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With full credit to William Gibson...
Our perspective at the Work Design Collaborative and Future of Work (my home base) is that the future isn't a given, that we (all of us together) are creating it every day with the choices that we make, both individually and collectively. So a big part of our focus is on identifying and reporting on those leading-edge examples to help everyone else make more informed choices.
Now, by way of introduction, Charlie Grantham and I (that's the "we" and "our" that I keep referring to) came together about four years ago to build a small think tank (so small that Charlie calls it a thought pool) designed to help organizations achieve the holy grail of integrating and coordinating three critical functions (and assets) that typically don't get along with each other very well (if at all). You can check out our bios on the Future of Work website, at www.thefutureofwork.net/principals.html.
Those functions are, not surprisingly, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Corporate Real Estate/Facilities Management. We believed then, and are convinced now, that effective strategic integration of those three areas can reduce the cost of operations and workforce support by 30% or more while creating work environments that attract and retain the best and brightest talent.
That may sound like Nirvana, and hype, but its true. Today we know organizations that have achieved cost savings in excess of 40%.
But the future of work is about a whole lot more than cost cutting. The real, and long-lasting, benefits of embracing new work patterns, adopting alternative workplace strategies, and leveraging new workforce values and expectations have a lot more to do with attracting, retaining, and leveraging creative talent.
We know that's going to be THE theme of the decade as the global economy becomes more and more focused on creativity, innovation, and knowledge work - and as knowledge workers become more and more "in charge" of their own careers.
There's a big workforce shortage staring us in the face as the Boomers retire and shift to part-time independent careers, as our educational system continues to ignore the needs of the Information Age, and as the economy heats up. Oh, and by the way, those talented knowledge workers have a whole new set of expectations and values that don't include being loyal corporate citizens any more.
I'll be writing a lot more about those issues, challenges, and opportunities over the coming weeks and months. And Charlie will chime in occasionally as well. We're convinced there is a revolution underway, and we want to help our clients and readers not only prepare for it, but lead it.
So stay tuned for a series of thought pieces and provocative points of view on what the future of work might look like - and what I at least hope it will look like (which is not always the same thing).