The technology industry is buzzing with predictions about what the Workplace of the Future™ will look like. Despite the many discussions, we’re really only on the brink of truly understanding what will make up the workplace. In the past, the concept of work has been focused on units of labor or inputs and outputs. Today, technology is shifting the paradigm of work. You only have to consider the following statistics to realize the idea of work being centered on a physical place is no longer valid: [i]
- 5 billion people are part of a mobile workforce;
- 23% of the workforce does some work remotely;
- 1/3 of the global workforce are freelancers, working remotely;
- By 2020, there will be 5 billion more people on the internet and 25 billion more connected devices.
The workplace is clearly no longer about individual workspaces. But instead it is focused on how to facilitate the collaboration of work between groups. In turn, the need for smart solutions with greater connectivity and mobility is growing, and this is broadening how work gets done and when. As more disparate data points become connected, and machine learning grows, we at Konica Minolta believe that work will be centered on emotional and intellectual effort powered by IoT.
Moving forward in the proper sequence
Many of our customers are eager to expedite their organization’s digital transformation to realize the Workplace of The Future™. However, many businesses are struggling to answer why.
Cognitive Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Multi Cloud, 3D Printing, and Machine Learning – these are all prolific buzz words we have heard before. They are the threads of the digital workplace fabric. They are the “things”, the “what” of the digital workplace. How these threads are stitched together is more important than the individual threads. I learned something from Simon Sinek many years ago; something I use when thinking about enterprise change management which involves implementing new processes, services or solutions. His question was, “Why do certain companies and leaders think differently than others?”[ii]
Innovative leaders inspire change by sharing why, not how or what. Sinek illustrated his idea of what he called the Golden Circle.
Source: Simon Sinek, ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’
Most people tend to think outside in (from what is clear to what is fuzzy); while innovators at the top of their game and companies that are truly differentiating themselves from their competition, think inside out (they start with what’s typically fuzzy and works outward to what is most clear).
What: Every organization on the planet knows what they do. These are products they sell or the services they offer.
How: Some organizations know how they do it. These are the things that make them special or set them apart from their competition.
Why: Very few organizations know why they do what they do. Why is not about making money. That’s a result. Why is a purpose, cause or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.
In both the short and long-term, having a clear vision of ‘why’ will help you connect with your customers and other companies by giving them a reason to believe what you believe.
Adidas, as a brand, challenges the status quo, inspires athletes to break down barriers, promoting ‘impossible is nothing’ (Why) as per their corporate slogan. They target athletes, showing them how to excel by thinking this way (How). Adidas sells high quality athletic shoes (What).
Apple wanted to change how you listen to music, sourced music, stored music, and shared music (Why). They design beautiful, intuitive products (How), it’s called the iPod (What).
Their competition focused on the what, created competitive shoe brands and MP3 Players, respectively. Most of those products didn’t survive or come close to matching the success of Apple or Adidas because they didn’t or couldn’t inspire their customers. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
So, what is your why when it comes to implementing Artificial Intelligence or Enterprise Content Management solutions, as an example? Do you want to change how people use technology, move people into the future, drive change that will make people perform better? The buzz words I mentioned earlier will change or be replaced by new buzz words. The workplace will be redefined over and over again. If companies focus only on the “things” or the “what” of today’s digital workplace, they will lose out on the real opportunity.
The technology highlighted can create significant opportunity for all parts of any business. But, they are truly insignificant without ensuring you have a compelling message to your clients, both internally and externally. Identify and drive towards your why.
Workplace of the Future™
At Konica Minolta, we are spear heading the positive disruption of business technologies, with a goal of realizing the smart, intelligent workplace powered by IoT and Artificial Intelligence. That is the “What” Konica Minolta is doing. “How” we do is through the transformation of our culture. It’s all about building a culture of innovation, and “Why” we do it is simple. The Workplace of the Future™ is about more than just devices and traditional IT. It’s the combination of people, spaces, sensors and technologies that delivers an entirely new cyber-physical platform. By connecting devices to information created by employees, we’re able to help organizations simplify disparate systems. In doing so, organizations are able to create a cognitive center, supporting the establishment of a smart workplace fueled by decision support. We aim to provide that platform to our customers through our services, solutions and products that will change how they interact with their customers and the way they see the workplace.
As exciting as this is, before instigating fundamental changes to your workplace, consider the challenges within your organization, identify why your organization should change, and understand the benefits to your stakeholders – the how and what will then evolve more naturally into the future of your own workplace.