Business Innovator and Catalyst
At what stage do we have to redefine the term ‘working differently’? By its very definition, different implies that there are people that have redefined the way they work that is different to the rest. Thanks to our new friend COVID-19, these ‘different’ ones are no longer different, as we are all working differently − and if we are all different, then we are all actually the same.
If different is the new black, then what is the new different?
Working differently was all about working fewer hours, doing more in less work time at a time that suits us. 2020 has accelerated this shift to focusing on getting the job done (in our own space and time) rather than focusing on being seen to get the job done (at a predefined place in dictated times). So, where to from here?
If my years of running innovation programmes and looking into corporate crystal balls for a living has taught me anything, it is to think analytically, draw a colourful graph and then expect an outlier to disrupt everything.
If we were a plotting a colourful ‘working differently’ graph:
- The x-axis would be time (with 0 being slave to the corporate machine and 10 being a free spirit with a perpetually green money tree).
- The y-axis would be getting things that needed to be done, done (with 0 being achieved nothing and 10 being Nobel Peace Prizes and Zoom call high fives).
If we analyse our current working differently trajectory, it would be on an upwards and to the right trend indicating more time to ourselves, with more work being done. Sounds simple enough, but how? This is where logical and considered answers like ‘self-development’, ‘post-degree education’, ‘life coach’, etc, should find themselves neatly in the graph’s trajectory as plausible solutions.
I personally am going to back an outlier, the dot that barely even features on the graph. I am going to go with NeuraLink (or something similar). NeuraLink is Elon Musk’s latest venture, which is developing implantable brain–machine interfaces. At a public event in August 2020, Musk describes them: ‘It’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull, with tiny wires.’ Musk foresees that in the future people will plug in before they go to sleep to power up their implants. He noted that implants need to be easy to install and remove, so that people can get new ones as technology improves. He suggests that the answer to progressing the human race forward lies in embedding AI in our brains to shift change our ability. Could these brain upgrades release the next wave of people working differently, working by enhancement?
I personally would consider an implant if there are any further changes to IRFS 17 …
The next step?
Working differently is the new black. The next step change in working differently may be leveraging AI through brain implants chips, upgrading our minds much like we regularly upgrade our mobiles and PCs. Then again maybe not, maybe the next ‘working differently will be the ones that are committed to the 9−5 and love fulfilling the cog in the corporate machine role.