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The future of work, according to London Business School's Lynda Gratton


Businesses around the world need to have a deeper understanding of the forces impacting work in order to craft a positive future, according to new research.

London Business School's professor, Lynda Gratton, ran the third and final f2f event in Phase 1 of her research consortium on The Future of Work this week.

The Future of Work brought together 200 executives from corporations including Nokia, BT Global Services, NHS, Save the Children, World Vision International, Thomson Reuters, Colt, Novo Nordisk, Ferrero, Mahindra & Mahindra, Nomura, RBS, ABSA, Novartis, Unilever, Randstad , SAP, ThoughtWorks, Singaporean Ministry of Manpower, ARM and Tata Consulting Group.

The methodology used by the research consortium is the first to use a methodology of co-creation that brings together academia and practice around an online community portal.

Speaking at the launch event, Gratton said: "What's clear is that crafting the positive future will require executives around the world to make some tough decisions and actions. However, to do this they need a deep understanding of the forces impacting organisations and work; a set of ideas and action-oriented tools about what they can do; and the will and courage to make this happen.

 "The big companies of the future won't be where innovation takes place. They'll be producing and marketing, and innovation will take place in small businesses. We're already seeing this trend in the pharmaceutical industry.

"The ever-connected world is bringing about a different need for collaboration and with it a new perception of diversity and empathy as we'll be getting ‘close up' to a lot of people whom we would never have got to know before. I therefore predict that we'll see a lot more empathy."

A Phase 2 of the Future of Work Consortium at the Hot Spots Research Institute will begin in October 2010 and will focus on

1.     Development of a talent pool and leadership cadre that is ‘future proofed'

2.     The means by which organisations can build and support the communities, networks and ecosystems that are so crucial for the future

3.     The implications for those functions and groups tasked with delivering the future of work - in particular, the learning, organisational development and human resource functions

4.     How to craft the teams and collaborative working in a world that is increasingly virtual