The Future of Work and Multi-Organization Collaboration

Over the last couple of months I’ve been assisting a local foundation that supports not-for-profit initiatives.  The project I’m involved with has a HR (human resource) focus, and asks – how can non-profits better collaborate, with each other, to resource and deliver services, to make a difference?

So, the jobs/work landscape was on my mind when I came across Are you ready for the future of work?, posted this week by futurist Ayelet Baron.  Here’s Baron’s chart on that topic:

20th century jobs to 21st century work

The chart nicely summarizes the ‘jobs to work’ shift.  And, putting my non-profits-collaborating hat on, many of the 21st century elements sync with effective multi-organization collaboration; e.g.,:

  • Positive communications and relationships: When we are hooking up with other people and organizations for work, and whom we may not know so well, it’s critical to develop and nurture personal connection, and interact with each other in ways that say, “you can rely on (i.e., trust) me”.
  • Project-based, networked collaboration: With an action orientation, we want to reach out and connect with diverse others, local and/or virtual, assemble and dissolve, as appropriate, knowing that we can do more together, than on our own.  We are drawn towards a powerful attractor, and a shared goal and mutual benefits, all the while accommodating our self-interests.
  • Thinking and doing: “The objective of learning is to integrate thinking and doing” (Roger Fisher),  Through iteration, adaption, integration, emergence, play…  we welcome the challenge of the unknown, and learn our way to the next thing, innovation, and problem: solved.

Baron’s chart is a good one.  Simple, yet effective.  Anything 21st century-wise left of the chart?




  1. Another interesting post, Ben. I have seen many of these shifts occurring in workplaces over the past years / decades. I don’t think new organizations are (or ever will be) free of hierarchy and some form of top-down structure, but they are certainly less formally structured. The boss may work alongside staffers / contractors, casual clothes, at an informal work station but there is necessarily still a “buck stops here” senior decision making function. Overall, though, a good visual of how the workplaces have evolved.

  2. Thanks Lorne. Yes, I imagine looking back, it’s not surprising to observe common threads (and maybe with a dose of deja vu), over the years. And, good point re: “the buck stops here”. Some things never change.


  1. […] So, the jobs/work landscape was on my mind when I came across Are you ready for the future of work?, posted this week by futurist Ayelet Baron. Here’s Baron’s chart on that topic:  […]

Speak Your Mind