20/10/2011

By Luis Suarez, Social Evangelist, IBM

As a result of John Tropea’s recent, wonderful, blog post, which I have blogged about on elsua.net, there has been an interesting and rather refreshing conversation developing on the side over at Google+ around the topics of business processes, BRP (Barely Repeatable Processes), the role of traditional hierarchies and structures in today’s work environment and where learning fits in.

It’s thanks to these G+ conversations that I keep bumping into golden nuggets - such as the one by Dennis Callahan around “The Future of Work“, which he shared in the conversation mentioned above.

Posts like these have continued to raise my interest around the topic of The Future of Work and how social networking and social computing tools are helping redefine how we view and interact at work within a corporate environment to make it much more open, transparent, trustworthy, networked, meaningful.

Well, it looks like that interest keeps growing further, especially after going through that fantastic article put together by Dennis where he has shared 19 different enlightening and educational resources on the future of work, ranging from links to insightful blog entries, to short video clips, presentations, etc. Quite a goldmine on its own right there, for sure!

However, out of all of those resources mentioned by him, which I would strongly recommend you go through, there is one in particular that I thought I would expand on further. More than anything else, it resonated with how I view work myself, and, perhaps much more importantly, it accurately describes the current work I have been doing myself - as well as a whole bunch of other people - for the last few years. And I’m still going strong...

Time and time again I keep getting asked what my work day as a KMer, Community Builder and Social Computing Evangelist looks like, especially while working at IBM, a large IT corporation that has been there, alive and kicking, for the last 100 years. At times, it presents a bit of a challenge in itself, since I guess it’s pretty tough to try to describe what you are passionate about in an eloquent manner: too many things to cover in such a short time!

Well, T.A. McCann, founder of Gist.com, just did that beautifully for me in a short interview with the suggestive title of “The Future of Work Is Now“. It’s a priceless gem, for certain! If we have been talking a little about The Future of the Workplace, about what meaningful, networked, freelanced, intrapreneurial (corporate) work is all about, T.A. McCann pretty much nails it on this short interview. I just couldn’t put it in better words myself. Take a look and, judge for yourselves.

Mind-blowing, isn’t it? Who would have thought that in the future of work, concepts like multiple jobs across a working lifetime, having fun @ work, an end to the work-life balance issue, retirement no longer existing, doing your best effort at all times, connecting and reaching out to others who share a common passion on a particular topic / goal, learning as a key driver of working together effectively, etc. would be helping redefine how we view AND live our workplace(s)? And all of that thanks to the emergence of social networking tools within the enterprise and beyond? Not too bad, right?

I am not sure what you folks think: probably that I am a dreamer or someone trying to live to the fullest in an unrealistic, utopian business world that will never see the light of day, especially in today’s business climate. Perhaps I’m too optimistic, too outrageously excited and too eager for what’s to come. Well, maybe, maybe not - who knows?

The reality is that this is the current work environment I have been living, experiencing AND enjoying for the last couple of years, and I know for certain I am not the only one going through this, so I doubt it will be a dream any longer. Rather, an ever-growing reality.

It’s a matter for us, knowledge workers, to define how we want to make it work for ourselves; basically, we as knowledge workers need to create and define our own ideal job role(s) and get down to business. After all, remember (as oDesk predicted in this 2009 video on the future of work), “Individuals will have more freedom and power than ever before”.


This article originally appeared on Luis’ blog, Elsua.net You can follow Luis on Twitter @elsua


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