On Monday Sept 25th 2017 I participated to the Innovation G7 as an “innovator” in the French delegation. The I-G7 was organised under the Italian presidency in the splendid Reggia di Venaria in Turin.
I spent a day with fellow entrepreneurs and investors, researchers and scientists from G7 countries discussing big questions like:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI). How can AI help governments make better decisions and deliver policies and services more effectively?
- Big Data: from regulation to active management. How can a more proactive approach to Big Data lead to smarter countries?
- The future of work. How could innovation help deal with upcoming social and demographic changes?
The Future of Work
My group focused on the future of work. Ideas may not be revolutionary but what matters is that we converged on a set issues that we would like government to push forward.
1. Change our narrative about humans-AI relations
The dominant narrative about Artificial Intelligence today is that it will outsmart humans and lead to the end - or deep transformation - of humanity as we know it.
Narrative frames our way of thinking and the way we frame and try to solve problems. That’s why we should stop talking about AI that will “replace” humans and focus on how to develop the skills that makes humans great .
Creativity, non linear thinking and improvisation need to be cultivated also in jobs that strongly rely on technology.
Good problem solving is much more than logically solving a set of smaller problems. That’s why we should develop machines to take on repetitive tasks and focus on what requires originality, empathy and adaptation to context. We should teach our kids Design and Philosophy together with Coding.
Moreover, by opposing humans to AI we miss the opportunity to develop our core skills and focus on our full potential as humans.
2. From a society of workers to a working society
How can we replace jobs that are disappearing ? How can we give everyone a job ? Once again the problem is framing: why do we need jobs ? Shouldn’t we talk more about income, fulfilment and dignity ?
The question becomes: how might we create a prosperous society where people are fulfilled while contributing to collective wealth ?
Jobs as we know them today are only a potential (far from perfect) solution.
3. Train for the future
Schools should be empowered to teach skills rather than careers. In an accelerated world the ability to think fast and slow becomes crucial. Critical thinking, flexibility and creative problem solving should be the cornerstone of education along with Coding and Entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is not only Business, it’s also about vision, purpose, determination, team work and experimentation.
Today school avoid digital instead of integrating it as a key component of the way we understand and act in the world. Shouldn’t we give kids full access to digital and evaluate their ability to add complexity to what is already there?
4. Corporate responsibility
Companies should help governments understand the evolution of work and work relations. Companies should give governments access to data about employees and working practices.
This is particularly true today to understand new forms of work. As an example The Oxford Online Labour Index gives a first economic indicator that provides an online gig economy equivalent of conventional labour market statistics.
Companies also have a responsibility for the world they contribute to create.
Benefit corporations where social impact is measured along economic performances are a new model for allying business and social development. Many countries in Europe are developing frameworks for this kind of company.
Companies should provide long-life learning to their employees and governments should support them to do so.
In our fast changing world, providing training that allows employees to stay relevant and employable might become part of Corporate Social Responsibility.
The conference raised interesting questions on co-design for Public Policies. Read my article on Why it’s hard to co-design Public Policies ?.
The suggestions we formulated are being submitted to the G7 leaders and will be published as part of the Innovation Week results.
You can find all the materials and join the conversation here.
To continue exploring the topic of Future of work and digital transformation, read my paper on How corporates needs to adapt to Digital Transformation.