "
Indiez uses new technologies to stimulate collaboration, nurture collective thinking and to guarantee high-quality deliverables. They have embraced Slack as the key communication platform clubbed with tools like Trello, Jira, Asana, GitHub, Drive, Dropbox. They have connected these tools and have built an intelligence layer to manage projects using tech.
A real solution of a new talent that understand the future of work.
MONEY IS NOT THE CURRENCY
So, I offer to invest in his business. His answer was a very polite refusal. "Instead of your money, I need your network. That is way worthier than money. "
And so is, now we are collaborating on new projects and creating the basis for a long-term collaborative relationship.
At Collectivebrains.org we are helping to build the future of work. Please share your thoughts, cases and investment needs with us and our community.
What make Fridays such happy days? One obvious answer is how close we are from the weekend and all perks it brings like relaxation, parties, family and friends and "me" time. For a big number of employees in Corporate America, it is also about getting relief, a break from the workplace. I have always enjoyed crossing people in the office, and provoke them with a sincere smile on my face - "Happy Friday!", and listen to the insights thrown back at me. A great measure of a company climate. With few exception periods, the common replies were - "we made it another week" or "finally freedom." Sound familiar?
Workplace environments seem to be deteriorating everywhere, and employees have never felt as crushed, bullied and undervalued than before. That appears to be a massive changing agent underlying other trends forming the new future of work.
In fact, employees and especially millennials, are suffering an increasing level of stress. That is what a new survey from Udemy found out this year, check the slide below. The stress level is up 44% among millennials and 33% in the case of the X generation. Check the root causes according to the study.
Millennials and "X-Gen-ies" really fear that new automation and AI technology will get them out of their jobs. And the threat is real 47% of American jobs are at risk in a decade or two. Get prepared.
NOT A REASON TO LAUGH
The second reason pointed out are "bad managers." Not a surprise as 61% of bullies are bosses, shows a 2017 research about bullying in the workplace. Of course, "bad managers" are a big umbrella that covers from ethical issues to poor judgment and decision making. It seems that even though companies have made progress to improve their ethical standards and the ethical employee behavior, two areas are not showing progress - both the number of workers who reported the bad conduct they saw and the number who experienced retaliation after they reported showed no improvement, according to NBES 2013.
Regardless of the many different causes feeding that fear and behavior, the result where those malpractices are found is a toxic and crushing environment. So toxic, that humor can be a good escape valve from reality. Dilbert creator Scott Adams made millions with the cartoon and its many hilarious office stereotypes - check the front-page strip in the link, and try not to laugh. Another insightful while funny joke can be found on ranker.com. Check the rank of "back stabbers, the suck-ups and others" - at least, it will make you laugh again.
GOOD TIME TO CHANGE
Toxic environment, bad managers, and unjustified stress are good calls for change. It seems that not only jobs will be eliminated, but many will not want them back. The perfect combination of supply and demand is forming as we deepen into those disruptive days. More and more people, especially millennials, are looking for different ways to make a living. NGOs, Start-ups, social causes, small digitally disruptive companies, the gig economy, and others are proliferating and inspiring others to do the same - to find a more meaningful reason, a real motivation beyond the paycheck.
Join us at collectivebrains.org on our search for real solutions and good projects to invest on. Or just to share your thoughts. We believe every day should feel as good as Friday, and it does when we actively build our future.
Most of the jobs our kids will be engaging when they start their professional lives do not exist yet. That is a shared understanding of the future, raised in every school meeting or social gathering with other parents. And so, every parent across the planet is constantly haunted by the million-dollar question - How to successfully prep our kids for a future we do not know yet? Interesting enough, I found out that as we think about their future, we are also thinking about our own.
Think about education. There are so many big decisions we need to make with lifelong consequences for our loved ones and ourselves. It is important to get them right, and a good start is understanding what hints we have from the future of work and how we can translate them into the best action list to guide our kids' education journey.
Knowing the background
The pace of change in the coming years will be ruthless, and that makes a not easy task for today's' chief futurist officers. Technology is progressing so fast and disrupting business and value chains so deep that is becoming harder to understand how people will relate to the concept of work in that future. According to the World Economic Forum, we are going through such broad and profound disruptive times, that we are living a new genuine revolution, the 4th Industrial Revolution. The progress on technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Robotics, and others will massively displace workers and eliminate entire classes of jobs and at the same time, create an unimaginable wealth to the successful companies applying those technologies. Undoubtedly new jobs will be created around those technologies as well as new ways to compensate people for their work. The potentially bigger problem we started to tap into is a time window where more people will lose their jobs than news jobs will be created - specifically in the next decade. That will require attention from governments and solutions from the major players. Gladly, those new technologies will generate so much wealth that governments and big institutions are debating about new solutions such as the creation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) - a way to create an economic counter-cycle and help families around the globe to survive. One of the big differences with the other Industrial revolutions and that scares even the most conservative analysts is the time of deployment of this new technology wave. We are counting time in years, while we counted decades in the previous ones. It means there will be not a lot of time to prepare an entire generation going rapidly to professional obsolescence, and concurrently work fast to adapt the education system to train the new generations for new professions, new fields and new ways of learning. Roll up your sleeves. There is a lot to learn.
Sit on the pilot chair of your kid's education
Just selecting a good prep school and let them "educate" your children will not do it. As social and tech changes accelerate, so it has our kids' education.
The education industry will have to adapt to new demands and create a dynamic integrated environment where skills become building blocks. Blocks that can be aggregated in different ways to produce different results. And so, as the future changes, learned skills are not obsolete but rather transferred and re-purposed into new outcomes. The constant change on desired outcomes requires a lot of good energy from parents and kids to adapt and transform, and the first task of parenting is to make your kids hungry for learning. Learning must be exciting, made of real experiences and activities kids want to engage. The best present we can give our children is a growth mindset where the drive to learn is the foundation for everything they will do in life. Therefore, it is the parents' most important role to sit on the pilot chair of their kids' education and drive it towards the future, until the moment kids are ready to retake the seat from their parents. Do not delegate that to any school or tutor.
What will future jobs require
As new technologies spread out, it is already clear that any task that can be automated by robots will be. For the simple reason that companies will save a fortune using computers instead of people and in most cases with better quality and more consistent results. Same old, same old, since the beginning of farms mechanization. The Same principle applied to new fields and jobs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) for example, deems 5 million office jobs are at risk of being eliminated before 2020 ends, in just three years. And that is just the start. 9 to 5 jobs where you have a defined routine, a static outcome and making the same decisions over and over will be part of the past in less than a decade. Even areas with human interface have the potential to be replaced by computers. The remaining jobs will be the ones that require complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, strategic and systemic thinking. Those skills will not be replaced by AI in this first wave and will need humans to teach robots "how to think" initially. We need to help our kids to be thinkers and curious, to identify patterns and reapply them in new fields, to see relations on different topics and feed them to their creative appetite in a productive way, making them real innovators and problem solvers. Another important duty for parents is giving them access to multiple and diverse sources of information. Different points of view will help them to make broader connections and stimulate their critical thinking. In this globalized world, we need to help them expand their horizons, understand different cultures, explore new ideas and different solutions to the same problems. Those skills have application to any profession, in any field. Another essential skill to deal with a highly dynamic and constantly changing future is resilience. When we are trying to solve a problem, or innovate in a new field, it might be frustrating not to find the solutions we need in our first try. We all need to be resilient and have the grit to try it again over and over, even when results are not satisfactory. Music, Sports, and e-sports, for example, can help a lot to develop resilience, creativity and many other critical skills. Parents need to work with their kids to find activities they like, want to engage and commit.
Love to learn
Natural and applied sciences are developing so fast, powered by edgy technology, that a study noticed that in some high-tech fields, what students have learned in the first year of the course is already obsolete by the time they finish the fourth year of the course. And that trend is accelerating. So, the notion that one can attend a four-year undergrad course, learn a profession and then apply in the next three decades is completely dead. Graduation is no longer the objective but merely the kickoff. Remember that growth mindset and passion for continuous learning are essential.
Knowledge and new hard skills will have to be grouped in shorter cycles of learning and at a higher frequency. So, it will be part of everyone's routine dedicate long hours to self-education, as a condition to keep relevancy on what we do for a living. And that makes so important to find our kids schools that center on individualized education. Schools were truly helping them to enjoy learning while respecting their characteristics and personality. That is key to nurture high self-esteem and pride of accomplishment, two cornerstones of happier, socially apt, secure and decisive adults.
Be passionate about what you do
That takes us to the next hint about the future of work. Help our kids to find their passions and transform them into deep expertise. Once we have eliminated routine tasks with automation, basic social interactions with social robots and low-level decision making with AI, we will be free to produce more intellectual work, be creative and take the time to better care for each other. The unparalleled amount of wealth created will open the possibilities to compensate better social workers, volunteers, teachers and academicians as we have never before. Professions on social and intellectual fields will flourish and be potentially better compensated than today. Concomitantly, the amount of time dedicated to leisure will keep growing, and that means the market to consume any art form as music, gaming, and design will also grow exponentially. Professions that are not well remunerated today and sometimes seen as hard to make a living will flip the table and be more lucrative. With less economic concern about professions, passion will be the primary driver of success in the future. The amount of energy dedicated to learning and grow in a profession will define how successful one can be, and passion is the key ingredient of dedication. That is not different from today of course. The difference is that we can apply that concept to any field with less fear of watching our kids not being able to afford a comfortable life for themselves. The bigger one's passion is, the greater success potential will be.
Be technology savvy
Rest no doubt that technology will be part of every profession in the future. Computer, Cloud, AI, Automation tools, VR, robots will be all integrated into the typical working day. Digital literacy and technology familiarity are also indispensable in this view. Give your kids access to computers within the safe limits, and let them create and play with it, might add digital resourcefulness to their list of skills. And natural digital ingenuity will be key to gain agility and speed when developing new work. That makes me think about what technology averse parents are causing to their kids in the future. I see more potential harm than benefits. Limiting time might be good, obliterating will not.
You know the Skype calls your kids love to entertain? That is already a significant first step to their future work. Two trends are shattering the typical workplace as we know it. Cross-field collaboration and collective thinking. The complexity of new projects is raising, and more cooperation and teamwork have been required to get work done. New networks of professionals are formed to solve problems, from a simple product launch to finding solutions to global warming. And new tools like Slack are born to help teams be organized and communicate. More and more those teams are virtual and pluricultural, and virtual meetings, chats, and other collaborative tools are being used to get work done. And all that put new challenges to leaders and team members on how to be effective. Master communication skills (especially listening), embrace diversity and heartfelt collaboration.
Think as an entrepreneur
If from one side the tech trends are set to eliminate many jobs we know today, on the other hand, new jobs types will surge around those technologies and as consequence of their implementation. Another social trend contributing to the transformation started with millennials not willing to be as committed to their work contract as their predecessors, the X-gen. With better education, more capital available to venture and broader possibilities to create, millennials started to look at the old career in a company as prison cells -long hours, toxic environment and slow pace of professional growth. The value equation began to look better as entrepreneurs than full-time employees. Many businesses started to learn how to create more flexible working environments, adding mobility and flexibility to attract new talent. Combining all trends together it is logical to think that hybrid teams will grow as a solution to accommodate limited talent from one side and some new entrepreneurs on the other one. Hybrid teams will be assembled with cross-field talent, internal and external resources, deep experts and professional networks to combine skills and competencies needed to a project or task. That will create new opportunities to entrepreneurs with high expertise in their fields, to engage in different projects without being tied by a working contract. With that in mind, we need to help our kids to develop the skills needs to feel comfortable with thinking creatively, project management risk taking.
Education starts at home. An apple does not fall far from the tree. Being role models to ethical behavior is of utmost importance. Making ethical and moral topics nonnegotiable every time will build on their character. If the world ethics seems to be collapsing, I am sure there has been a lack of role models. We need to leverage every opportunity as parents to teach them how to be responsible, act correctly, aim the greater good and not to be selfish. We need to love and take care of them, so they learn how to love and care for others. Do not delegate that. Failing at this task will mean failing to raise decent human beings.
Help yourself! All those skills will become the mainstream in less than a decade. As you prepare your kids for this future, you have an opportunity to re-think your trajectory and prepare yourself for this transformation.
We are investing in solutions that will help people to engage and be productive in the future. Please share your point of view, experiences or bring examples and ideas to this field by joining collectivebrains.org.