By Martin Conboy
Dr. Thomas Frey, a futurist and Executive Director at the DaVinci Institute and Google’s top rated futurist speaker, has a theory around the secret language of the future. His theory is about how the future gets created. He claims that we could influence the future by using social media and other unusual techniques for both understanding and gaining control of our own futures.
Frey puts forward a proposition that in the future, workgroups would come together in much the same way that Hollywood comes together to make a movie and then break up after the project is over. “The future gets created in the minds of everyone around us. Virtually everyone has a hand in it, but not all contributions are equal. As you might imagine, a small group of people armed with powerful ideas can make a disproportionately large impact.”
“But creating the future needs to involve much more than just ideas. The ideas create a starting point but need to be put into a visual context, massaged, enhanced, and somehow made to spring to life.” Frey speaks about ‘Business Colonies’. Business colonies are an evolving, new kind of organisational structure designed around matching talent with pending work projects. The colonies will revolve around some combination of resident people based in a physical facility and a non-resident virtual workforce. Some will forego the cost of the physical facility completely, opting instead to form around an entirely virtual communications structure.
In an increasingly mobile world-where work is outsourced and international partnerships form quickly and easily-workers need to be able to collaborate with colleagues, share information, and access programs just as easily from a distant continent as from the cubicle next door.
Most will be organised around a topical area best suited for the talent base of the core team. As an example, a team of photonics engineers will attract projects best suited for that kind of talent. Likewise, a working group of programmers specialising in computer gaming applications will serve as a magnet for new gaming projects. Its not a leap of faith to think of specialist BPO skills like animation, web development, F&A organized around skills located in a distinct geographical location that will attract projects and on going work.
In some instances, large corporations will launch their own business colonies as a way to expand capability without adding to their headcount. Staffed with a few project managers, the company will use the colony as a proving ground for experimental assignments best performed outside of the cultural bounds of existing workflow.
The future of work will be different, in fact it already is, People are leveraging technology to work in new ways and want the flexibility to work when they want, where they want and with whom they want. There will always be more talent and more ideas outside your organization and this new work ‘hubs’ are springing up in cities all over the world. Individuals can participate in a globally connected local community via online platforms like Yamma. They can collaborate and network and contribute ideas with others who have similar interests, passions or hobbies. In the future work will go to where the skills are and notion of humans going to CBD hubs will seem old fashioned and quaint.