The Future of . . . (March 2012)

This is a monthly newsletter feature:  a  collection of recent stories and news articles that have appeared elsewhere; this is our way of helping you stay on top of developments in the worlds of technology, workplace and facilities design, the workforce, and work design – any and all of which will likely affect the future of work, often in ways we can’t begin to imagine.

Randstad Inspires Future Leaders

Jim Ware recently had a very stimulating conversation with Kristin Kelley, Vice President of Marketing for Randstad, the second-largest HR services firm in the United States.

With so many workers today still finding it difficult to secure a job, it can be even more daunting for a young person to enter the working world. While some professional job openings are scarce, many industries, believe it or not, are actually having trouble finding the talent to fill open positions.

To help inspire and educate the next generation Randstad recently launched a new blog and website called Inspiring Experts (

Inspiring Experts will be an interactive portal designed to encourage and inspire young job seekers and professionals to explore careers in key industries where future job opportunities are expected to grow.

The blog will provide information and insight on current jobs in demand, top career trends and workplace advice, through traditional and emerging media channels.

Randstat has also sponsored a contest encouraging young leaders to submit personal video clips describing their goals, their career choices, and their experiences. The best clips receive significant scholarship awards from Randstad.  It’s a very compelling and well-named website. We encourage you to check it out.

Apple’s Impact on Silicon Valley

Whether or not you approve of Apple’s design for its own workplace of the future, it’s getting closer to reality every day. This article (“Apple growth helps fuel Silicon Valley office boom”)from the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, March 9,  describes the status of Apple’s plans; but even more importantly it highlights the impact that Apple’s recent success and growth has had on Silicon Valley generally. For example, in 2011 Apple leased over a million square feet of office space in the city of Sunnyvale, reducing Sunnyvale’s vacancy rate by 50 percent.

Susan Cain at TED2012: Is Collaboration Overrated?

We are as upbeat about the power of collaboration as anyone we know, but when we came across this provocative report of a presentation by Susan Cain at TED2012, we stopped to think. Cain, a self-identified introvert, makes a strong case for the value of individual activity, including reading, writing, and even just thinking—alone. Here’s just one short excerpt from her call to action:

“End the madness of constant group-work.” (The audience applauds.) Offices need chatty conversations, and great spaces to make serendipitous interactions. But we need much more privacy, and more autonomy. The same is true — more true — for schools. Yes, teach kids to work together, but also how to work alone.

You can read a thorough elaboration of her “contrary” views at this link: “An introverted call to action: Susan Cain at TED2012.”

Brave new work:  The office of tomorrow

This article appeared on CNN Money in January; it’s another of those attempts to create a compelling picture of what “the” corporate office will be like in 2020. Think of this story as a perfect example of what I described as a “meal” in this month’s feature article (The Future: A Meal or a Menu?“).

It’s a valiant effort to project current trends, current ideas about office technologies, and current understanding of the way work gets done. Not surprisingly Geoff Colvin, the author and an editor-at-large at Fortune Magazine,  sees a lot more of we have today:

Walk into a corporate office a few years from now, and you’ll be struck by how much it physically resembles the office of today. (No delivery guys on hovercraft, no teleportation devices.) People will still sit at desks and meet in conference rooms and get food from the cafeteria. There will be some new gizmos: more tablet computers, for example, and desktop “printers” capable of spot-manufacturing small three-dimensional objects.

This compilation appears in the March 2012 issue of Future of Work Agenda

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *