IFTF + You
Future of Work
The Future of Organizations, Skills, and Innovation
About the Program
A decade ago workers worried about jobs being outsourced overseas. Today, companies such as oDesk and LiveOps can assemble teams “in the cloud” to do research, provide sales and customer support, and perform many other tasks. New digital platforms are beginning to act as real-time global online staffing agencies. Using Taskrabbit for example, you can hire people in your neighborhood to do a variety of jobs, from collecting groceries to assembling IKEA furniture. MobileWorks is developing code to match tasks with the best people to complete them. And IBM’s Watson supercomputing system can beat participants in Jeopardy and diagnose Lyme disease in patients.
Coordinating tasks? Determining best workflow processes? Matching people to tasks? These traditional management functions are increasingly tasked to technologies making management itself ripe for rationalization, automation, and serious disruption. Combine algorithmic management with data abundance, smart machines, new media channels, and lightweight manufacturing processes, and you quickly see the need to rethink how we organize work, indeed, how we define work and the skills needed to be productive in the new environment.
IFTF is recognized as a thought leader on the future of work. Recently we were named by Fast Company magazine as one of the five most innovative nonprofits developing responses to the changing world of work. We have tracked the intersection of technologies and work for several decades, starting with the first studies of the uses of Arpanet (the predecessor of the Internet), and more recently, looking at impacts of collaboration technologies, new organizational forms and changing workforce skills. We will build on our ongoing research to create a comprehensive and actionable set of tools to help organizations succeed in the rapidly changing world of work.
2013 Research Agenda
Our research and forecasting networks can help your organization to:
- Anticipate changes facing your organization and employees
- Expand your network by interacting with global thought leaders, innovators, and IFTF researchers
- Think broadly by stepping back from your everyday challenges to gain an “outside-in” perspective on long-term forces and trends shaping the future
- Gain agile positioning by questioning your assumptions about likely futures and systematically considering alternatives
- Reduce uncertainty and navigate risks by focusing on what’s most important in the new work landscape
- Jump-start your strategic thinking by immersing you in a wide range of future possibilities and identifying action steps
- The Future of Work graphic map charting the key external future forces reshaping work. This stand-alone visual tool, intuitive and easy-to-use, will serve as a compass to help identify new work processes and innovations over the next five to ten years.
- Strategic toolkit with a process guide and templates that can be used internally to inform organizational decision-making. These tools will help participants communicate the most relevant foresights to a wider audience and can be used for visioning and strategic planning purposes.
- Future of Work summit with innovators, external experts, and IFTF researchers to share research findings, reveal innovative approaches and projects, and engage in a Foresight to Insight to Action (FIA) exercise to convert future visions into actionable strategies. The summit is tentatively planned for October 10, 2013.