Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Connected Professionals - Novay

There's lots of buzz about 'The Future of Work'. And quite a bit is focused on technology. I don't think that's very strange. Most technology is specific, it's concrete. You can talk about how it works, which features it has, etc.
The Future of Work is about more than tools. It's also about facilities (building, furniture, colors, etc) and most importantly about organization (structure, processes and networks, culture, behavior, etc).
In my opinion one of the groups with the most fundamental research on this topic is Novay, specifically the Future Workspaces or ProWork group. And they ground there research in practice. Their approach is interesting because it's broad, focusing on organizational and technology issues (not facilities).
They've publish about their work regularly on their blog. One of their interesting reports is titled "Connected Professionals. Flexible working in a networked society". It shows their way of working: deep and broad, applied academic research grounded in daily practice.

The report shows that The Future of Work is mostly about organizational behavior change. I think they really do a good job of describing how the nature of work is changing and what the implications are for organizations and employees to cope with them. They point to four facets of work in the new connected workspace that have to be addressed: being in sync, in touch, in control and in flow. These require different behaviors, skills and tools. I see many companies moving to the concept of The Future of Work just assuming employees cope with working-apart-together, new coordination tools, result-driven work, etc.

The report closes with several concepts they developed based on their research and case studies for several companies. The concepts focus on several combinations of the facets of the new work. They show that existing technology usually only addresses some of those combinations and not all.

I hope this posts triggers you to take a look at their work. I'm curious what their next publications will be about.
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