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Words from Charlie

The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Institutional Innovation is a series of annual roundtables that convenes leaders from diverse perspectives to discuss challenges that organizations face with respect to institutional performance, particularly those occasioned by advances in technology. The aim for this series is to develop innovative insights and plans for action to improve organizational impact.

Today’s leading businesses are dealing with a changing work environment that goes beyond artificial intelligence and robots. Instead, it encompasses the work machines and humans will do together. How can organizations create structures and strategies to bring new meaning to work and workers freed of the mundane activity currently in their jobs? And how can that combination lead to better results for the organization?

This report of the 2018 Roundtable, written by David Gibson, explores the Future of Work 2.0—focusing on how all stakeholders can realize the opportunities and possibilities of automation in the work landscape. It features a robust discussion on education, business structures, models of employment and leadership philosophies.

Gibson begins the report by focusing on the kind of learning that must take place to prepare employees for the workforce of the future. This includes the types of workspaces that organizations will have to build that will encourage a flexible approach to “inquiry-first thinking” and “solution-centered work” environments. Next, the report examines human capital and the investments made in workers’ continuous learning. How do businesses deal with new challenges in job performance, recruitment and the retention of workers?

The report ends with a discussion on what leadership must look like in order to take advantage of the opportunities ahead. In order for leaders to maximize digital, network and data-intensive technologies of the future, workers at all levels will need to be empowered.

On behalf of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, I want to thank the Deloitte Center for the Edge, specifically co-chairmen John Hagel and John Seely Brown, and Deloitte Consulting LLP and its lead, Jeff Schwartz, for sponsoring this Roundtable. Without their innovative thinking and leadership, this exchange of ideas would not be possible.

Additionally, the Program extends its gratitude to David Gibson, our rapporteur, for capturing the discussions and translating them into an engaging, thoughtful report. As is typical for our roundtables, this report is the rapporteur’s distillation of the dialogue. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of each participant at the meeting, or their employers.

Thanks, also, to Dominique Harrison, Senior Project Manager and Sarah Eppehimer, Project Director of the Communications and Society Program, for their work on the conference and bringing this report to fruition. Finally, none of the content in this report would be possible without the insights and expertise of the Roundtable participants. We thank them for their valuable contributions to this project.

Charles M. Firestone
Executive Director
Communications and Society Program
The Aspen Institute
March 2019

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