Innovation and human connection set to shape the new world of work

14 Aug 2017

Innovation and human connection set to shape the new world of work

Odgers Berndtson and Henley Business School recently hosted a workshop for executives in the Human Resources industry on how to better engage with future talent by embracing agility through experiential innovation.

The world is undergoing significant change and an understanding of what the future workplace will look like is a question on many HR executives’ lips. Priorities for employees have shifted and as a result, the workplace must adapt. Moreover, the leadership in charge of hiring and developing this talent will also need to shift.

The working environment is often too focused on people under massive pressure performing demanding work, so much so, that the time to be innovative and make human connections is lost. These two principles are fundamental to how organisations will not only survive but thrive in the future.

The ability to develop human connection and innovation will be beneficial to some of the main stakeholders who need to embrace these principles to the benefit of the entire workplace ecosystem: graduates, current employees, employers and educators.

  • Graduates will need to learn how to future-proof themselves in order to become employable in a world where by 2025 around 50% of jobs will likely no longer exist.
  • Current employees will need to consider how they will remain competitive in such an environment and find new opportunities for their own growth and development. It may seem counter-productive but the key to being competitive will develop from greater collaboration, openness and sharing of ideas.
  • Employers and leaders will have to play a more active role in not only developing both levels of talent but also use corporate social responsibility to shape their business and retain the talent.
  • Educators will need to embrace technology and find ways to ensure programmes such as the MBA remain relevant and attainable. Developing an affiliation towards social responsibility in higher education is also necessary.

These insights came from the discussion at the interactive workshop as the participants realised that in order to survive in a disrupted world, they would need to disrupt themselves and their thinking. By incorporating creative brainstorming techniques into daily activities, it allows for the nurturing of human connectedness and innovation. These are just some of the activities which took place on the day which can be easily and inexpensively incorporated into working life: 

  • Participants were asked to draw pictures of each other but not in the simplest way. Blank pages were placed inside A4 paper bags and the pictures were drawn with the paper inside the bags. Participants were not allowed to look into the bags and essentially produced portraits without the use of sight. What resulted were a number of pictures which would make Picasso proud.
  • Another activity was to write down the three things each person would normally say when introducing themselves to someone for the first time. These were put to one side and participants were then asked to think of three things to say about themselves which were not written down. In each case, participants shared more personal aspects of their lives when they usually would not.
  • To discuss issues at the forefront of many Human Resources Executives’ minds, such as what will the future workplace look like in 2025, the participants used Lego to convey their thoughts and built their explanations from the pieces of plastic bricks, trees and people. What resulted were not only very creative scenes but different insights and perspectives were revealed.

Through the activities, participants were able to think laterally and consider what could impact the world of work which they perhaps had not previously considered.

To receive updates or news for upcoming Odgers Berndtson events in South Africa, please subscribe to the newsletter.