By Dean Whittaker

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on the Future of Work with John Karras, Senior Consultant at TIP Strategies, which took place at the International Economic Development Council Future Forum held in Buffalo, New York on Sunday, June 24th.

John shared with the participants the changes occurring in the workplace. He mentioned the increase in co-working space that is bringing about changes in commercial real estate, such as WeWork, who provides short-term shared work environments. He said that there is a fundamental shift in work towards flexibility and being part of more collaborative work environments. There is also an uptick in socially-responsible business models following Millennial’s desire to do good while making money. For-profit firms have a social mission as well as a desire to earn a profit. He cited examples of Austin, Texas’s BuiltinAustin and Ashville, North Carolina’s Collider as communities preparing for the future of work in the development of co-working space.

For my portion, I lead a discussion on “How to Think Like a Futurist” (book by Cecily Sommers) and using the STEEP (Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political) framework for spotting trends in work and the opportunities they provide. The main focus was on the changes taking place in our work culture, the accelerating rate of change driven by technology, the need for continuous learning to stay relevant in the workplace, climate change/extreme weather, and the preparation for going to war.

Here’s a link to my STEEP trend analysis for the Future of Work. What are your thoughts?