The Future of Work


[qi:_webworkerdaily] Big-picture thinking and inventiveness are going to be the key to professional success in a new “conceptual age.” In a series of posts over at WebWorkerDaily, Imran Ali has been musing on the type of work that we might be doing in the future, the skills that will be required, and the type of teams we might be working in. The skills we need could evolve, Imran pointed out, citing career analyst Daniel Pink‘s assertion that “right-brainers will rule this century.” In his book, Pink states that we’ll need to augment our “left-brained” reasoning with six crucial “right-brained” skills: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. Imran followed this up by exploring the hot new job category for the 21st century: data.

As we move into the post-Web 2.0 world of Web Squared” (a smarter web extending into the real world through sensor applications), and as governments open up their data archives, we’ll see a proliferation of data to be mined. Demand for people who can make sense of that data, and use Pink’s “right-brained” thinking to extract stories from it, is going to rocket. For instance, IBM (s ibm) is preparing to expand the number of data analysis employees it has from 200 to 4,000 — a twenty-fold increase.

Imran also looked at the “Noded” working philosophy — a way of bringing together independent professionals into ad hoc project teams. Unlike traditional distributed teams, Noded teams work for a wide range of clients, and any member of the team can take the lead to bring in work, manage projects and choose their team members. Many freelancers, particularly those in tech fields like web development, are already working in Noded-like teams, but the concept could be used to modernize other industries, too. Is it time to say goodbye to the traditional newsroom and make way for Noded teams of reporters?


Manpreet Singh

Wow, a very interesting blog post. The information here combined with the those in the link/references and their links and references seems like a mine of information. Just read Tim Oreilly’s ‘work on stuff that matters’. That in itself was an amazing inspiring article. Thanks for sharing this.

Shankar Saikia


I agree that the future of work may be and should involve more collaboration across teams, individuals etc. as Dan Tapscott describes in Wikinomics. One of the problems, and therefore a great entrepreneurial opportunity, is that workers are often afraid to give up their employment contracts with companies because of things like 401-Ks, health insurance, stock purchase plans etc. If someone could figure out a way for independent workers to be able to save for retirement (similar to 401-Ks), buy health insurance and build wealth with equity participation, you may see more independent workers involved in collaborative “Noded” work.

Simon Mackie

Yes, I agree — as we move into a future where more and more people are effectively freelancers this is a going to be an increasingly important issue.

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