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Perfect Alchemy: Tech, Creativity, and The Future of Work

May 3, 2018
New Stuart Monthly Insights

In this edition of Monthly Insights, Stuart Hardy, Director of Executive Education, questions the supposed thread that technology plays on the future of jobs and predicts an environment where technology enables us to reconnect with creativity, humanity, and the world. 

Work is changing – driven by global paradigm shifts, new talent architecture, and cognitive tools. As robotics, AI, digital nomads, and prosumers grow, jobs are being re-imagined, creating an “augmented workforce.” It is vital that as this complex roadmap plays out, we consider the jobs of the future. 

Technology is increasingly driving some of the most amazing and creative products and solutions in an ever more disruptive marketplace. So it’s interesting to ask, “Is technology an enabler of creativity, or creativity and enabler of technology? or are they wedded in perfect harmony., like some divine alchemy?

Definitions of technology vary: 

“The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.” Or.Technology is also an application of science used to solve problems. And technology is human knowledge which involves tools, materials, and systems.” 

However, they all share their roots in engineering and science, and differ greatly from our perceptions of what creativity is. Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is also characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions.

The world of technology is one of prediction and preciseness, whereas creativity is a world of alternative thinking, spontaneity, and disruption. One could argue that rather than creating an oxymoron, these two worlds are actually highly complementary with creativity providing the spark and technology the execution. So, are we moving into a future where the creative technologist is king, if such a thing were to exist? Or are we moving towards a reality where agile collaboration between creatives and technicians is a must? 

There is no doubt that when these two worlds collide in perfect harmony extraordinary things happen that can transform lives, and create and capture enormous value. As creative leaders involved in the growth of consumer products and services, it is a marriage we have to encourage at all costs. Apart, the two worlds will not keep pace with the paradigm shifts that surround us in this new industrial revolution.

There are several predictions one can make about the impact of this on the nature of work based on a conglomeration of global comment on the subject:

  • AI and robotics will create different jobs – not mass unemployment — freeing up talent to create, innovate, re-mix, and play.
  • Regions will compete against other regions in the war for top talent as global demographics become more permeable.
  • The majority of the developed world’s workforce will be freelance by 2027, acting as consultative skill-repositories – organisational structures will become meaningless.
  • Education will have to re-invent itself for a new dimension, without knowledge-transfer and career-specificity.

For those familiar with Spiral Dynamics, you will realise this is an evolutionary revolution. Its purpose is the evolution of the human race. It will enable us to step off the runaway train, gorged on a consumer obsession that doesn’t actually make us happy; a battle with time that has created a culture of little wheels in giant machines, accumulating stress and paranoia, while disconnecting with our authentic selves, others, and nature.

This will free us up from pouring our collective energy into working like machines, and allow us to focus on the very activities that separate us from machines.