The task we must set ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate uncertainty. – Erich Fromm
In the absence of certainty, we are compelled to turn to all ways of knowing. Collectively, we can convene our human imaginations to map out and prepare for a future that never was predictable. Some organisations dedicate all their focus to these kinds of tasks, exploring and building new mental models of the world for us to interrogate and digest. Through their efforts, we hope to get closer to the future by accessing views on possible eventualities and thinking through their implications. The Institute For The Future (IFTF) is one such organisation. It creates foresight so that this can be turned into insight. Insight can lead to action.
In a new report titled “Future Skills Enterprise: Getting fit for a new kind of workforce”, the IFTF offers us a map of the future with five peak performance zones. These zones are the starting point for a globally connected, technology enhanced workforce, ready for change at a moment’s notice. Let’s take closer look at the zones and what they mean.
Zone 1: Human-Machine Collaboration
Way beyond just working out which jobs humans will do, and which jobs machines will do, machine-human collaboration will be about getting ready for user-generated intelligence and ensuring that we are tapping into this intelligence.
Zone 2: Sensemaking
Data stores will grow 10 times faster than the population. A high-resolution world will challenge our human neural bandwidth. We will offload many cognitive tasks and generate new narratives or big stories to make sense of our past, present and future.
Zone 3: Resilience
As we face more extreme environments, politics and technological solutions, we need to reimagine the way we use all assets, both human and machine. The ultimate task of the human enterprise is to rebuild equity as a buffer against the risks that workers will face.
Zone 4: Pop-Up Enterprise
Pop-up, high performance teams will redefine the enterprise of the future. These teams will form in response to need and they will be adept at complex multifaceted tasks. They are unbound from the borders of the enterprise and not curated by managers or HR. They replace software searches for individuals with micro-task skills. Human activity begins to have the potential to be scaled around the world through algorithmic team building.
Zone 5: Reputation Management
The future truly becomes a digital universe with many channels. Static resumes and credentials fall away to the daily and live process of learning, building visibility and curating the stories that tell the world who we are and what we can do.
Building skills in these 5 peak performance zones leads to a strong workforce, according to the IFTF. And not talking about them may leave us all ill-prepared.
Is there conversation about the future in your organisation? Who steers it? Who participates?
How far into the future do you go? What tools do you use?