Imagine having the power of knowing what will happen tomorrow.
It’s been rendered in countless fictional movies and series, all trying to satisfy our imagination of what it would be like, to actually know the future.
Alas, this is still no more than pure fiction.
But what if I told you, that it’s more than possible to have the next best thing?
The year 2020 will go down in history of the one of the most defining turning moments of the 21st century.
Prior to this ill-fated year, you would have found it normal to talk about the speed of technology and the transition of it in our daily lives. None of it would be more impressive or interesting than the same conversation about technology in 2019, or 2018, or most years for that matter.
However, 2020 is a whole other story.
It’s pushed so far ahead, it feels like we’ve jumped a decade already (could be the aftermath of staying at home all this time).
The world is always changing, there is nothing new about that. It’s been the way the world works ever since history began being recorded. The only measure of difference is how fast it changes.
COVID-19 was not necessarily new to our history books. As an entity, this is not the first-time humanity has faced a deadly virus. Nonetheless, this virus has caused a seismic jump in the way we do many things in our daily lives.
The Future of Work
According to the latest figures form McKinsey and Deloitte, 20-25% of workers in advanced economies could work remotely for more than 3 days a week on a long-term basis.
Executives are also expected to increase their investments more than two-fold, in automation and AI controlled industries.
This is only natural since e-commerce has grown anywhere between 2 to 5 times its size throughout various platforms since the pandemic.
When talking about the future of work, we have three main areas to look out for:
Each area depends on one main question or variable.
For the work itself, the variable is the automation level, what work can automate using robotics and AI?
For the workforce, the variable is who can do the work, with a plethora of new mediums and platforms, how do you manage the work between full timers, and freelancers?
Last but not least, for the workplace, the variable is the physical distance, where is the work done. So many new ideas have been brought forth on how to change our ideas about the workplace and what it needs.
Basically, there are a lot of new ideas and changes happening to the main building blocks of work. So, who’s ready for them?
According to a study by PwC, of organizations in the Middle East who were involved say they are lacking in 60% of the categories upon which their readiness for the new future is measured.
So, what do we know so far?
We know the world has changed faster than we thought, and that we’re exactly in control or handling this well yet.
So back to our original point, wouldn’t it be great to be able to know the future?
“Futures Thinking is a method for informed reflection on the major changes that will occur in the next 10, 20 or more years in all areas of social life, including education. Futures Thinking uses a multidisciplinary approach to pierce the veil of received opinion and identify the dynamics that are creating the future.”
This, is the next best thing.
We can’t know the future, and we can’t even predict it. Yes, you might have assumed we were gonna try and teach you to predict it, but no. It’s not possible.
To account for every large socio-technical and economical transformation on a global scale that will occur within the next decade is not even remotely possible. We’ve gotten better over the years at making small relatively clear predictions with things like market shares and product introductions. But generally, we’re no good at predictions, so we’re not even going to talk about them.
What we’re talking about, is being ready for whatever scenario that we face.
The ability to read reality, is one of the most fundamental skills needed for a leader.
By being ability to accurately read what’s in front of you, you’re able to take the right decisions for you and your organization. The same applies in futures thinking.
We’re not gonna predict the future, but we will learn to better read it so that we can be well prepared for whatever scenario that ends up occurring, instead of being blindsided.
One of the aspects that the pandemic forced us to accept or learn faster, is to differentiate between effort, and productivity when measuring the work rate of employees.
“There is a disconnect between intent and action in the region, and potentially a more traditional view of performance linked to effort rather than productivity. Today’s work needs people who are creative and engaged – not stressed or overworked.”
That’s what PwC concluded from their study.
Too many workers in every profession suffer from overworking. It’s not a cry for help because of their lack of commitment, it’s a genuine issue that executives were not dealing with seriously, until the pandemic struck.
On a study from Deloitte, executives ranked their improving employees’ well-being as the 8th most important priority, out of 9 to choose from. This, is in huge contrast to the workers themselves choosing their well-being as the 3rd most important priority.
According to the WHO, depression and anxiety cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion in the past year. That’s not something you shouldn’t take seriously.
The Future of Learning
You might have started to wonder when we’re gonna get to the learning part of the article to match the title, we’ve arrived.
The hashtag LearnOnTikTok has garnered 72, wait for it, billion views.
People are desperate for new methods of learning that fit their new lifestyles and needs.
Even TikTok is now a platform where learning is taken seriously.
There are so many other more targeted platforms that have used technology to advance the way we understand and process learning about things.
The possibilities are endless thanks to the incredible technological advancements in this century, they always were, but we weren’t prioritizing this as a human race, we sure are now.
In summary, here’s what you need to take away from this.
Technology is offering us ways to better the lives of our workers significantly, whether it’s their mental well-being, or their ability to learn new things.
So, to move forward at your organization, ask yourself these 3 questions;
1) Am I looking at the future? Am I thinking with my team about the possible scenarios and preparing myself for them?
2) Am I looking out for the workers, their health and mental-wellbeing, not merely as figures on a chart, but as a whole human being who suffer from terrible illnesses both physical and psychological from depression and anxiety? What am I doing to help them?
3) Have I changed the way I think about learning? Am I opening up my mind to new methods for myself and those around me?
As always, take care.