Monday, February 13, 2017

Future of work - not all bad news - some optimism and guidelines

Many of the items we read in the news about the future of work, tend to focus on the ways in which technology will impact on humans in a negative manner. In all endeavours, there are good and bad sides to the story.

For example, this article from Forbes, argues that the future is not that scary. The article does a good job of summarising the salient impacts and approaches the future of work by distilling the personal, organisational and societal impacts. Of importance is the need for individuals to shift from a pathway of education, work and retirement into a cycle of where education, work and leisure are continually 're-invented'. The 're-design' of organisations also includes a need to continually 're-skill' with the 'middle management' layer the ones to most likely be wiped out as jobs which are more 'mundane' disappear and AI replaces 'company wisdom'. Jobs may disappear, but many other jobs well be changed and created as well. There is a call at the end of the article for education and public policy to keep up. These two megaliths have always been slow to change. For education, the recommendation is to ensure vital 'basic skills' including thinking, writing, analysing and maths and science are pre-requisites to completion of formalised schooling. The is then space for 'new education companies' liked Pluralsight, General Assembly, EdX and Coursera - offering small / just-in-time training / educational packages.

On a related note, an article on 'crafting the employee experience' from Deloitte University Press, advocates for the use of 'design thinking' to help employees and employers (i.e. HR). HR becomes 'experience architects' and are tasked with reimagining all aspects of work in their organisations. Aspects include the physical environment; how people meet and interact; the focus of management; and the processes of selecting, training and evaluating workers. Therefore, a focus on individuals and their experience, not just the process of HR.

For many years, education have had 'personal learning environments (PLEs)' as an approach. There are considerable logistical and funding challenges to implementation. The current models based on 'one size fits all' and  'factory production' of outputs (i.e. learners) are being dismantled but only in small pockets of education. So a challenging but exciting time to be in education.

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