The Roman

time.com: “Even Millennials Want Face Time at Work”

Time.com has highlighted a couple of studies that reference the desire for face-to-face meetings whatever the generation:

What both studies also demonstrate is that while technology may be wonderful, efficient, and convenient, the benefits are limited. We innately need to be around other people. As good as technology gets, we still value in-person meetings highly. No matter what generation we’re talking about, the vast majority of employees don’t want to be alone, isolated from coworkers and managers. I worked from home for four years, and it was a huge challenge as a business owner. So now I have an office, and the expense has been worth every penny.

Even Millennials Want Face Time at Work

There’s a broad assumption that as Generation-Y and Generation-Z (who are really the post-millenials) enter the workforce their use of technology will negate the need for meetings and workplaces where people can meet in person.

The future might look different, but for now, technology hasn’t replaced that deep-felt need for people to meet in person. Nor has it replaced the need for engaging workplaces.

Street of Tokyo

Because it’s Friday: Eye know – A Kaleidoscopic Journey through Tokyo

There are loads of first-person videos showing scenes as people travel through cities at night.

This one goes a bit further turning journeys through the streets of Tokyo into wonderful kaleidoscopic images.

A kaleidoscope was one of my favourite toys as a child, so it’s great to relive that experience in a different form:

By Hiroshi Kondo

Chatsworth Pathway

“Google for Work” – Reflecting the Shift in Work

This week Google has announced that it is re-branding Google Enterprise to Google for Work.

Just a simple name change? Just re-branding?

Perhaps Enterprise reflect something stodgy and old-fashioned since for Work reflects something more active (or whatever the marketing phrase might be)?

Here’s an example of press commentary from The Verge:

Enterprise is a boring word. Like, immediately-avert-your-eyes kind of boring. And it seems that Google has gotten the picture. Today it announced that Google Enterprise is bring renamed Google for Work, a much friendlier name that actually does a better job of describing what the product is — a series of tools for, you know, work, rather than whatever a nebulous enterprise is.

Organisations tend to re-brand for a reason, and the reason behind the Google for Work re-branding is that work has changed and is changing.

Here’s an extract from the Telegraph:

The move, part of a new focus on its business offering, is a reaction against the “enterprise” tag, which has become synonymous with slow-moving, outdated technology.

“Google for Work covers not just traditional business but also skills and education. Enterprise alone doesn’t fit these different communities,” Thomas Davies, head of Google for Work in Northern Europe, told the Telegraph.

“The time of ‘enterprise technology’ is in the past. This is a statement to the market. The term ‘enterprise’ will not be relevant within the next two years.

According to Mr Davies, a “consumerisation” of technology has been taking place in the workplace over the last 10 years.

Eric Schmidt said it like this in the official announcement:

Work today is very different from 10 years ago. Cloud computing, once a new idea, is abundantly available, and collaboration is possible across offices, cities, countries and continents. Ideas can go from prototype to development to launch in a matter of days. Working from a computer, tablet or phone is no longer just a trend—it’s a reality. And millions of companies, large and small, have turned to Google’s products to help them launch, build and transform their businesses, and help their employees work the way they live. In other words, work is already better than it used to be.

There are a number of posts on this site about how the world of work is changing and this change in the market is what Google is reflecting:

In this last of that sample of articles I highlighted a set of UK statistics that clearly demonstrated a massive shift from large organisations to small organisations and sole traders. People within large organisations are working differently also, using Outside-In approaches to getting work done.

PWC describe the reshaping of the working environment as three worlds:

  • Blue World – Corporate is king
  • Green World – Companies care
  • Orange World – Small is beautiful

Each of these worlds provides a lens through which to see the changes. In the Orange World this is what is happening:

In the Orange World organisations fragment into looser networks of autonomous, often specialised operations. Technology helps to bring these networks together, often on a task-by-task basis, with social media heightening the connectivity upon which this world depends.

Supply chains are built from complex, organic associations of specialist providers, varying greatly from region to region and market to market. Looser, less tightly regulated clusters of companies are seen to work more effectively than their larger and potentially more unwieldy counterparts.

These Orange World organisations (and Green World) work in dramatically different ways to current Blue World organisations and there are going to be many-many more of them in the future. That is what Google mean when they say “The term ‘enterprise’ will not be relevant within the next two years” and that is why it’s now Google for Work.

Creative Commons – Keeping it Open

Here in Great Britain in the 18th century there was a need to protect authors and artists, and publishers, from blatant copying of material by the new technology of the printing press. Our solution was to create a set of measures that form the basis of what we know today as copyright. Other nations followed and eventually we had a near global system of control.

Most of us see the copyright symbol – © – hundreds of times every day, it’s ubiquitous. Understanding of and regard for it is a different matter, people pay varying degrees of attention to it.

I’m comfortable with the concept of protecting people’s income for original work, but I don’t regard my writing on this blog as needing that level of protection. It doesn’t cost me very much to publish so I’m not seeking to protect a high level of investment either. Fortunately, there is an alternative to copyright.

Creative Commons Licensing

If you look to the bottom of this page you will find a section that currently looks like this:

Creative Commons License

This is the license I have chosen for these meagre ramblings. If you click on the link it will take you to a page that explains the license in a human-readable summary format. This explanation shows in broad terms what I am happy for you to do with the information you find contained within and in what context.

Copyright© is basically either all rights reserved or public domain. Creative Commons, however, comes with a set of options. In my case the options roughly translate to:

  • You are free to:
    • Share the material
    • Adapt the material
  • On the condition that:
    • You give me credit
    • It’s for non-commercial purposes
    • You share under the same license as the original if you remix, transform or build upon the material

To put it another way. I’m happy for you to use the material, to share it and even adapt it, but I don’t see why you should make money out of my efforts and hence ask you to share your work under the same licence. Also, it would be good if you gave me some form of credit for the work you have used.

Each of these options can be made either more, or less, restrictive.

I tend to think that it’s better to be open than closed and that is what Create Commons allows me to be, without giving everything away. If I was really being open I would allow Commercial work also, which is something I am thinking about, at Creative Commons they call this Free Cultural Works.

The concept of open is a powerful one and gaining traction all the time, but that’s probably best covered wider on another day.

Creative Commons is integrated into a number of other services.  If you want to search in Google, for instance, for material released under creative commons then you can do so in Advance Search. The same is true on Flickr so I also post my pictures under Creative Commons.

Gaddings Dam

Is my job going to be computerised?

One of the questions I’ve been pondering during my work on the Productive Workplace has been the question of how many job types will still exist in the future with many being wholly or partially automated through computerisation. There’s no point in creating a workplace for an activity that’s been automated after all.

It’s clear that different jobs will be affected in different ways. Some things that humans do today can already be done more effectively by a machine; other things are more of a challenge to the machines.

Carl Frey and Michael Osborne from Oxford University have undertaken a study to try to predict what they impact might be:

THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO COMPUTERISATION?

(We refer to computerisation as job automation be means of computer-controlled equipment)

In this study they assessed 702 different occupations (in the US) and assigned to them a probability of being computerised. From this they estimated the number of jobs that would be affected by that probability. The headline result was that:

“about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk”.

The probability of computerisation is based on a number of current bottlenecks: perception and manipulation, creative intelligence, social intelligence.

Computerisation Bottlenecks

The higher the need for these skills the less likely it is to be automated. We need to be clear here that a bottleneck is simply that, it constrains entry, it doesn’t eliminate it. The other aspect of bottlenecks is that it’s not permanent and will be eroded over time. Technology is moving forward at a rapid pace and areas currently high in bottlenecks will be affected by other areas where bottlenecks are less impacting.

The results of this assessment for the US population are as follows:

Probability of Computerisation

This is a massive simplification of the work that they have done, but it’s enough to give clear indications of where the impact is heading.

Jerry Bowles has recently published on bruegel.org a utilisation of this study which assessed its impact in European countries (the original was US). This suggests a different impact for different European countries based on the mix of jobs and their susceptibility to computerisation.

As you can see countries in Northern Europe are less susceptible to those in the South because of the mix of jobs.

From a personal perspective, while my actual role isn’t defined in the appendix of the report similar jobs are, and they appear in the low probability section which would align with what I understand. Although, there is much of my current role that will be heavily affected by computerisation.

If you’d like more information you can, of course, read the study, alternatively you might like to watch this: