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Meaning of Work in our Lives?

Turbulent Times

Every narrative about 2023 is laced with difficulty in economic conditions done in by the triple whammy of uncontrolled Inflation, Debt Burden and Unemployment . As we gingerly ease away from the lockdowns to a free flow of traffic across the Planet with the specter of Covid still looming large on our heads, we have not yet come to terms on how to deal with the exceptions of life. Especially when they threaten to implode with irretrievable consequences. Learning has been a major problem and this needs to be addressed with the greatest urgency in every nook and corner of the planet without exception.

There can never be a global lockdown again. Risk Assurance and Resilience must become edifice of the emerging Creator’s Economy.

The Meaning of Work

We need to Learn and Act upon the concept that turning Passive Consumers into Active Contributors is the most critical singular objective that must occupy the imagination of Individuals, Industries and Institutions. Preparedness to Learn is the first step of mobilization in the right direction.

Learn what to transform into before beginning to build the skills for that Transformation and the Innovation to follow. Not more of the same but a different way to progress into the future leaving behind the habits and conditioning of the past. Because this digital future nothing like the past or even the present we live in.

The greatest quest of a human life has always been the search for one's Identity. And it is the work we do that identifies us. Work that not only fulfills the need for generating an Income but also what helps serve the larger good of the society.

Two narrative dominated US in 2022 in the beginning and towards the end of the year. The first was “The Great Resignation” and the second was “Quiet Quitting” respectively. And it quickly caught on in other parts of the world. In a space of 12 months, from People realizing they could do better with their lives to quietly settling somehow doesn’t add up. In a society such as the US that affords Social Security as do other Western Societies, these two extremes of Workforce Expression is a very poor reflection of the human maturity. In developing societies such as India, Africa and others, it is hard to relate to these terms but they do play out even here to the limited small percentage that operates as the backoffice to these very same work environments of the west.

The UN predicts that India will overtake China to be the most populous country in the World by April 2023. India will also have the most working age population in the world. But 90% of Work in India is unorganized.

Organizing, Prioritizing, Quantizing

China presents the greatest lessons of being able to Organize for work. However, it also presents the learning of how a democratized workforce can be an asset long term more than the short term it’s mastering of resources has served.

The organization of work needs to move out from the limited boundaries of a conventional enterprise into a Glocal (Globally Local) ecosystem. This becomes the basis for defining Roles and Humanizing Technology. Which means extending the Processes that is translated into the Flow of Work (Both Operations & Innovation), Information and Intelligence in real time. The constraints of Privacy & Security must be overcome with Participation and Immersion of the Universe of Customers inclusively. Only then can we deliver both efficacy and efficiencies to the Values of Solution and Application.

There is a fundamental need to Know a lot more about what we don’t know. The technologies of machine learning and Intelligence (Both artificial and cognitive) are meant for Orchestrating to the Ideas of what we don’t know. Not conditioning of Collective Illusion to the ideas and concepts of what we know. The sensory, IOT and Scanning technologies complementing capturing data at source. How can we benefit if we cannot connect them to the flow of a knowing and relating to the new?

Job Versus Work

This is not the first time in the history of our planet that we face the challenge of skills. There are 4 generations of demography that are conventionally considered employable:

  1. GenZ (18–25) shaped a Post 9/11 and Covid Pandemic troubled World entirely living by an online world.

  2. GenY (25–40) shaped by a dotcom bust, Covid Pandemic and Curiously following Online World.

  3. GenX (40–60) shaped by AIDS infected, the fall of Berlin Wall, first hand experience of the dotcom bust and desperately trying to catch up with the Online world.

  4. Baby Boomers (60+) shaped by Wars, TV, Radio and duty to family wary of the online world.

To this above mix, the GenA (08 -18) is a MUST add to leap forward along with GenZ to a digital world that is shaped by new Ideas / Concepts that breaks the conventional thinking of Job as relating to Employment versus Work as relating to Empowerment; as an Intrapreneur, Entrepreneur and / or Solopreneur. This is the construct that will change the Pace and Parity of Transformation that is so desperately needed to create a better world.

In a democratic world, where the emphasis shifts from Education to Learning in Action, the shifting demographic has the potential not being burdened by baggage and working with New Resources, Materials and Energy without constraints. Forcing the other demographic segments to catch up and stay tuned. And then there is that 90% that did not have access that becomes part of a Powered Workforce that finds work meaningful.

Design Thinking and Designing the Flow of Work

No one can argue that we are entering an age of platforms. Transportation in the previous era gave rise to platforms such as the Airports, Seaports, Railway Stations to revolutionize life. The progression of Internet from an Asynchronous to a Synchronous and now enmeshed Network presents a similar opportunity to create platforms that Connects the Flow of Work from Creation to Consumption across the life stations of Environment, Education, Health, Wealth, Mobility, Technology and Governance.

The greatest opportunities in creating solutions for a Sustainable World are in the interconnection of the seven stations of life. Humanity needs to rewire its thinking to this potential. That is the Aspiration that needs to be brought into the realm of Thinking.

Design has so far catered to the Products and Applications of only the Needs and Wants of People. Not to the Aspirations. It is in this context that Workforces and Workplaces will need better Environment & Tools to shape new Engagements and Experiences that are digital; allowing shared collaboration. Bringing work that is in the dimensions of Meaning, Creation, Sustaining and Celebrating Life with fused intelligence.

Empowerment must be seen through the lens of the Individual; powering the Passion to Create. And Individual must be energized by Technology and Governance that has the principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at heart.

Without trying to water down the challenges of where we have arrived at 2023, this would be a fantastic opportunity for each one of us to look at this as a willing contributor to the Creation and Sustenance of A New Era. Hopefully, we will all get onboard for this new exciting journey. Let’s begin the countdown for the launch.

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