Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: November/December 2010

This is the November/December 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

“Two roads diverged in a wood. . .” (Robert Frost)

Believe it or not, this is the 100th issue of Future of Work Agenda. Our initial newsletter was published in 2001. Even though we claim to be futurists, when we first began, we had no idea our venture would last this long.

Alas, however, we’ve come to the end of a road. Or, more accurately, to a fork. Charlie is going one way, Jim another. In case you missed it, here’s the announcement we recently published:

From Charlie:

2011 is going to be a year of change. The Work Design Collaborative is no exception.

I would like to announce that I have accepted a full-time faculty position at Capella University, effective Jan 1st. I will be teaching leadership and organizational development and mentoring a few graduate students doing research.

While clearly “out of the blue,” this is an opportunity and challenge I am very much looking forward to. I want to take this time to say a heartfelt “thank you” to all of you who have been friends, colleagues, clients, and members of the tribe.

The next few weeks will be a transition time, so expect to hear more from Jim on his plans for the future of the business and the community.

Please update your address books for Charlie to cegrantham@gmail.com. Phone numbers will remain the same. Good luck in all your future efforts and God speed.


From Jim:

I’m excited about the variety of opportunities ahead. The future of work remains as important—and as dynamic!—as ever.

Charlie and I have had a great eight and a half years together, and we both remain committed to helping create the future of work. I wish him all the best in his new venture.

Most importantly, I want to assure all of you that Charlie will remain a close friend going forward. He’ll be accessible to me as a Senior Advisor, as well as to any of you who have questions or need occasional advice.

I look forward to working with you to address the continuing challenges of the changing workplace.

My email address and phone numbers remain the same. Please contact me any time with your questions and suggestions. And look for some more announcements in the coming weeks as we reshape and refocus our efforts.


We’ll still collaborate when we can, but as we each look ahead to a highly uncertain future, our journeys are diverging.

Please enjoy this year-end newsletter. One final note: given the upcoming holidays and Jim’s plans to refocus the business a bit, the newsletter is going to take a brief vacation.

We’ll be back in a few months, spiffed up, refueled, and ready to continue setting the agenda for the future of work. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!

Charlie and Jim

Click on any Headline below to access the full story.

1. Feature Article: One More Time: Back To The Future

When we look back on our predictions about the future of work over the last decade, we were right about 50% of the time. Like most other futurists we failed to foresee the massive economic meltdown the whole world experienced in 2007/2008. We remain hopeful, but for things to turn up significantly we’ll have to see major changes in the legal structures that govern how we work. Attitudes usually change before behaviors, and behaviors before legislation. We note that attitudes towards work have changed. We wait, not-so-patiently, for the rest of the process to unfold.

2. Meet The Associates

We recently invited a small group of people to become Future of Work Associates, a new community of world-class experts who, like us, are committed to helping create the future of work. We introduce several more of the Associates here, in the belief that the more you get to know them the more you’ll want to engage with us and them as you create your own future.

3. The Future of Technology

How do the tools we use affect the way we learn and understand our world? Here are two thought-provoking articles from the New York Times on what it’s like to grow up “digital” and to teach in a digital world.

4. The Future of Place and Space

Two intriguing views about how connectivity is changing the way we work, live, and congregate. First a new look at “Connected Britain”; and, second, news and some speculation about how the recently-passed federal legislation mandating telework in federal agencies might affect the future of work.

5. The Future of People and Organizations

First, a new website focused on recording the life and work experiences of people from every part of the work world you can think of—and many you haven’t. Second, a look at Work 2.0, courtesy of Bill Jensen who offers a new way of thinking about your “contract” with your employer. And third another reminder of the basic reasons why assembling a dispersed team makes so much sense.

6. The Future of Work Design

We lead off with “70 Jobs for 2030,” from the World Future Society. Then “Smashing the Clock,” published in Business Week in 2006, a now-classic look at how Best Buy implemented a results-only work environment where, among other things, all meetings are optional. And “The Fifth Imperative” is a much more recent call for Sustainability as our best hope for improving organizational effectiveness.

7. What’s Happened/Happening?

Brief announcements and notes about where Jim and Charlie have been, are, and will be, holding forth in public conversations and other activities.

As usual, your comments and reactions to any of these articles are more than welcome. Please send your thoughts to us at any time, or add a comment below.