How The Future of Work Changed

Forty-five years ago, in October 1971, the first email was sent. At first, it’s only for U.S. military purposes. Until the 1990s when the World Wide Web was born, the world embraced email as a new type of communication. Faster. Cheaper. It suddenly changed the future of work.

Technology changed the way of work as every year communication embraced with new innovations. By the invention of video calls, two different companies from two different continents can do a meeting via video conference. It seemed impossible in the 1980s, but it’s now enabling a multi-national company to reach its target business. There was no social media team in a corporate communication division 10 years ago. But today, even a new entrepreneur needs a deep understanding of social media. We are already in the future of work.

However, are technological innovations the main reason for the future of work? Here are some views that we need to understand:

1. Market demand create innovations

The market will react to those that come up with new innovations. As every year innovations are being updated, companies will struggle to fulfill market demand that rapidly changing and keep demanding. Companies are under pressure to innovate and execute in a shorter time compared to competitors as they are doing the same thing.

We’ll take Nokia Corporation as an example. Nokia was the mobile phone market leader in the 1990s. No communication company could beat Nokia. A decade passed. The market demanded something new. But, Nokia didn’t innovate enough. It then dropped to the lowest position as it’s failed to fulfill demand and was beaten by competitors. On the other hand, Apple that has constantly built a good image of innovation had the guts to put the highest price for its brand new product even though Nokia offering the same technology with a lower price. People are still buying Apple products. Apple already gained their trust.

To survive, a company needs to innovate faster and understand market demand.

2. Bureaucracy in top-down hierarchical organization slower management process

To fulfill market demand, the company needs to execute new ideas faster before competitors do it first. In order to do that, top-down hierarchical organization is the one that might slow the decision making. Company with this type of hierarchy will take a long process since the layer of approval need to be taken before an innovation released to the market. It might lead the company to the risk of failure.

The future of work needs a faster execution team where decision-makers could sit together and ‘shoot’ the initiative faster. You can’t never achieve a goal with too much top-down hierarchical branches. This problem might have happened to Nokia Corporation.

3. Management challenge to delegate

Increasing market demand will lead to business expansion. Business expansion will create a new management challenge. When it happened, delegation is needed by the company to maintain business success. Research shows that companies with leaders who have high delegator talents can grow business better.

Expanded company needs great entrepreneurs, which are very few. They are those who have skill-building their team. They will think that they can’t achieve everything alone. So, they will delegate tasks to employees and keep monitoring it will run well. By delegating their task, they can focus on new ideas and strategies on how to achieve goals, on how fulfilling market demand.

4. Opportunity

Beside market demand, the future of work was created due to opportunity. Great entrepreneurs can see new business opportunities. They will analyze and decided what actions should be taken to react to it.

In 2010, an Indonesian young entrepreneur, Nadiem Makarim, create a startup company named GO-JEK. Inspired by Uber, GO-JEK is an online transportation company, but it offers a motorcycle as the fleet. Initially, he collected 20 motorcycle paid-drivers. He saw this opportunity as it will take decades to overcome Jakarta’s congestion. He understood that people will be happier when they could arrive in the office earlier without facing congestion. Nadiem embraced these opportunities and the next year, GO-JEK expanded its business to offer service of sending food, massage services and even cleaning service.

Now, GO-JEK’s fleet exceeds 200,000 drivers, including motorcycles, cars, and trucks. By August 2016, GO-JEK application has been downloaded by more than 20 million users across the nation and becomes Indonesia’s first startup that achieve US$ 550 million investment, bigger than Indonesia’s first flight carrier, Garuda Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia is in 11th ranked as the best flight carrier in the world by Skytrax. GO-JEK and Uber are a good example that we are already in the new era of work. The future of work.

We can shape the conclusion that technological innovations are not the main reason for the future of work. There are deeper aspects that bring us to it. The world is now more dynamic. Market demand is changing as innovations always bring something new. But, market demand can be solved with innovations. To create innovations, great entrepreneurs are needed by the company.

[David Chandra]

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