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Jonathan Andrew Wolter

Future of Work at London Business School: My Take on ThoughtWorks Globally

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Thanks to Roy’s urging, over the last 6 months I’ve been involved with London Business School’s Lynda Gratton in a consortium on the Future of Work. What will work look like in 2020, and how can companies become “future proof?” Specifically, what will global corporations look like? We kicked it off in London last November, where we met and discussed with people at several dozen companies. It’s been an honor, and a time to meet many interesting people.

Today, looking back at it, I am extraordinarily proud to call myself a ThoughtWorker. As an employer, we have a unique positioning of a global culture, lived out social values, and world changing technology.

Go visit any ThoughtWorks’ office in the world and you’ll find many people on international assignment. Further globalization and virtual-globalization will permeate work in 2020 — but today we clearly stand out as a leader amongst our peers. On vacation last winter in Beijing (pictures), I visited our office. It felt no more like I was in China then if I were in our offices in Bangalore, San Francisco, London or Chicago. It was not an “American culture,” but a “smart, interesting, passionate” culture of people with deep and varied interests — surrounded by great technology and delivering some game-changing products.

We encourage frequent cross-pollination of ideas and experiences through short and long term transfers. I felt right at home, met some amazing people (fellow TW’er and father of the Chinese internet Michael Robinson), got set up with daily Chinese lessons, and returned to visit in the office (for said lessons) almost every day.

There are so many more things to write about. It’s inevitable for work in 2020 to involve more cultures, countries, and languages. The marketplace for your goods could be half way around the world. Virtual-workers and virtual-meetings will explode. Yet, I also predict more face time with global coworkers. (Think how the world will change when we have US to Asia, or Europe to South America point to point travel in a few hours via spaceflight.) This will usher in increased complexity, and security measures; however I am excited for the future.

I have many more ideas, especially about the social values side of work in 2020 — but in true agile fashion, I’d like to see if anyone is interested in this before putting in more time up front.

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Written by Jonathan

April 9th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Posted in career, thoughtworks

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  1. [...] believe future proof, profitable corporations, with reason beyond profit will retain the most capable employees, and [...]

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