Futurist Mike Walsh shared his insights on the future of work – and he emphasizes that focusing only on technology is never the best solution.
In the 21st century, it is not enough just to study Social Capital, or how people are connected in an organisation. We have to go one step further and understand the technologies that can augment and accelerate this process. Years from now, when we peel back the layers of successful companies, I believe we will discover that they have made very deliberate design choices around collaboration and communication.
One of the most important measures of future will be what I call Network Capital, which describes the effectiveness of the processes, platforms and practices that facilitate the way employees connect. Network Capital will be the future driver of productivity—not as an economic concept of output or as a set of technological tools. This is productivity as the creative experience of innovation in action.
So for example, a business that relies purely on email for co-ordination would have relatively low Network Capital as compared to a business that had a fully functioning enterprise social network. In such a high Network Capital company, intuitive technologies would encourage people to become densely connected, both with each other and their customers. They would feel supported by the people around.
New technology alone is never sufficient when you are dealing with human beings rather than inanimate servers. Building your Network Capital requires a total company commitment that blends both new technology as well as deep insights into your culture. It is about designing systems that shift behaviour.
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Mike Walsh, futurist speaker, author of Futuretainment and CEO of innovation research agency Tomorrow, helps to prepare business leaders for what’s next.
Everything is changing. All the traditional industries we grew up with – media, communication, finance, professional services and retail – are all in the process of being turned upside down and re-invented. The force behind this revolution is not technology but rather consumer behaviour. After all, as interesting as it is when things change, the real magic happens when people do.