The future of work with Dr. Kristine Dery

  • Posted on May 17, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

A good crew at sea almost always has people who are good at charting a safe future course as well as people who can keep the ship sailing. If you don’t, you’ll most likely end up either going in circles or stalling out mid-journey.  When she joined me on a tall ship in Sydney Harbor recently, Kristine Dery, research scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR), and I talked about what the crew of the future might look like as organizations navigate the waves of change.

May the force of work be with you
Kristine’s area of expertise at the is the digital workforce, which is a personal passion of mine as well. As I have said before, I firmly believe that technology is a force for good and the fear of robots coming for our jobs is unfounded. Kristine sees many opportunities for machines and people to collaborate. For her though, it’s all about the notion of “force of work” versus “workforce.” Meaning that organization charts in the future will include machines and robots side-by-side with roles filled by humans.

“And we’re not only thinking about people engaged as full-time employees (FTEs) within the workplace; we’re also thinking about freelancers, people in gig type roles or portfolio careers. We’re enabling a very different way of thinking about how work is done.”

MIT CISR is seeing signs that the human side of the force of work may be up to 50 percent freelance within about five years. I think the lesson here is that, whether through technology or workforce dynamics, the way people work will continue to change. Baby boomers, millennials and upcoming generations have different views on what work means—the agility of the digital workplace may be able to accommodate the variety of expectations.

When the going gets comfortable, the strong get going
Kristine’s advice for all of us in the face of change? “Find things that challenge you. If I look back on everything I’ve done and think about what I’d do differently, it’s that I’ve stayed too long in places where I was comfortable.”

We often talk with our clients about the need to keep up with technology to remain relevant and market competitive. As we face a major shift in how we relate to work, having the right crew, a sense of adventure, and a clear view of the horizon creates the best conditions for smooth sailing. 

Watch the full episode of On the Move with Adam Warby featuring Dr. Kristine Dery, below.

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