We talk about Continuing Professional Development and building the skills and experience we need to succeed in the workplace. We talk less, if at all, about the need to maintain our selves and our emotional health as practitioners. What does this mean? More specifically, what does it mean for a future of work that is human?
We made a big deal before the event about this being a ‘World First’. After the experience, we are more certain than ever that we are getting the first misty glimpses of a New World. Collaboration across continents has never felt so comfortable, so accessible and so human.
Last week it was the football manager Sam Allardyce. Before that it was Keith Vaz. The list of people who have made mistakes of judgement or else simply acted in a human way, and have paid for it with their jobs, is long. We all know it will get longer.
When we talk about trust, we think about people making big decisions in organisations. We might think about financial transparency or corporate decisions around pay, sustainability or stewardship. In truth though, most of the decision making that happens across a culture is on a much smaller and more obviously human scale.
There is a theory that every passing generation sees history repeating and that there is nothing new under the Sun. Those of us who were at the forefront of surfing the web in the early 1990s now stand before new frontiers. This time though, we are ready and we are determined to build Worlds that are better.
In my recent article on cyborgs I wrote about the fact that, far from constraining our humanity, tech will release and expand it. This generated a lot of interest and people have been asking me for more practical examples. One of the more tangible examples – that is wide open for exploration right now – is virtual reality.
If we are to build a future of work that is human, our approach to organisational structure and job design needs to change. How many times have we heard the mantra that we must design structures and roles across abstract need, not individuals? Why would we ever do that? Why would we ever decide the shape of a box and then try and squeeze the many sided human being into it?
Is the future of work going to be determined by the rise of the machines? Is the development of artificial intelligence going to leave us humans as redundant fleshy blobs? Or is it the case that, far from reducing the importance of humanity, the tech revolution will release it in a way that has never been possible before?
A copy of my article on encountering the ‘other’ at work that was published last week over at www.futureworkishuman.org
In the same week that the University & College Union (UCU) have gone out on a two day national strike, Jeremy Corbyn has restated his support for a move to collective pay bargaining in the Civil Service. But how do we balance the value of ‘strength in numbers’ against the responsibility of unions to secure the best deal for their members and for employers to offer more sophisticated proposals in the new public sector?