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Lynda Gratton

This edition, we’re giving Hot Spots Community members an insight into the launch of The Future of Work: this is the official launch of Lynda’s latest Research Consortium in London on November 5.

We want to continue to bring you great content that you won’t be able to read anywhere else, and which will inspire and enthuse you to help your organisation flourish and become more innovative and energised. Keep us updated of exciting developments in your organisation!

UPDATE: Launch of the Future of Work

A while ago, we shared news of Lynda’s new Research Consortium, which will run for six months and is entitled The Future of Work. On November 5, we are delighted to be launching the project in London – and via simultaneous webcast, blogging, and Twitter feed.

We are excited about the launch because we will be using many channels, and this mirrors the Consortium itself, which is based on a sophisticated online platform to build collaboration and debate across the span of time zones and countries. We will be looking at important trends and scenarios for the future, and there’s no better way to respond to these than through online channels.

The Future of Work will pull together a “wise crowd” of 200 people from some of the most important corporations and organisations around the world. This group of people will openly engage in a series of rich conversations, and examine some of the tough issues the future holds for us. Together, we will create an in-depth analysis of how we will be working – as companies and individuals – in 2020.

There are five major global forces that will fundamentally re-shape the way we work by 2020. They are technology, demography, society, low carbon and globalisation. The Future of Work will develop templates for how to successfully adopt innovative organisational practices that support the new nature of work.

Featuring in this “wise crowd” are senior executives and Gen Y-ers from among others: Nokia, BT Global Services, NHS, Save the Children, World Vision International, Thomson Reuters, Colt, RBS, ABSA, Novartis, Unilever, Randstad UK, SAP, Thoughtworks, Singaporean Ministry of Manpower , ARM, Virgin Active, Standard Chartered Bank, and Tata Consulting Group.

Some of the questions we will be asking are: how will we work when 5 billion people are connected all the time? What will free computing power mean to those doing business? How will we work when the world’s population moves to cities? What will the impact of the oil price rise and carbon tax have on the way we work? What is it like to work in three generational cohorts? Where will the talent be?

We would like you to be involved in the launch, by viewing streamed video clips on www.hotspotsmovement.com, as well as following the live blogging (www.lyndagrattonfutureofwork.com) and by following the Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/lyndagratton).

Examining theories: are current talent management theories obsolete?

Lynda is frequently asked to write opinion pieces for publications around the world, and the topic most requested of late is whether management practices are out of date in today’s difficult economic times. We have taken an extract from one of her opinion pieces, so you can read her thoughts on the subject.

Companies have had to make substantial changes in the way they treat their employees, and must continue to do so. Successful companies are the ones with vibrant workplaces, where ideas are generated through teamwork. And these workplaces won’t be the conventional bricks and mortar set up of the past; workplaces will increasingly be flexible and virtual.

We are seeing a shift towards more collaborative work forms that span boundaries, companies that operate in flatter organisational hierarchies and engage employees in decision-making. We are also seeing a trend towards open-source innovation in outside communities. Companies are moving towards flexible organisational clusters and community structures, and advancements in technology have facilitated an increase in virtual work.

These changing environments have given workers a desire for more flexibility and with a choice of where and how they want to work.

When I began the research process which became the basis of the Hot Spots book, the idea I was most excited about was collaboration. It seemed clear to me that a joined up/global world needed people to work together much more than people pulling apart. At that time many people agreed, but I felt that they thought of collaboration as a 'nice to have' and not really central to the mission of the organisation.

How times have changed! The recession that has raged across the world has brought into question our notion of competition/hierarchy/command and control as the dominant organisational paradigm. The writing is on the wall - companies where individuals, teams and businesses are able to cooperate will flourish.

What’s truly exciting about this is that the old form of collaboration - where you simply trusted the people sitting next to you at work - is so very different from the new form of collaboration. Today, you need to collaborate with someone in another office, or another country, who may be very different from you and you may well never have met.

Hot Spots around the globe

Lynda and Andreas were in Singapore for the Human Capital Summit 2009, so we have some photos to share from the trip. The Hot Spots Research Institute has been working with the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore to increase the country’s innovative capability.

The project threw up some very specific findings on how companies in Singapore differ from their Western counterparts.

Teams in Singapore create more value for their clients: they make better use of company assets, are more effective in making improvements in company systems and processes, and respond more quickly to changes in the business environment.

Overall, teams in Singapore are less diverse (in gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, function, and education), and most of them are co-located and have less virtual work to manage. As a result, Singaporean teams tend to be less complex than teams from other countries.

Generally, they have better developed productive practices in place, and team members in Singapore are better at making commitments to each other in that they clearly state what and when they will deliver. Team members update each other on their work more effectively and share knowledge more actively, while they find a stronger rhythm in their work and balance intense activity with periods of deliberate reflection.

What is interesting to see is that, no matter how connected the world is, there are still significant national and cultural differences in the way companies build teamwork and innovation. This is something we will be exploring further through The Future of Work, as the 200 participants span the globe.

What do Hot Spots mean for the organisation at large?

The work of the Hot Spots Movement has been really effective in building collaboration in teams in organisations. But Andreas Voigt, who is directing the New Product Development, says that the methodology can deliver organisational change at a higher level. We asked Andreas what he has been working on recently.

He said: “I feel that we may have found a way of delivering an organisational change programme with a much broader scope than individual team coaching. We are piloting a revised version of the programme in some organisations where we build a whole community of teams that do not know each other well, but have a common vision and need to create synergies in their work. So we take a much more strategic approach by building a whole community of teams and give them an igniting question from a senior sponsor they need to tackle together.

“We are hopeful that the new way of working with our Hot Spots community tools will have a much stronger impact in the organisation and by promoting the execution of strategic change which leads to a holistic benefit for the organisation.”

Developing networks: who’s in our network?

At the heart of Hot Spots is the capacity to create valuable and exciting networks. This month: the professor who was named top of the Thinkers 50 – CK Prahalad. His exciting work on the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid has revolutionised the way corporations view the opportunities for poorer countries.

CK has recorded a really interesting video for the Thinkers 50 website, which you can view below. In it, he talks about how quickly the Bottom of the Pyramid concept has taken off, to the point where it has become part of the wider corporate lexicon a new way of solving the problem of 90 per cent of 5 billion people.

We talked about the launch of the Nano car from Tata as an example of how to develop individuals that Glow, and CK also uses this case of iconic innovation. Tata has already taken $600 million in advanced orders for 2011, which has revolutionised an entire sector by developing a product specifically for a poorer market.

You can read more about the Thinkers 50 on www.thinkers50.com: we are delighted to announce Lynda was named No.18, up from last year, making her the second highest-rated woman on the list.

Next edition:

We will be looking at some of the initial feedback from The Future of Work launch.




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