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24 “Future of Work” Voices You Should Know About In 2014

24 “Future of Work” Voices You Should Know About In 2014

Our colleague and co-founder of TomorrowToday, Dr Graeme Codrington, has just recently been included on two lists of business experts worth following. Switch & Shift named him amongst their “Top 75 List of Human Business Champions“. Global Workforce Transformation included him in “24 Future of Work Experts” that you should know about in 2014. Both are impressive lists and we’re extremely proud to see Graeme’s work included.

GWT said this: We all know that workplace and the constituents that make it, are changing. To understand and be ready for this change organizations need thought leaders, thinkers, writers and doers, to help them understand and navigate through it.

To get you started, we have created a list of important voices who understand “future of work” and have been sharing their thoughts about it for a while now. These experts are the ones you should listen to if you really want to understand how “future of work” is going to look like.

You can read the full article here or continue reading below

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Apple just entered your market (Healthcare, I’m talking to you)

Apple just entered your market (Healthcare, I’m talking to you)

For the last few years, our team has enjoyed asking our clients a hypothetical question: “What would the impact be if Apple/Google/Facebook announced today that it was entering your market?”. To be honest, I think it should be a thought that strikes fear into all existing players in any industry. And it could be ANY industry.

A few industries have started to feel the reality of this hypothetical question. The car industry has Google’s driverless cars. The telecomms industry has Facebook’s internet connectivity drones (and Google’s blimps). The investment industry has Google’s free stock analysis. The robotics industry has literally been bought up by Google in the past twelve months. Elon Musk of Tesla is getting into transportation, space travel and free wifi for Africa.

And now Apple is making a move into healthcare.

This makes a lot of sense to us. In the world of the Internet of Things, the smart home is probably the first place we’ll see innovation and practical applications (the Nest thermostat system is just the start). But next on the list of clever things to do with a world filled with sensors, big data analysis and real-time information that will actually make a difference in our personal lives is healthcare.

the more we measure what goes into our bodies, what comes out of them, what we do to our bodies and how they respond, the better we will be able to improve our bodies’ functionality. This will improve our health and directly improve our standard of living. It’s a no-brainer. And Apple are spending significant money to start the process of owning this space.

It will start with some simple apps that get us into the habit of monitoring and managing our health. It will soon extend to monitors that are inside our bodies (there are already external wearables like fitbits, and GPS enabled apps like Nike’s Running and others). And that will all connect to a personal healthcare cloud that will provide real-time updates on what’s happening in our bodies. You can read more about what Apple is planning here. And here is another excellent analysis of the hardware they’ll probably be using to make this happen.

I think we’ll also see smart toilets quite soon. Amongst the most important health information we own is what comes out of our bodies. We literally flush this valuable information away a few times a day. Imagine a toilet that could analyse that waste before flushing it, and provide instant, valuable feedback. You’d know you need more liquids, or less protein at your next meal, or that you’re missing vital vitamins at the moment. It’s going to happen. And maybe it will just be an iToilet that does it.

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47% of knowledge jobs are in “High Danger” of being automated by AI and ML algorithms

47% of knowledge jobs are in “High Danger” of being automated by AI and ML algorithms

Within the next decade or two 47 percent of job categories for knowledge workers, that includes: accountancy, legal work, technical writing and a lot of other white-collar professions – could be automated says the findings of a report by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of the University of Oxford. This study titled: THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO COMPUTERISATION? looks into the prospects of over 702 detailed occupations and they provide strong evidence that “wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relation- ship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation” meaning that even if your job is not replaced by computers your salary is going to remain stunted over this period too.

In this paper, Frey and Osborne address the question: how susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Doing so, they build on the existing literature in two ways. First, drawing upon recent advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Mobile Robotics (MR), and, Second, they estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, and examine expected impacts of future computerisation on US labour market outcomes.

We’ve long been tracking this trend in our TIDES of Change model and our suggestion to workers in jobs that are under threat (which includes doctors, lawyers engineers etc.) is this – Focus on the human connection. This is the one thing computers can not do, yet. They can not empathise , they can not show human compassion nor can they build relationship. If you want to remain at the top of your game, focus on the things that are most important to your customers, the relationship and human engagement. My colleague  Graeme Codrington makes an excellent case for this when he recently spoke to a group of professional services people. Here are his key points:

  • You have got to do things computers can not do
  • You can not continue to do things computers do, but with a smile. You will be replaced unless you are doing things computers can’t do
  • We live in a high-tech world, but computers are not so good in a high touch world
  • The things computers can not do is relationships
  • You need efficiency, but that is a given.
  • You have to have the right products and services, that’s a given for competitiveness
  • But if you want to win, the relationships are at the heart of future competitive advantage


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What the UK storms can teach leaders about gaining advantage from disruptive forces

What the UK storms can teach leaders about gaining advantage from disruptive forces

We are living in unprecedented times. The storms lashing the UK coast are the worst in living memory and the costs to the economy are in the region of £14b and growing as the weatherman reports two additional storms approaching. The calamitous disruption to business, homes and lives is  painful to see. Out of the chaos however, there are several lessons business leaders can benefit from. The tides of change are lashing the shorelines of businesses around the world (excuse the pun). Disruptive forces can now cripple a business overnight and have devastating and lasting effect. The storms hitting the UK this year whilst not predictable in magnitude, were identifiable as a growing trend. A warming planet has resulted in a wetter, warmer climate in the UK for the past decade. I wonder how many businesses that have been disrupted by the flooding of rail and road networks had plans in place before hand of how to not only deal with these disruptions, but to gain advantage over their competitors. We don’t have the figures to this question, but we can’t imagine many.  

But the signs have been there for the past few years. If you were a business observing and reading the weak signals you would’ve known to plan for a disruption of this nature. We work with business leaders around the world helping them to identify, understand and build competitive advantage out of disruptive forces. Using our TIDES of Change model we get companies and leaders to think about the questions they should be asking on disruptive forces  but are not. T-I-D-E-S stands for Technology, Institutional change, Demographics, Environment & Ethics and Shifting social values. There are other disruptive forces but our research from our Strategic Insights and Futures Lab shows that they are the five biggest forces of disruption.

Environment and Ethics are the most powerful of the five disruptive forces we track and their impact has the potential to disrupt businesses immediately. Yet we often find environment and ethics is the area of least focus by leaders. Take the storm, caused by changes in the global environment. The potency is massive and damage is immediate are you prepared and how can you turn the disruption into an advantage? During the devastating Cumbrian floods of 2009 the bridge in Workington over the river Derwent was swept away. The community in the Seaton and Northside areas of Workington faced a detour of up to 40 miles to just buy basic commodities. Tesco,  a leading food retailer, sprung into action. They had an emergency solution at hand. Advanced planning with Yorkon, a manufacturing company, allowed Tesco to spring into action and within  a week of the bridge being washed away a tempory store had been erectet to help ease some of the problems facing the flood-hit community. You can watch a video of this story on Youtube.

Because of advanced planning and quick action Tesco was able to turn the disruption into an advantage and build massive goodwill with the community. Out of every disruption there are opportunities to do good for society, build goodwill and competitive advantage. Are you having the right conversations about disruptive forces in your business?

Are you asking the right questions and developing the strategies to counter and leverage disruption? If you are not take the opportunity to talk to us we’d love to show you what we know and share our insights.

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3D printing rapidly approaching tipping point

February 7, 2014 Dean van Leeuwen Disruptive Forces, Future Trends, Innovation, Strategy, Technology 1 Comment
3D printing rapidly approaching tipping point
We’ve been watching and tracking the implications of 3D printers and a disruptive force and innovation for over five years now. We’ve observed many exciting developments from the work of Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California, who created a 3D printer that prints houses in 20 hours, using a process called contour crafting; to the use of 3D printers to print human tissues, spinal columns, jawbones . NASA has taken a 3D printer into space  and; Nestle (one of TomorrowToday’s clients) is experimenting with the printing of chocolate and pizzas. It seems that the innovations and uses for 3D printers are limited only by our imagination.
The rapid development and adoption of 3D printers, (Amazon now has a dedicated portal for 3d printing fanatics, London has iMakr - the world’s largest 3D printing store, and colleague and TomorrowToday co-founder Graeme Codrington bought a 3D printer for his family – making him the coolest dad for his 3 Gen Y daughters!); is leading to an explosion in the types of printers, materials used (from Titanium to human cartilage) and the costs are rapidly reducing. McKinsey, a leading management consultancy, believe that 3D printing or additive manufacturing has now reached the tipping point and senior leaders need to be observing 5 disruptions that will accompany this trend. You can read their article on 3D printing takes shape below or at their website.  Two thing are for sure, 3D printing is set to reshape the world of manufacturing (if not the world at large) and we are a tad proud to say TomorrowToday’s futurists got it right again.

The Year of the Employee: Forbes’ predictions for 2014 talent, leadership and HR tech

The Year of the Employee: Forbes’ predictions for 2014 talent, leadership and HR tech

Ian Turner, one of Duke CE’s top MD’s and leadership development programme experts gets credit for finding this interesting article and sending it on to me. There are some fascinating thoughts in Deloittes’ predictions for 2014, published in Forbes, as they suggest that this will be an important year for talent, leadership and HR.

Read the full article here.

As they point out, based on a Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends survey they’re just completing, “the top two people issues facing organizations in 2014 are leadership and retention. These are the problems we face in a dynamic, growing global economy…. This year, for the first time in more than five years, employees are in charge. Companies have reduced costs, restructured, rationalized spending, and pushed people to work harder than ever. More than 60% of organizations tell us one of their top is dealing with “the overwhelmed employee. This year the power will shift: high-performing employees will start to exert control.”

Their top ten predictions are:

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Booz & Co’s Strategy+Business Best Business Blogs of 2013

Booz & Co’s Strategy+Business Best Business Blogs of 2013

The editor of Booz & Co’s Strategic+Business magazine and blog site selected his favourite business blogs of 2013. I like this list a lot – there’s some really valuable articles here. It’s an eclectic list, but well worth taking some time to read through and share with your team:

Susan Cramm: Retaining Top Talent: Yes, It Really Is All about Them
If you want to retain your high-potential employees, you have to get involved in helping them plan their careers.

Ken Favaro: Is Strategy Fixed or Variable?
Successful strategists understand that their role is to manage a process fraught with contradictions.

Sally Helgesen: The Three Habits of Highly Effective Demotivators
Surefire tips for stamping out morale and making sure you get the least out of your employees.

Nick Hodson and Thom Blischok: What if Clay Christensen Is Right about the Grocery Business (and Amazon Is Wrong)?
The disruptive influences of e-commerce may finally be setting their sights on the grocery industry.

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Changing cycling forever

December 12, 2013 Graeme Codrington Case Studies and Stories, Future Trends, Innovation No Comments
Changing cycling forever

I don’t enjoy cycling, but my UK colleagues do. Dean van Leeuwen, James Dunne and Wendy Mauchline all regularly hit the roads and cycle tracks of the world in a serious way. So, when I saw this neat little video about a new invention, the Copenhagen wheel, I immediately thought of them and whether this could indeed change the world. I think it can.

It’s a snap on component for the back wheel that stores energy when you’re cycling normally, and then allows you to use this energy to help propel the bike when you need it (like when you’re going uphill). It will make cycling easier. This is not necessarily what fitness fanatics or pro cyclists need, but it could make cycling accessible to a lot more of us.

What I love about this invention is that it is simple and elegant, makes a real difference and cuts to the heart of a big issue: energy usage. We have plenty of energy in the world, but we don’t use it nearly well enough and waste a lot of it. This innovation does exactly the right thing with energy. What excites me most is the mindset behind this: how to utilise a resource we’re currently wasting, and making our lives easier and better at the same time.

I hope it succeeds.

Here’s the video:

And here’s a link to the website where I found this information.

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Today’sTransformers: Hointer & Nadia Shouraboura

Today’sTransformers: Hointer & Nadia Shouraboura

“We write code, play with robots, experiment with tensioned tubes and cables and drink lots of Red Bull,” says Nadia Shouraboura CEO of new start up Hointer a retail store that combines technology and with traditional shopping. It’s the ultimate in high-tech, modern shopping experience – fast and efficient as buying online, but with the added advantage of allowing shoppers to try on and touch the clothing.

Shouraboura used to be Amazon’s VP of global supply chain and technology so she knows a thing or two about what works in today’s instant gratification world of shopping and she is rapidly expanding her new business model and shopping experience having invested $5 million of her own money and another $5 million from friends and family. “We are zooming,” says Shouraboura — with plans to open new stores in Bellevue, San Francisco, Tokyo and Shanghai this is one business model that has the ability to radically transform retail shopping.

Hointer understand that people like to engage in the real world – see, feel, touch, hear and smell the product they want to buy. But they also enjoy the speed and efficiency of the web. Hoinster’s business model is designed to offer the best of both worlds and shows how an innovative business model can merge the digital world with the physical world.

The Hointer Experience

Enter a small but spacious store with only one item of each individual product for sale being displayed. Using your mobile device and Hointer App scan the bar code to view style guides, social media and customer reviews. Once you’ve chosen what you want to try on, a single tap of a button on your smart device has the items of clothing delivered to you in a changing room within 30 seconds via a tension tube. If the item is too big or too small or not the right colour, no worries, toss the unwanted item into a chute and request the new item and again within 30 seconds you are ready to try on the new garment. Find the item you want, just swipe your credit card and walk out – no lines, no waiting.

Watch the video to see how this innovative business operates.


Today’sTransformers is a TomorrowToday Strategic Insights initiative that brings you insights on innovative and pioneering people, organisations and companies that are using disruptive forces to transform the world and make it a better place to live, work and play. Use them as case studies and inspirational stories for your team and help them think differently about the unique challenges you face.

For more insights please contact our Strategic Insights Team 

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TomorrowToday: Welcome to our world

Imagine a company with no written contracts between the business partners; no offices; no underpinning capital; as much – or little leave as you want; measured by outcomes; no HR policies or any policies really – just sensible agreements on how things should work; where everything is transparent, including take home pay; where home is where you work – unless you choose some coffee shop, park or beach; where learning is mandatory and sharing what you have, know and don’t know is as natural Hands holding worldas a mid-day movie, fetching your kids from school or taking time to think; a place where you work with smart people who also happen to be nice people; people who ‘have your back’ and with whom you would take into any battle, face any challenge or tackle any obstacle; where your clients span the planet and emanate from a variety of industries; a place where who you are matters more than what you know; a place where meaningful work and passion are more important than making a lot of money – as nice as that is; a place that is fun, flexible and challenging; where robust conversation never threatens relationship and feedback is prized more than recognition; a place where every day is different, an opportunity, a challenge; a place where you can make a difference; a place that prizes the journey over the destination.

That company, that place is TomorrowToday. Welcome to our world.

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“Minority Report” type marketing misses the point of the Connection Economy

“Minority Report” type marketing misses the point of the Connection Economy

Scanning cameras lock onto John Anderton’s face as he walks through a shopping mall. Using facial recognition technology advertisers clock his presence and begin an invasive barrage of “personalised” advertisements designed to entice, cajole and convince him to purchase the must have products on promotion. In this a scene from the 2002 movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise plays John Anderson, we are offered a vision of marketing in the future that is coming true today. Last week, Tesco, the UK largest supermarket, announced  that it is installing hundreds of hi-tech screens to scan the faces of shoppers as they queue to pay. Facial recognition technology will then determine age, identify if the person is male or female and how engaged they are with the advert on display. Sounds spookily big brother-ish!

The advertising system,  called the ‘OptimEyes’, can tailor content based on time and location, and will be rolled out into 450 Tesco petrol forecourts, reaching more than five million adult customers every week.  Simon Sugar (Son of Sir Alan Sugar) the CEO of Amscreen, the company behind OptimEyes is optimistic about the systems ability to provide data to enhance the understanding of consumer behaviours. Using face detection technology to “revolutionise” the advertising industry Simon Sugar promises a step-change in advertising stating that “brands deserve to know not just an estimation of how many eyeballs are viewing their adverts, but who they are too. Through our Face Detection technology, we want to optimise our advertisers campaigns, reduce wastage and in-turn deliver the type of insight that only online has previously been able to achieve.”

Simon Sugar and the Tesco marketers that support and promote this big brother push-marketing approach are missing the point of today’s connected technology and the Connection Economy. They are failing to recognise the shift where  old marketing methods are irrelevant. There is no doubt that the technology being used here is impressive and represents an important milestone but it’s application is woefully inadequate and being wrongly implemented. What is required is a mindset shift – the technology of the future has arrived but it is being implemented using old paradigms.

The world of connected things, the Internet of Things, combined with smart devices, wi-fi, broadband and massive storage in the cloud is enabling the step change. But this step change is not technology driven. The step change is a mindset shift around how technology is enabling consumers to interact, engage and form partnerships with companies. In the Connection Economy the consumer  calls the shots and it is the consumer who invites the best brands and most trusted companies into their lives. Astute companies are using technology to build relatiosnhips not to push products and determine who is looking at their adverts. Which is like so old school!

One of the big trends for 2014 will be the explosion of smart wearable computer devices. This is an important exciting trend offering perhaps the most powerful engagement platform companies have ever had for building trusted relationships with customers. Companies that are not thinking how they can leverage and benefit from the ecosystems and Apps being created in this space are fast falling behind the competitive curve. As an example of how it should be done let me introduce Nymi Wristband, a smart wearable computer devices that recognises, encrypts and shares biometric data of the wearer. Like a fingerprint every person has a unique heartbeat rhythm, Nymi reads and recognises this rhythm. By using biometric  information to validate a user’s identity the Nymi Wristband enables immediate and seamless recognition of who you are with other smart devices and connected objects. As Wired Magazine puts it:

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Preparing for Generation Z (or whatever you’d like to call them)

November 8, 2013 Catherine Garland Future Trends, Generations, Newsletter 1 Comment


child crossed legs video game

They have variously been named the “Homeland” generation, the “Re-generation” and the “Centennial” generation – but at the moment, we know them best (and rather lazily) as Generation Z.   In the US, this generation is often held to have been born from 1995 onwards. However, Neil Howe, joint author of “Generations” and “The Fourth Turning”, the original academic works on Generational Theory, believes first were not born until the early 2000s.  This latter seems more in line with the usual 20 year generational cycle and tends to be our thinking here at TomorrowToday – but it’s not an exact science, and there will be a blurred boundary on the cusp with Gen Y, wherever it falls.

Whatever the exact dates, within a few short years, this generation will be reaching the workplace for the first time.  So what do we know of them – and what can we do to prepare?

The defining experience of this generation is its upbringing during the Great Recession. This is likely to make them quite conservative and conformist, because what they crave is security.  They may therefore be more inclined to work for a big corporation than members of Gen Y, who are too busy following their ‘passion’ to think of their future. When choosing their career path, which many of them are doing now, this generation may be more pragmatic and inclined to choose ‘safe’ than their entrepreneurial Gen Y predecessors. They may not be particularly materialistic, as they will have learnt from their recession-hit parents that possessions aren’t everything – but they may have to repay student debt, which will also propel them towards careers that generate a steady income.  However, with the workplace increasingly adapting to more fluid workforces, they may still have to accept many company and career changes in their working life – although they will be expecting this and will plan for it.  It’s unlikely to phase them, as they will be expert multi-taskers and will already have a childhood of varied experiences behind them.

In “How to Think Like the Next Generation”, Penelope Trunk identifies another interesting trait of Generation Z.  Because technology and connectivity have been present for them since they were able to play on mummy’s smartphone for the first time, it holds no mystique or novelty value.  It simply is.  It’s likely that this generation will be far less obsessed with pushing the boundaries of what can be done with technology and rather simply treat it as a tool.  Just take a look at the 80s-looking graphics on Minecraft to understand that fancy stuff is not their technology driver!  This may make life simpler for businesses to adapt their IT to ‘bring your own’, rather than trying to keep up with Gen Y’s constant need to be ahead of the game.

The Curve Report identifies 5 main factors in “The Z Factor” that it believes will define Generation Z:

The Least Connected Generation, Ever

Despite being technologically hyper-connected, Zs will have far less in common with their peers and neighbours than members of previous generations did (and consequently will have a harder time finding others “like them.”

XXX Ideals (Xposure, Xperience, Xpertise)

Zs are largely (although not exclusively) the children of Generation X, a cohort defined by its independence.  They will be encouraging their children to try out new experiences and emphasise depth of knowledge over exam grades and degree choice. Remember, Generation X is now watching the accomplished and well-educated Gen Y struggle to find work and build their lives.

Double Vision and Photographic Memories

As the first generation to be born into a world where everything physical, from people to places to pennies, has a digital equivalent, Zs will develop double vision and “see” a digital layer in all they encounter.

Gen(der) Neutral

Generation Z’s have been born into an environment where dads are truly hands on, where it’s cool for guys to bake and where girls playing football is old news.  Gender difference will still exist of course, but there will be far more opportunities and far less judgement.

Forever Young

One in three children born today are expected to live to 100 – and many could reach 120.  Generation Z will have to plan for this – and it may mean that they have more time for all aspects of their life.  Education, leaving home, settling down – what’s the hurry?

As businesses, we can expect to see a far more self-aware population of young people with an unprecedented understanding of their skills and talents and a pragmatic approach to career, life and technology.  Sounds great, but we can be sure there will be challenges ahead and some interesting clashes with Gen Y bosses!

What do you think?  If you have young children, what do you see in them that will shape them as future employees (and employers)?

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Primary Blog contributors

The main contributors to this blog are:

Dr Graeme Codrington, co-founder of TomorrowToday, author, speaker and expert on the changing world of work
Dean van Leeuwen, co-founder and CEO of TomorrowToday UK & Europe, speaker, consultant and Chief Intellectual Adventurer
Catherine Garland, head of the TomorrowToday Strategic Insights team and previous MD of GFK Research in the United Kingdom
Keith Coats, co-founder of TomorrowToday South Africa, leadership development guru, speaker and author
Professor Nick Barker, director of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program at the East-West Center in Hawaii, leadership development expert
Markus Kramer, marketing director for Aston Martin and brand building expert
Keith Holdt, Visionary Enabler of business growth and change, currently works for LDC as an investment executive.
Dil Sidhu, Chief External Officer, Manchester Business School; Executive education specialist.
Dawna MacLean, expert on fostering meaningful change and creating authentic experiences through transparent and trusted partnerships.

Click here for a full list of contributors

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