Reflection on Global Drucker Forum 2015: Work, human potential and technology
by Khuyen Bui

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“Global Peter Drucker Forum is not so much about better answers as it is about better questions” — Richard Straub   Any discussion about technology invariably has some forms of “What is in the future?” question. What changes will technology have in our lives and professions, how should we be prepared, what will happen to us?   The attitude behind these questions must be a proactive one. There is a big difference between “concern” and “worry”; only the former allows for practical actions. As Peter Drucker said, “The only way to predict the future is to create it”. Technology co-evolves with humans. For anything humans do, we can imagine machines replacing us: the ability to judge and make decisions, […]

The Trains to Hope
by Henry Mintzberg and Wolfgang Müller

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HM:  I have been writing in these TWOGs about the role of the plural sector in rebalancing society: first to recognize that it must take its place alongside the sectors called public and private (hence calling it “plural”, rather than civil society), and second to realize that the restoration of such balance will depend especially on this sector. The private sector is too powerful these days and the public sector overwhelmed by that power.   Some people don’t get the idea of the plural sector, perhaps because it has been so marginalized by the great debates over left versus right—private sector markets versus public sector governments. Where to put the plural sector, comprising all these community-based and other […]

A Moment Of Truth
by Isabella Mader

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The On-Demand Economy provides a preview of where society is going: now and more so in the future typically employed work will be sourced from platforms: graphics design, secretarial services, programming … Logical consequence will be a strong increase of freelance work. In 2015, in the US more than 40 percent of the workforce were in insecure contingent jobs [1]. Employment is slowly going to erode and companies will shrink to a strategic core of managers who source most work from platforms.   In addition, such commoditized labour experiences a globalization of competition (unless it’s bound to a site like taxi driving). Crowdworkers (freelancers on platforms) will also not have a work contract, but sign […]

Claiming Our Humanity in a Digital Age: Big Questions in Vienna
by David Hurst

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The theme of the 2015 Drucker Forum that ended in Vienna two weeks ago was “Claiming Our Humanity: Managing in a Digital Age”. Nearly 500 management academics, business people and management consultants from all over the world attended the two-day conference in Vienna.   The preliminary events began with a CEO Roundtable on the afternoon of Wednesday November 6. The opening ‘provocation’ was supplied by Tom Davenport and Julia Kirby’s June 2015 Harvard Business Review article “Beyond Automation”. In it they address the threat that artificial intelligence in the form of smart machines is encroaching on knowledge work to such an extent that it will lead to widespread unemployment. In the past machines took over […]

Entrepreneurs are self-centred
by Nick Hixson

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A reflection on some aspects of the Global Drucker Forum 2015, with thoughts pertaining to the 2016 Forum theme: The Entrepreneurial Society   …by which I mean they have self-belief, self-control, and self-actualisation.   But they’re not the solution to rising unemployment caused by the rise of machines. We heard a lot at the recent Drucker Forum about the rise of machines, and how natural monopolies are being eliminated as competitive advantages erode quicker. Stability is not normal any more.   So we can plan our societies for reducing levels of employment, and find things for people to fill their time with, together with a socially inclusive way of allowing them to fulfil their needs […]

In The Creative Economy, Mindsets Matter More Than Technology
by Steve Denning

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“The world,” writes Alan Murray in Fortune, “is in the midst of a new industrial revolution.” The “frictionless corporation” of the 21st Century is “driven by technology that is connecting everyone and everything, everywhere and all the time.”   What then are the management practices of “the frictionless corporation” that enable “labor, information, and money move easily, cheaply, and almost instantly”?   Over the last year, a group of companies interested in finding out joined together to form a Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy, sponsored by Scrum Alliance, a membership association of more than 400,000 members with the mission of transforming the world of work.   Following nine site visits conducted during the summer […]

Meaningful work
by Jim Keane

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I was speaking this week with a new CEO of a new public company that is just being spun off from their parent company. Imagine all the important tasks on his plate involving investors and customers. And yet he told me his top priority is getting his employees engaged in the mission of their new company and helping them see how their industrial products are really becoming technology products and playing an important role in the lives of their customers.   He’s not alone. Gallup tells us that 87% of global employees are disengaged, so it should be the top priority for every CEO. Since work is fundamental to the human experience, employee engagement is […]

How to make technology more human
by Gianpiero Petriglieri

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One early evening a few weeks ago I went for a walk in the streets of Vienna. I was there for a gathering of Human Resources executives, the third conference I have attended this autumn in which a central theme was the “technological revolution” and its implications for employment, education, and lifestyles.   An hour earlier, while on a panel, I had answered some audience members’ tweets—sparking a minor controversy. Did reading from that tablet on stage enhance or diminish my humanity? Did it make me more connected or disconnected? I was still mulling over it when a row of benches on a side street distracted me.   I turned down it, pulled by a […]