Future of Work

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Redefining Work for New Value: The Next Opportunity

Investing in job redesign without first planning for and investing in redefining work narrows future outcomes and limits opportunities for both growth and long-term value creation. Understanding the relationship between these two approaches to work is essential to any strategic effort to compete over the long term.

Creating the Symbiotic AI Workforce of the Future

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

To effectively implement AI, organizations will need to use human-centered AI processes that motivate and retrain workers, which shifts the focus from automation to collaboration between humans and machines. To test that idea, an experiment was designed to see how human workers might augment an existing AI system and embrace their new roles as AI trainers — resulting in a symbiotic system that enabled humans and AI to each work to their strengths.

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Hacking Inequality at Home

Working couples are turning to technology to divide household labor more equitably. But the results have been mixed. Those who treat chore-management apps as the solution to imbalance often jump straight to implementation, making things worse. A better approach is to first have probing conversations about the underlying forces driving imbalance in the relationship. These discussions aren’t easy, but they form the basis of a deal, and then the couple can use technology to help make it happen.

How Cities Should Prepare for Artificial Intelligence

A key driver of AI’s role in the global economy will be how cities deal with technological developments. Many cities plan to become “smart cities” armed with AI-driven processes, like AI-based traffic control systems. But simply adopting these new technologies won’t be enough to guarantee their success. Like organizations and education experts, cities need to assess and prepare for AI-related skills gaps.

The New Role for Managers in Workplace Learning

  • Read Time: 4 min 

A recent survey found that managers do not as a rule encourage or enable employee learning. In the evolving skill-centered economy, that needs to change — but many companies simply have no process in place to support re-skilling and upskilling. Simply imposing an education plan for employees isn’t enough. Managers also need to support, encourage, offer feedback, and lead by example if employees are to gain needed skills that will benefit the company long term.

New Frontiers in Re-skilling and Upskilling

Everyone at some point will have to spend time either reskilling (learning new skills for a new position) or upskilling (learning current tasks more deeply). Embracing this idea requires an individual sense of agency, but corporations also have to step up. There are promising pilots underway: Some companies are figuring out how to engage on this issue, to the advantage of both individuals and the businesses themselves.

The Digital Future of Strawberries

Technology may hold the answer to two of the knottiest problems faced by the U.S. economy — the shortage of farm labor and the excess of vehicle traffic. But there’s a flip side: It also enables surveillance so widespread and intrusive, companies can track even our heartbeats — and the data collected by these sensors is far from secure.

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Sponsor's Content | Extending the Digital Workplace: How an Empowered Workforce Can Help Utilities Respond to Crises

  • MIT SMR Connections | Content Commissioned for Tata Consultancy Services

Utility companies are tapping tech to help their employees respond to challenging conditions such as crises scenarios caused by extreme weather or aging infrastructure. They must keep the different needs of a diverse workforce in mind when they deliver workplace technology, especially to those in the field who ensure reliable service. Here, an industry executive and a scholar suggest key considerations for the utilities digital workplace.

Train Your People to Think in Code

The future of work will entail thinking not just analytically, but also algorithmically — so companies need to retrain workers for writing code, not formulas. Organizations that manage to make code the natural language for diffusing analysis across their organizations can often grow and innovate faster than their peers.

Revisiting the Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Create

It can be easy to get caught up in all the uncertainty and speculation around the future of automation, but when we focus on the future, we may fail to see what’s happening right in front of us. In this audio interview, MIT SMR editor in chief Paul Michelman revisits the work of Accenture researchers Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson to discuss what’s changed in the AI landscape and what leaders should be thinking about next.

How Managers Can Best Support a Gig Workforce

The rise of digital giants in the gig economy has brought new scrutiny to how companies should manage contingent workers. This new landscape offers new flexibility and opportunity, but workers also face unpredictability, with inconsistent incomes and scant benefits. Companies and managers can take three practical measures to help support these workers in the future.

Getting Your Employees Ready for Work in the Age of AI

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

How can companies and employees find common ground when it comes to skill development and investment in AI capabilities? To start, senior executives should seek clarity around capability gaps and determine which skills their people need. From there, leaders should take an approach that advances those skills for human-AI collaboration.

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Five Insights From Davos on the Future of Work

  • Read Time: 5 min 

At the 2019 gathering of the World Economic Forum, much of the conversation was about the need for re-skilling and inclusive education, and the ongoing gender gap in the world of technology. Lynda Gratton, a professor of management practice at London Business School, attended the Davos conference as a steward of the World Economic Forum Council on Work, Education and Gender, and shares her insights from the meeting.

It’s Time to Make Paternity Leave Work

  • Read Time: 8 min 

Longer life spans are the new normal, and many people alive today will live to be 100 years old. How will we use that time? One option: Rather than working full time for decades and then spending our later years with our grandchildren, we could redistribute some of that projected time from our 60s and 70s into our earlier decades and spend more of it with our children. For fathers in particular, this would be a radical life decision.

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