During the Industrial Era, the world of work was largely predictable, with mainly repetitive work tasks that could be defined in a single job description. This all changed during the Knowledge and Information Era, when the technology of the day was being employed to drive production as well as information efficiencies. This meant that creativity and continuous innovation became more important, along with the centrality of ‘the idea’.

Today, we find ourselves in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution – the era of hyperconnectivity in which the biological, physical and technological are absolutely integrated. The winning organisation is the one able to best leverage technological trends such as Artificial Intelligence, big data analytics, machine learning, as well as The Internet of Things and align these to its business outcomes and outputs.

These trends are reshaping the operating environment for businesses and changing how employees work, from where they work (anywhere, using any device, form factor and platform), when they work (anytime), and the skills (hard and soft) that people need to excel within the modern workplace.

Preparing for the new world of work

Businesses, governments and individuals need to drive the preparation of students and their current labour force for the new world of work and help prevent the growth of the talent gap and growing inequality amongst skilled and unskilled workers. This requires the reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers.

In fact, according to the a recent McKinsey Global Institute report entitled Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation, around 375 million employees globally or about 14% of the total worldwide workforce might be required to switch occupational categories by 2030, because of digitisation, automation, and advancements made in AI.

New capacity is required from its workers and, more importantly from its current and future leaders. Developing this new capacity demands an understanding of knowledge as a progress facilitator rather than an end.

Furthermore, organisations must have a willingness to accept risk and embrace change in order to affect both business growth and positive social transformation.