Education, Events

Niko Herlin provided glimpses into the future of work life

December 17, 2012


I took part in Niko Herlin’s lecture at Arcada last week. I had heard that he was a charismatic speaker, but didn’t have a clear picture of what he was an expert in or what exactly what he would talk about as the topic was quite generic. I was, however, very impressed with his lecture. Nit just because of his charisma, but because of the incredibly interesting things he had to say. I had no idea that Futurists exists or what they do. But now I want to become one! J

Niko Herlin, Senior Futurist at Finpro Foresight, gave a lecture at Arcada on 13 December 2012 on future trends in work, the work place as well as employees’ and employers’ attitudes. The lecture was fascinating and work life will truly change remarkably already within the following 20 years.

Niko’s job is to try to foresee the future and anlyse different possible scenarios for Finnish companies all around the world and help them succeed in the international market. He does this by picking up signals of change and translating them into actions for the companies. These signals are related to business and technology, but also to people and the society and how these affect each other. He then analyses what will be possible in the future, what will be desirable and what will be profitable for the company in question.

During his lecture, Niko presented a lot of different trends that might be coming up according to the signals he and other futurists have picked up. Just to mention a few:

  • “Bleisure” = Business and pleasure will no longer be considered separate entities, but will be naturally intertwined.
  • Potential employees will increasingly pick their place of work and thus interview the employer and not only the other way around.
  • 8-16 work days will no longer be the standard. Rather people will have several jobs at once and work freelance-based at them all simultaneously.
  • Employees will no longer have their own desks at the work place, but will come into the office when they need to and sit at whatever desk they find.
  • “Coffeeshopification” = Time and place will be irrelevant for work. Many already read their work e-mail in bed and use Facebook during office hours. People will also work a lot from home or from e.g. coffee shops or n “Pop-up Offices” e.g. in a park somewhere.
  • “BYOD” = Bring Your own Device. Employers will no longer provide employees with a computer and a phone. The employees will have their own device of choice that they use for different jobs at their own discretion.
  • Virtual reputation and digital identities will be crucial.
  • “Power of Play” = having fun at the work place will become more important and expected. This is based on “The Fun Theory” that states that the more fun something is, the more you will do it.
  • Leadership will change from micro managing to team leadership in form of coaching rather than ordering.
  • Generations will blur. Older is no longer wiser and leadership teams will need to include several different generations to succeed.
  • Future job titles could include e.g. Augmented Reality Architect, Avatar Relationship Manager, Brain Signal Decoder and Personal Brand Manager.

As I said, these are just a few of the trends and signals he mentioned, but I do see some of these signals myself and most of them seem plausible enough. It was both scary and exciting to hear about and start processing these ideas and I highly recommend to read more about both Niko and the work that he and other Futurists do. If you dare…