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October newsletter: launch of Future of Work 2

Thank you to everybody who has submitted ideas and comments – it adds a different dimension to the Newsletter! Please keep them coming to Tina. Lynda is also blogging again (the blog was on hiatus over the summer in between FOWs), and you can read and comment here.

Note from Lynda

After a summer of thinking and writing (the fruits of which is a book on the future of work – to be in the bookshops in April 2011), it’s time to reflect on what’s top of our agenda. In the last couple of weeks I have talked to a senior team at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, spoken at the Human Capital Conference in Singapore and addressed over 200 CIO and CTOs for Tata Consultancy Services’ conference in Paris. That means lots of networks, ideas and emerging themes. Click here to read what five themes are top of my mind at the moment.

FOW launches in Singapore

It has been a big week for the Hot Spots team. Last week marked the launch of the Future of Work launch in Singapore: we are so excited about the dedicated research consortium, which has been supported by Ministry of Manpower. Twelve companies have signed up, including Sembcorp, SingTel, and DBS, and we had a really bustling launch day with almost 50 participants, buzzing with energy and creativity. Heidi explains here why Singapore is the perfect place to launch a dedicated national research consortium on innovation.

East meets West

As we start the Future of Work in Singapore and the rest of the world, one of the questions we get asked a lot is ‘what are the differences between Asia and the West?’ The subset of this broad question is:

  • are employees different (more cooperative, more skillful, more educated, more determined?)
  • are leaders different (more authoritarian, more inward looking, more specialised?)
  • are companies different (more hierarchical, more global, more innovative?)

If trends such as ever-increasing technology and globalisation are making the world increasingly connected, can we form any conclusions about differences between East and West? Click here to read Lynda’s response. We would be really interested to hear what you think: email Tina with your observations.

Putting the final touches to FOW2 launch

We are really at countdown stage now: FOW2 launches in London on November 2 and it’s bigger than we had dared hope!

What are the main things you need to know about FOW2?


  • there are 43 organisations signed up, a mix of members from FOW1 and new companies
  • these come from new countries, to make the consortium even more global; in order to enhance the geographic representation, we would take last-minute requests for membership from Middle East and Africa
  • there’s a brand new look to the FOW2 portal, which was developed over the summer and genuinely raises the bar in terms of online community-generated research
  • by the end of next week, we’ll have done 86 briefings of champions and teams
  • over the next 6 months, we will run 6 webinars and we expect 2000+ comments across 200+ discussion threads.
  • every single member of the Hot Spots team is involved – and we hope every member of the community will contribute to our findings!

Cool office: Unilever in Mumbai

Last month we started a new section on cool office environments that are designed with innovation in mind. We have been inundated with ideas of offices we should feature! Aparna Raje highlighted Hindustan Unilever’s new corporate office in Andheri, where the structure and layout of the building is designed to bind people together. You can read more about Aparna’s thoughts on the space here.


Where can you see Lynda speak?

Lynda will join the speaker line-up for the 2nd Global Peter Drucker Management Forum in Vienna on November 18 – 19. The event will gather together top managers, non-profit and public sector leaders as well as academics discussing the challenges for management in the "Next Society". Joining them will be the 40 winners of the global Peter Drucker Challenge Essay Contest sponsored by EFMD, Deutsche Telekom and Emerald Group Publishing. The event will also pay tribute to
CK Prahalad, one of the most important management thinkers of recent years. You can read more about the Forum here.

Insight from Rolls-Royce

As we get ready to press the button on FOW2, our minds are moving forward – a decade at least. Chris Carlisle, VP Engineering & Technology – Propulsion, Rolls-Royce Marine, contacted us to let us know of a really interesting project associated with the Tuck School at Dartmouth Global Leadership 2020 programme.

The title of this year’s project for the Rolls-Royce team is: “Given the external and internal changes that will occur on the journey to 2030, how do we, as leaders, unlock the potential of our employees?” Here are some of the insights Chris and his team has gathered:

It's been a really interesting journey of discovery and we've come a long way. The team has used a number of tools from the course (including scenario modelling, benchmarking, teachable point of view and dilemma resolution) to assess and describe what the company needs to do to be successful in 20 years time. We found that, in all scenarios, there were four themes that the company must master:

  • agility: to reshape the organisation and address new opportunities.
  • innovation - in business models as well as technology and systems.
  • emotional Infrastructure - truly engaging with customers, and creating a global corporate culture that everyone buys into.
  • virtual management - using a company’s global footprint in a flexible way to achieve what is required by large vertically integrated, collocated teams today.

Further to those insights we developed a model for action and although it was independently derived, it bore a striking resemblance to the hotspots framework. On that basis Rolls-Royce Marine will undertake a pilot team assessment with 3 teams from the Nordics as part of understanding the framework and models. We see emotional infrastructure as a key success factor for the future where our teams will be more diverse and dispersed than ever. From Lynda’s work, this is part of the virtuous circle of human capital and potential, and this insight gives us the clue to help close the action loop.

Save the Children: looking at 21st century organisations

One of our FOW consortium members, Save the Children, has asked Lynda to speak at their HR forum, looking at what a 21st century organisation will look like. Lynda will be addressing 25 senior HR team members from around the world as the organisation looks to integrate its 120 countries and 20,000 team members more fully. We hope to be able to share some of their discussions at a later date.

Did you know?

The business centre at the British Library has a board where small businesses can put up “skills I have” and “skills I need”? That struck a chord with us, and we have incorporated this “swap idea” as a functionality in the FOW2 portal.

How can we manage our 5 billion connections?

Last year one of the most interesting ideas that came out of the Future of Work Consortium was that by 2020, 5 billion people will be connected with each other through their handheld devices. Linked to the Crowd, individuals will have access to most of the digitised knowledge of the world; and using low-energy batteries, even those in the poorest places will be able to join the crowd.

What will these Five Billion Connections actually do? That’s the question we have been asking colleagues and contacts over the last couple of months. Click here to read more.

Editor’s note: ever since Lynda mentioned him, we have been looking at the work of Clay Shirky. He teaches new media as an associate teacher at New York University, looking at social networks and how they shape culture. He founded a theatre company in New York in 1990 and worked as a lighting designer and theatre director before he “fell in love with the internet” in 1996. You can read some of his writing here.

Raghuram Rajan wins Business Book of the Year

After a busy summer of reading, the judges – including Lynda – of the FT and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year had reached a conclusion, and the winner was announced: Fault Lines, Raghuram Rajan’s book on the flaws that crippled the world financial system.

Professor Rajan was the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist when he warned the 2005 Jackson Hole conference of central bankers that the seeds of disaster were being sown in the financial sector. Lynda said: “Fault Lines is a fascinating set of ideas about the past and the future. Within it are insights about the world as it will unfold over the coming years, and indeed about the impact this will have on the daily work of people across the world.” You can read her blog post on the shortlisted books here.

Fault Lines nudged ahead of Too Big to Fail, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s minute-by-minute analysis of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The other shortlisted titles were: The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar; The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick; The Big Short by Michael Lewis; and More Money than God by Sebastian Mallaby.

Who’s in our network?

An unusual one this issue: Peter Drucker. At the Hot Spots Movement, the founding team has been influenced by his teachings, and they are top of mind at the moment as Lynda prepares to speak at the 2nd Global Peter Drucker Management Forum.

For a couple of generations, Peter was the most important management thinker in the world, and we’d claim that is still the case several years after his death? However, looking at Fortune’s recent list of top 40 under 40, we wondered how many of them can also say that they know and appreciate his lessons and his thinking? (Would Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, number 2 on the list, have “liked Peter Drucker” on his page?)

So: a question just for Hot Spots Community members under the age of 40: what does Peter Drucker mean to you, and how have you applied his management thinking? Email Tina with your answers. And, in the mean time, read this interview with Peter from 2004.

Blog watch – websites we like

We have just discovered Ed Yong’s blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, and we’re hooked already! Ed writes about science but in an accessible way: see his post on spotting mistakes while typing, for example. We liked the post on how people’s beliefs become even stronger when they are faced with doubt (one of the experiments carried out was Mac vs PC loyalty).

This misplaced fervour could wreak havoc in a highly diverse, geographically spread out, multicultural virtual team. When trying to justify their questioned beliefs, study participants reached new levels of enthusiasm – imagine if we could tap into those levels and channel them in the workplace in a more constructive way? We will ask Ed if what he thinks it takes to channel this energy into something positive and keep you posted on the debate.

You can also follow Ed on Twitter at @edyong209.

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