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Future Workplace, hits and misses by Microsoft Research

 This article on the future of the workforce gets some things right and many things wrong, here's my break down of their 10 item list.

1) It goes more than just measuring sentiment of emotional contentment at work, it's about enabling people to work when they are most energized to do so while still extracting optimal performance. Action Oriented Workflow is the first technology that does the latter of all the proposed solutions I've so far seen.

This is explained the maximize your value article:

2) The right information will find us, correct.  The UI for work is precisely where you want to be capturing all that "action" data about who is doing what on what business object and when. This allows deep insight into patterns of action that allows the ability to calculate in a predictive fashion how to route new work, again AOW and the extensions I added in the last few months is the only general solution that does this now. A worker should not need to know who the next step of some workflow is going to, the system should figure who is best and route the work on for them. A social oversight then allows manual course corrections if needed but the main routing task should be completely autonomous thanks to the visibility into per user action at the interface. If a user can work from their preferred location than formal office location becomes moot to most workers...who will chose to work from home or where they wish.

I explained this in my telepresent work force article from 2006.

3) No, the environment will be a minor factor, the social infrastructure is where the true value of strategy will be unleashed. When ideas are proposed socially, people are more likely to submit their ideas...and a consensus of evaluation of ideas can lead to selecting the best idea over the one that is proposed by the person with the most intimidating title or booming voice. A properly socially connected workforce is more dynamic to engaging innovations proposed by people at all levels in the organization.

4) Agreed, via their real time action broadcasts of what they are doing.

5) "action" can be captured on any device, the generalization provided by AOW makes it ideal for enabling real world events to be reported into the system for analysis.

6) Yes, and the work environment is down played the connection between work actions by autonomous discovery and routing will trump on sight methods. It is far more efficient.

7) Gamification is a key way to inspire motivation, tie actions completed directly to compensation and create a formal and rigorous bonus dismemberment model. 100% agree.

8) Relationships will be built indirectly, if I can get the guy in Shanghai to submit a proposal I wrote up that needs to go live tomorrow...I shouldn't need to know his name to route him that work to do..if he is available and electing to do that work and the system deems him the best person to do it with alacrity. So yes relationship building will increase but it will be agnostic relationship building...agnostic to individual identity in most cases...this type is the most efficient over large work forces.

9) It is more important that individuals are given the freedom to chose when they wish to be creative than to worry about making the sharing of ideas more smooth. The sharing part will come and a social discussion forum across the workforce will separate wheat from chaff, I posit more detailed solutions are not necessary and are more expensive than valuable to implement.

10) As indicated in the telepresent workforce article, technologies described in this point are going to be more useful for the executive and management levels of business who are more likely to actually come into work for deal creating and customer contact purposes. If the bulk of the workforce is "emancipated" to work on their own schedule such amenities will not need be needed in more than just one place...that place where the deal makers meet the customers to close deals.


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