The other side of the jobless recovery?

The other side of the jobless recovery?

Reposted from The Future of Information Work: 11/2/2009 5:28:51 PM

It has been speculated recently that technology has significantly contributed to the restructuring of labor markets. Today’s Computerworld ran the following article that reinforces this perspective (read it here: More Jobs Vanish: IT’s Gains Are Real People’s Losses).

The question now is: what next? If organizations are focusing on efficiency, does that reduce their capacity for innovation, their ability to adapt? Do they get too locked into current methods? Do they no longer have the human capital potential to sense change? Do networks of relationships replace existing labor models? Do they outsource sensing and intelligence?

There are many questions that we need to answer if we are indeed facing a jobless recovery. All of those people represent the innovation potential of the nation. If they aren’t employed, they won’t be the position turn transform their ideas into action – they will loose and organizations will loose as well. What business models will emerge that will unleash the entrepreneurial potential of a workforce displaced by technology? Will it be a socialist redistribution of wealth or a new form of capitalism that derives value from smaller, more sustainable structures? Will corporate welfare replace state welfare to keep people associated with particular brands? Individual businesses?

On the other hand, will we see the growth of entirely new industries that provide a home for today’s displaced workers?

The policy makers in Washington, in the EU, across the world need to facilitate the reshaping of markets within a framework that aligns to their strategic goals. If we are moving toward sustainable knowledge economies, those policy frameworks will need to create the measurements that communicate movement and put success into a strategic perspective. Policy will also need to prepare the workforce through education to upskill. IT is only replacing the next level of the mundane. The future of the economy needs people willing to take risks that will redefine products and services for the decades to come. For many of us, those who employ us today didn’t exist 25 or 30 or 40 years ago. Proof that worrying about bringing back yesterday’s jobs is a non-productive endeavor in and of itself.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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