E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

The Future of Work Is Learning

Gran Canaria - Pinos de Galdar in the WinterAs a result of John Tropea’s wonderful blog post from yesterday, which I have blogged about over here, there has been also quite an interesting and rather refreshing conversation developing on the side over at Google Plus around the topics of business processes, BRP (Barely Repeatable Processes), the role of traditional hierarchies and structures in today’s work environment while mixing and mingling with a networked organisation and where learning fits in there altogether. Some fascinating stuff in there, for sure! And one of the various reasons why I keep digging quite a bit G+ over other social networking sites. The depth of the conversations has been like no other so far! And it’s thanks to those conversations themselves how one keeps bumping into golden nuggets like the one shared yesterday by Dennis Callahan on that very same thread around “The Future of Work“.

Yes, indeed, you may have noticed how the last few blog posts have continued to raise my interest around the topic of The Future of Work and how social networking and social computing tools are helping redefine how we view and interact at work within a corporate environment to make it much more open, transparent, trustworthy, networked, meaningful. Well, it looks like that interest keeps growing further, specially, after going through that fantastic article put together by Dennis where he has shared 19 different very enlightening and educational resources on The Future of Work, ranging from links to other insightful blog entries, to short video clips, presentations, etc. etc. Quite a goldmine on its own right there, for sure!

However, from all of those resources mentioned by him, and which I would strongly recommend you all go through them, since they will be worth while your time, specially, if you are interested in this topic as well, there is one in particular that I thought I would expand further on it for a bit. More than anything else, because of how much it resonated with how I view work myself, but, perhaps much more importantly, because of how well it describes the current work I have been doing myself, and a whole bunch of other people!, for the last few years. And still going strong…

Time and time again I keep getting asked what my work day as a KMer, Community Builder and Social Computing Evangelist looks like, specially, while working at a large IT corporation that has been there, alive and kicking, for the last 100 years and counting… At times, it presents a bit of a challenge in itself, since I guess it’s pretty tough to try to describe what you are passionate about in an eloquent manner; too many things to cover in such a short time!; basically, that stuff you know you could talk for ages and ages yourself and never get tired of it. Yes, I guess that passion for what you do will describe it quite nicely at this stage. Well, T.A. McCann, founder of Gist.com, just did that beautifully for me over a couple of minutes in a short interview under the suggestive title of “The Future of Work Is Now“, which he himself blogged about over here.

It’s a priceless gem, for certain! I can tell you that! If we have been talking for a little bit now about The Future of the Workplace, about what meaningful, networked, freelanced, intrapreneurial (corporate) work is all about, T.A. McCann pretty much nails it on that short interview. I just couldn’t put it in much better words than what he did. If not, judge for yourselves:

Mind-blowing, isn’t it? Who would have thought that in that future of work concepts like multiple jobs across a working lifetime, having fun @ work, work life balance no longer there, retirement would no longer exist, do your best effort at all times, connecting and reaching out to others who share a common passion on a particular topic / goal with you, learning as a key driver of working together effectively, etc. etc. would be helping redefine how we view AND live our workplace(s). And all of that thanks to the emergence of social networking tools within the enterprise and beyond! Not too bad, right?

I am not sure what you folks would think, probably ย that I am a dreamer or someone trying to live to the fullest an unrealistic, utopian business world that will never see the light, specially in today’s working environment. Perhaps too optimistic, too outrageously excited and eager for what’s to come. Well, may be. May be not. Who knows. The reality is that’s the current work environment I have been living, experiencing AND enjoying for the last couple of years, and I know for certain I am not the only one going through this, so I doubt it would be a dream any longer. More of an ever-growing reality, rather. It’s probably just a matter for us, knowledge workers, to define how we would want to make it work for ourselves; basically, have knowledge workers create and define their ideal job role(s) and get down to business.

After all, remember, “Individuals will have more freedom and power than ever before.

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  1. Thanks for the kind words and the link. This was my favorite too. It gives you a calming and inspiring view of the future of work in 2 minutes. You need a dream in order to visualize where you want to go. It sounds like youโ€™re already well on your way.

    1. Hi Dennis! Thanks a lot for dropping and for the kind feedback! I am surely glad I bumped into your blog post and later on in Google Plus! Looks like I have been missing lots of great materials and really good thought leadership on realising such dream, so glad I bumped into it via via and eventually could add it into this blog entry!

      Sometimes that’s typically what it takes… An opportunity to connect and make things happen! Appreciated again putting together such wonderful posts and look forward to plenty more interactions! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Sounds like the future of work is life. Unfortunately, I and many others have gotten into a role that we do well, but don’t necessarily enjoy. So, retirement looks pretty good. Maybe retirement is when we take the time to find what we love and continue earning for the fun of it. But right now, I think it is a rare person that has a job they love and would keep on doing regardless of financial circumstance.

    1. Hi Paul! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback comments! You bring up a very good point, indeed, and I couldn’t have agreed more with you about your statement on “The future of work is life!”. Absolutely! That’s why perhaps a bunch of fellow colleagues I know, who have now retired from IBM, have been claiming moving on to greener pastures with that same mantra, i.e. having tons of “new” time and plenty of meaningful activities and work to get involved outside of what they have been doing for a long while. I guess getting used to routines and a certain level of comfort would help you get used to such circumstances. I will let you know when I reach that stage ๐Ÿ˜‰

      What I do think is that even then there should always been an inner urge to want to improve things, both for you and around you, there needs to be a motivation of a certain degree there, right? Otherwise, I refuse to think that two thirds of our lives are just lived that way… Not my kind of thing, I am afraid, and from what I know you, I don’t see you fitting within that profile either! ๐Ÿ˜€ hehe

  3. Exceptional, Luis.

    I agree completely. Forget work/life balance. The future demands work-life-parallel. McCann is spot-on. Doing something you love for a living, why would anyone ever want to retire? At most, the labor component simply scales back as we find ourselves – hopefully – more selective in our daily efforts.

    Thank you for sharing this, Luis. Made my day.

    1. Hi Brian! Thanks much for dropping by as well and for the kind comments! Absolutely! That’s why a few years back I switched myself from Work Life Balance to Work Life Integration… Work hard, or the hardest when you (really) need to, but also understand how to unwind, relax and charge the batteries when it’s a good time. It’s all about going back to what I have blogged about in the past on measuring performance by results delivered (Regardless of the hours it took you to complete that work), and not by the sheer presence, where you may not even be working after all!

      That’s the kind of work life integration I am talking about and with it traditional concepts like retirement take a different spin altogether! Should be blogging more about it shortly, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I love the idea and agree that we will see a big shift in this direction soon. But when specialists are quickly shifting from company to company will we start shifting back to a big business mentality? Someone has to be around to employ all of these ‘Shifting Specialists.’ Rather than people moving from company to company, I believe the change will be an increased freedom to move from job to job within ONE company. The strongest companies are realizing that their largest asset is the knowledge created by employees. Those companies will find ways to maximize knowledge sharing and growth while allowing employees to freely shift into positions that allow for the greatest value to be created.

  5. Pingback: The Future of Work

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