… and powered by The Fourth Industrial Revolution. I’m sure you’ve noticed, getting our jobs done is a lot different now. Technology has allowed wonderful changes to how we work, where we work and when we work. This has been evolving for the last 20+ years. In the late 1990s, I “worked from home” and I had remote workers on my teams. However now there’s been a paradigm shift. What used to be the exception is now the norm. Some companies are 100% remote (i.e., all workers are in home offices). Some companies have all Gig Economy workers (i.e., short-term, freelance, on-demand) vs permanent employees — and now there’s always a mix. The companies may benefit from on-demand workers, but do employees? Is work/life flexibility a welcome tradeoff to the security of a permanent job? Is working at a home office alone optimal to our human need for community? Are companies better off with people home alone or gathering in regions while collaborating in person? Are “hallway discussions” valued? And what about compensation? Does the Gig Economy cover corporate benefits now offered by companies? Once again, is the flexibility worth the tradeoff?
What about staying ahead of the technology? How do you get educated on the latest stuff while working — even if you’re building the latest stuff? What if you’re re-entering the workforce after having kids and getting them into school? What if you’re transitioning from the Military? What if you’re just graduating university and need to have real skills to get a job? We now have EdTech — but has it hit the mainstream? Will companies seek and accept the diversity of re-skilled employees?
How about our companies? How do they manage in this Gig/Permanent Remote/OnSite/Global Fourth Industrial Revolution economy? How do they ensure team loyalty in a time that may not longer lead with loyalty? How do they ensure their teams are educated and diverse — and every one of their brilliant minds are included in the vital decisions that expand the company? How do companies ensure gender/region pay equity? How do companies train their managers to handle all of this — and be their leaders?
All questions of our times. This is the first in a series of articles explaining what’s going on. And then some viable solutions.
The World Economic Forum has done some good work here.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond
“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.
The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.”