The future of business is collaborative, communicative and interactive
Business will be built like a community, on a community
TODAY is a time of rapid change, and the old models and ways of doing things are in flux as never before.
One of the main drivers of this is of course the disruption brought about by technology, which then disrupts business models and culture. However, this change can also be viewed as an exciting opportunity for organisations to grow and evolve.
That said, in order do so, we have to understand key trends that are shaping the future.
In April, we at Hyper Island in Singapore gathered a number of thinkers and leaders from various fields, including communications, marketing, design, and data analytics, at our annual Industry Forum to take a pulse on the trends in the areas of human behaviour, business, talent and technology which are poised to shape the outcomes of how we work, live and play over the next three years.
So what did we find? Here is a snapshot of some of the more interesting ones we unearthed:
Collaboration is the future of working
Driven by the combined forces of technology innovation and the rising diversity of the talent pool, collaboration will become the future of working.
One thing we can predict with 100% certainty is that technology will change just about every facet of our lives, including how we work.
In the future, technology will be more purposefully designed and people-centric, connecting everyone at anytime and anywhere to enable rich human interactions. It will lay the foundation for a more advanced connected workforce to collaborate and build relationships.
As a result, over the next few years, workers will become more comfortable and flexible in transitioning between generalist and specialist roles because of the hybrid knowledge they will acquire.
The concentration of skills available on demand guarantees companies instant access to talent, and there may be no need to employ or to be employed as it becomes easier to monetise individual competence.
We are already seeing this trend today with more and more full-time freelancers acting as their own companies. Freelancers and temp staff make up nearly 15% of the workforce today, and by 2020 it is expected to be nearly 20%.
Over time, this trend will drive businesses to transform from closed organisations pursuing linear strategies to open platforms progressing through iteration, leveraging an open network of talent and resources.
Knowledge-based collaboration will also lead to more chances for innovation.
In recent years, a slew of mobile and cloud-based tools such as Microsoft’s Office 365 have created new opportunities to improve communications and collaborations. Savvy companies like Kennametal have tapped such tools to improve productivity and unlock the collective knowledge of their workforce.
Business is built like a community, on a community
The future of business is collaborative, communicative and interactive. It will be about empowering the entire organisation to create value for one another, much like how members of a community help each other through the added value provided by each member.
The more people and business collaborate, the higher the chance for like-minded people to gather and form communities, creating clusters or ‘herds’ of interests, such as Uber, AirBnB or Craigslist where the community is the business.
Such businesses are likely to be mission-driven, offering personalised products and services that are better integrated with people’s needs, which made possible by digital technologies and algorithms.
New orders in corporate structure and culture
In collaborative business models, the attitude of a startup is going to become the dominating culture, where we can expect short cycles of product development and constant experimentation. Problems will be solved in an interactive manner allowing for flexibility and accelerated reinvention.
The ‘Uberisation of everything’ will enable businesses to run with a lean structure, being light in fixed assets, which means that people will be the single most important asset in the future of business.
With that, the old notion of corporations that are run from the top-down will likely go out of the window as the power base in organisations shifts from management to the employee.
But that said, making the transition to collaborative businesses will not be an easy process. First and foremost, you have to have the strong will and right mindset to do it, which requires organisations to examine their culture and beliefs, organisational design and technological infrastructure before committing to any collaborative partnership.
Following that, companies must then establish the right collaboration model to safeguard intellectual properties and profits.
Christina Andersson is managing director of Hyper Island Singapore. Hyper Island is a private tertiary institution and educational company specialising in real-world industry training using digital technology.
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