What’s in your crystal ball?

In Improvement on May 25, 2011 at 5:58 am

I could have used the same video I used in my last posting, but we all must change.

I spent the afternoon at Borders reviewing medical device regulations in preparation for a course I’m teaching tomorrow. Unfortunately, that wasn’t very much fun and my productive afternoon quickly degraded into surfing the shelves. The book The 2020 Workplace  caught my eye and I started skimming the beginning and end of the book (see The 80/20 Principle for more information on this technique). The book starts with a fictional story about a new college graduate preparing for their first day of work. The story grabbed my attention and brought to mind all kinds of Star Trek images. The beginning of the book lists ten global factors that are shaping the future workplace. I know this sounds like old news (i.e. – Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat), but this book is much easier to read and it won’t cause dislocation of a vertebrae when you carry it for an extended period. The end of the book, however, is what really convinced me that I need to read this book. The next to last chapter of the book makes 20 predictions about the future workplace. I am convinced that most if not all of these predictions will come to fruition. We’re not talking about flying cars, but these concepts are “game changing.” I suspect that some of these will happen by 2020—if not earlier. Other changes will be much slower to adopt into the mainstream of our workplace, but I think all of these will come to pass—my prediction is that by 2030, 16 out of 20 changes will come to pass. The final chapter is titled, “Get ready for the future workplace.” This chapter is just scary. The medical device industry is ultraconservative and I see the opposite culture in most companies I visit. If the authors are even remotely close on their predictions, every manager in the medtech industry should download their own copy onto their Kindle ASAP. Talented labor will be in acute shortage by 2020. Larger companies will not embrace change and will provide safe havens for aging employees. Start-ups will embrace the change first and capture the “net geners.” Just as the biotechnology industry has reshaped the pharmaceutical industry, the decade from 2020 to 2030 will be a period of rampant change and rapidly accelerating productivity for this industry that is overburdened with paperwork. Read this book, embrace the change, and survive.

PS – Along with my new iPhone I have a new app called “pic2shop.” I used this application to scan the barcodes of books at Borders Books. Every single book I was interested was selling for less than half-the-price on Amazon. If I bought the book for a Kindle, the price was less than a third. This app may single-handedly destroy book stores and drive everyone to electronic books. Change is coming fast!


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