Eileen and Sequoia created this mural to present at the 10th annual Future of Talent retreat in Marin County, CA based on Kevin Wheeler and Eileen’s forecasts of trends that will influence the workplace over the next 3-5 years. We are continuing our research over the next few months and expect significant insights and pragmatic solutions to be released in early 2015. In brief, the trends are:
1. World of Creativity – In the future, leaders will facilitate individuals to develop their own creative potential, while nurturing a co-creative environment where they understand their roles and how to synchronize their gifts. In a world of rapid change and complexity, no one has the answers and success will come from innovation (goal-oriented creativity). We are exploring the specific behaviors and organizational principles that will enable results.
2. Through the Looking Glass – Borrowed from Lewis Carroll whose “Alice in Wonderland” recounted entry into a world where reality is turned upside down, “Through the Looking Glass” is a way to think about how we are challenged to live in the new world of creativity. How would you work differently in a world where people are more important than products? Where health is more important than workaholism? Where emotions and intuition are honored at least as much as left-brain thinking?
3. Speed Trumps Process – Navigating fast change and complexity requires action — experiments, mistakes, and trying again. Resilience and readiness replace old strategic planning processes and cumbersome organizational systems.
4. Designing with Data – Continuous capture and organization of data is essential for decision-making. The challenge is how to curate and apply. An emerging skillset is to marry left and right brain thinking so that data supports wise and innovative decision-making. Needed: objective, robust, well organized data PLUS imagination, intuition and pattern-finding to apply it.5. Beyond Words – We are well into the visual age. What’s new is the way we are bringing together cognitive science and ancient knowledge about “the shape of thought” to connect with hearts and feelings as well as minds. This trend accompanies “designing with data” as we are challenged to create images that compress massive amounts of information enabling us to see and act on patterns that emerge visually. Images are central in the world of creativity because they can capture shared concepts before they have crystalized into words.
6. Tribes and Teams – The old days are long gone when people would expect to have a single job or even a single profession for their working life. We move in and out of workplaces and careers. Teams are in the moment: The group you are working with now to innovate, create collective action, and achieve goals. Tribes are long-term communities of like-minded people, fellow professionals in your field, mentors and mentees, nearby friends and neighbors who trade ideas even as they are employed or contracted by different organizations. Tribes enable ongoing mutual support.
7. Flat is the new Black – The idea of the flat organization has been around for decades. Yet most workplaces still operate with hierarchy that limits transparency and an individual’s capability to fully contribute to the whole. The gap between knowing and doing is closing as a result of a more nuanced understanding about how collaboration actually works. It’s not a free-for-all, but a new kind of architecture that defines roles, relationships, information flows and effective collective decision-making.
Through the Looking Glass into the World of Creativity