Exploring the Future of Work (Part 1)
- Written by Raphael Schlup - PhD Candidate - Switzerland
- PhD Student Blog
At the beginning of October 2017, I attended my third face-to-face course in Paris. My focus in my PhD program is on entrepreneurship and innovation, but this course was focused on the future of work, which includes pivotal upcoming changes in organizations. As a mechanical engineer, I was very interested to see how my profession and work environment will change in the future. What I discovered during the course and the later final assignment changed my mindset and influenced how I will interact with upcoming megatrends (e.g. digitization) in an organization.
In the future, there will be four categories of megatrends. They include changes in the demand for talent and digital productivity; technological shifts in ways of generating business value; changes in the supply of talent, which can lead to a shift in resource distribution; and, finally, changes in the workforce cultures and values. Such megatrends will produce more prosperity than the engine revolution in the first machine age!
We learned that data, most of all, will be the main driver of the most substantial changes in manufacturing firms. These changes have been underway since the Second Industrial Revolution ended. These circumstances transform a traditional physical product into an interdisciplinary system that must interact with software and requires a design reconfiguration. All these factors influence the traditional profession of a mechanical engineer and his work environment because he deals with the principles of force, motion, and energy. However, if mechanical engineers are able to communicate effectively with various disciplines to select the right combinations of technologies, then this can lead to the creative resolution of problems (Ramasubramanian, 2001).
In part two of this post, I will discuss how the business model of mechanical engineering is changing and what the main challenges will be.