Information and skills will reshape the teams that innovation leaders deploy, World Economic Forum co-head of Future of the Internet Initiative Mark Spelman told C-suite executives from human resources, finance and technology at a recent event organised by search specialists BIE.
Discussing the impact of digital technology on organisations and employees Spelman said the needs of employees and the levels of information being generated are the driving forces behind the digital impact on business.
“The volumes of information is changing the way we think about business and therefore that is changing the way we interact with our customers,” Spelman said. “Real time information feeds customisation,” he said in an analogy of customisation being akin to the UK’s thriving microbrewery sector.
“Digital can sound techie, but the human interface is really really important as digital is changing a lot of people’s assumptions of success”.
Spelman said the rising information levels were not only an opportunity for organisations to understand more about their customers and their operations, but the increasing availability of information empowered consumers.
“Today is a world of transparency, there is nowhere to hide. As transparency goes up, trust goes down. There is no global governance anymore; the United Nations and the G20 are legitimate, but they are not efficient anymore,” the World Economic Forum member said. Spelman painted a picture of an economy far more individualistic where consumers and employees made many smaller more distinct decisions, which will drive the need for organisations to be personalised and reactive to each customer’s needs.
Employees will become a form of consumer too as the world of work becomes unbundled in much the same way as a low cost flight has.
“Over the next five years five million mid-management jobs will be going,” he said, adding that the workforce would become “fluid”.
“What digital is doing is breaking down work. If you can break a job down then you can match the skills to the right people,” Spelman said of how processes will be tackled by a variety of different teams and skills to create different outcomes. He described how organisations like Deloitte have a growing technology team in their taxation business breaking apart processes to create different outcomes.
For business leaders Spelman said it will become crucial to “tap into the human cloud and tap into the expertise you need”. The advisor added that even innovative and “go to” employers like Facebook and Google have staff bored and registering on Gigster and Upwork to find new challenges.
“Young people today are thinking about three different jobs in a day because the human cloud is a different way of working. This is going to be a world of collaboration, so you will need people with good emotional intelligence.”