Leaning Into the Future of Work

by Shira Averbuch | 2020–04–08

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Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

A few months ago, in a time before we could have imagined mass distribution of work teams and our new reliance on video conferencing, VentureFuel and AB InBev were planning an in-person happy hour event around the theme of The Future of Work. As our event date approached, we quickly realized we needed to shift to virtual, combining our event management experience with key learnings from the relatively new world of virtual events.

Last week, we brought together corporate innovators, venture partners and startup founders to discuss our changing work environment, how companies both big and small must adapt and what it all means for the education and enrichment of humanity. Here are some of the key topics and takeaways shared by our panelists…

Accelerated Change Post-Pandemic

VP of People Management at AB InBev, Fabio Kapitanovas, shared a great story of his first three jobs, all of which no longer exist. Beyond the laughs and helpful perspective, his point was that we all must learn and change faster than ever before. The new normal will turn the notion of a 9–5 job on its head. Perhaps, instead of hiring one person full time for an entire year with average skills, companies will hire skilled people on demand and pay them for completing specific jobs.

In this world of in-demand workers, VP of People and Culture Katie Evans-Reber, explained how her startup, Wonolo, is normalizing and supporting the gig economy workplace. With employee advocacy, job skill up-leveling and a marketplace to connect gig economy jobs with workers, Wonolo can play a pivotal role today and post-pandemic by supplying workers willing to get out there and get jobs done.

Education and Upskilling

5–10 years ago, the average number of careers in a lifetime was 7. Today, that number has ballooned to 15. This alone means that employees will need to adjust, learn, upskill and be onboarded over and over again in an ongoing cycle. Future of Work and EdTech investor Sarah Lee pointed out that education and the development of humanity is a shared responsibility across educational institutions, corporations, families, the government and each individual. More so, learning, skill transfer and assessment needs to be inter-operable across companies and industries so that we all speak the same learning language.

Human-Robot Collaboration

In terms of the biggest changes to come in the future of work, collaborative ways of working and the gig economy came to mind for Autodesk Strategist Leanne Gluck. However, the biggest area of importance for her will be robot-human collaborations. She envisions a future where robots will be intuitive and adaptive, and we will be leveraging human-robot interactions to make work more efficient, sustainable, creative and safer.

With the addition of two startups — the video conferencing platform Crowdcast and the autonomous robotics company Waypoint Robotics — we rounded out the event with perspective from emerging technology focused on supporting the changing workforce.

Our panelists, speakers and guests provided a great glimpse into the future of work, an area that will impact all our lives regardless of skill level, area of focus or educational background. Across all insights and opinions, one thing is certain — the future is upon us and it will require adaptation, innovation and technology. If you are interested in running virtual thought leadership events, or want help navigating how your company can adapt in these trying times, reach out to us at info@venturefuel.net.

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