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Season 1, Episode 9b

The Future of Work:

The Workplace, Technology & Leadership

webcast presented by the global innovation practice Futureproofing : Next  (

In this webcast, we’ll help leaders consider the elements driving change and hear from panelists who have strong points of view (and a high degree of optimism). We’ll also incorporate insights from our F:N 66° Guild, and kick off our newest research project: “The Future of Work 2020”. Futureproofing Now will also be inviting our valued future of work collaborators and corporate change agents to give their secrets away on the art & science of building an innovative workplace now and in the future.


Hosted by Futureproofing : Next team: Sean Moffitt + Andrea Kates   Expert collaborators and future of work specialists: Jacob Bates, CEO CommonGrounds,  Bill O’Connor, technology + workplace innovation expert and Rachel Permuth – Global VP{ of Research, Sodexo

Focus of the Conversation:

When it comes to the Future of Work, corporate leaders face conflicting data and a wide spectrum of opinions that make it hard to lead and challenging to know what kind of culture to strive for. We’ll tackle the toughest dualities and paint the picture for how to get ahead of trends.

Future of Work Dualities:

  • Tech makes work better. Tech dehumanizes the workplace.
  • Collaboration is great for results. Collaboration is messy.
  • We should be open for business 24/7. Work-life balance is golden for employees.
  • The future of work is robots threatening people. The future of work is people, augmented by great VR/AR/AI.
  • Offices and the “built environment” should look like traditional headquarters, with minor tweaks. Traditional offices are a thing of the past and leaders need a new blueprint for the built environment.
  • Productivity should be the central driver of culture. Humanity should rule.
  • Values should start with the assumption that profits rule. Values should serve more than profits.

Program Highlights—Future Realities + Questions Leaders Grapple With

Technology Duality: How to focus on value without destroying the human side of work

Spaces where we work: How leaders can provide what brings out the best: Collaborative, 24/7, global, distributed, hybrids

Workplace innovations: Which innovations are most inspiring when it comes to the future of work

Quality of life/quality of work: What is the ideal state of worklife? What are examples of new models that can inspire leaders to think differently?

Collaboration, diversity, and inclusion: What are examples of innovations that encourage new voices, open up a spectrum of ideas, equip global teams to work together, and support the aspects of work that keep people connected and engaged?

What will the Future of Work look like: How fast is change coming and what will it look like? What are some scenarios that leaders can prepare for? What are the signs of dystopia versus utopia? Who’s doing it well?

What you’ll learn:

  • How to incorporate the latest workplace innovations into your company’s future
  • How to develop a futureproofed game plan for designing the places where people work
  • How to design “worklife” to strike the right balance between collaboration and individual contribution   
  • How to embrace technology while also supporting humanity in the workplace
  • How to stay ahead of trends and the rapid pace of change
  • How to get involved in our research project, “The Future of Work 2020”


November 19th, 2019

    Futureproofing Now Webcast Video

    Futureproofing Now Podcast Audio

    Hosts & Guests

    Sean Moffitt

    Andrea Kates

    Jacob Bates

    Bill O’Connor

    Rachel Permuth


    Our website Futureproofing : Next

    Live open survey:  The Corporate Innovation Playbook Survey

    Supporting Blog Post: The Futureproofing Toolkit 

    Common Grounds – YOur Workplace Reimagined : Website

    Sodexo Work Reimagineed: Website

    Singularity University: Website

    Sodexo’s Global Workplace Study – Reimagining the Employee Experience : Research

    HBR article: The Truth about Open Offices

    Slack:  What has Slack done to the Office? 

    Unilever: Tranformed It’s Old Office park into a sustainable HQ.

    Airbnb; Is Airbnb for work right for your business?

    Futureproofing Now Hosts:

    Sean Moffitt

    Sean Moffitt

    Andrea Kates

    Andrea Kates

    About This Episode

    0:00 Intro & Advance Poll Question – “What’s the biggest people-based challenge you face in building innovation & change in your company?” #1  Misalignment on priorities and #2 A siloed mentality were the  top choices.

    1:30 The Future of Work – the purpose of our webinar , our viral Future of Work Infographic profiling the 120 aspects of the FoW and our new forsights research collaborative project The future of Work 2020+

    4:45   Introduction of special guest panelists – Jacob Bates, Rachel Permuth & Bill O’Connor and the three legs of the this webinar’s FoW stool – The Workplace, the Work Experience and Technology

    10:45 The Common Grounds Story –  why did Common Grounds start up and the need to improve work-human life /  the introduction of the term “Workplace-as-a-Service” and / bringing hospitality, office products and property management all together for the purposes of talent

    13:45 The Need for a New Workplace  – a flexible workplace is only 3% of current workplaces but will icnrease 10X over the next decade / operating against a backdrop of sluggish ecosytems of real estate

    16:25  The Next Generation Building is Activated  – technology as an enabler / interact with a building vs. a desk on a floor / an adaptable, hackable environment w/o a fixed infrastructure / agile physcial workplaces / Amazon & Nike as early examples making headway,/ humanizing environments and “getting out of our cages”

    20:00  Sodexo’s Global Study – Reimagine the Employee Experience  – the study’s results (link in Resources section) / 22 Essentials & Enhancers (visualized below) / Millennial expectations,/ the blurring of expectations between workers and customers / the remote workforce

    26:30  Singularity – The Future of Work, The Five Essential Elements  – the prophecies of energing technologies, converging technologies, new ways to do timeless things, entirely new ways to work and the great unknowables / he human instinct and deterrent for collaboration /  the “skeuomorth” or FoW /  examples Klick Health and MaRSDD creation of global innovation centres of excellence/workplaces

    38;35 The Dualities of The Future of Work #1-3    –  is tech making work better or dehumanizing? / is collaboration great or messy? /  is business open 24-7 or should work/life balance reign supreme? / is the future of work Star Trek or The Matrix?  / The structure, process and outcomes of collaboration

    43:50 The Dualities of The Future of Work #4-5 – is the future of work threstening via robots or augmented by VR/AR/AI/XR? / should offices look like traditional headquarters or need a new blueprint? /  The Minority Reporting of work / more distributed formats for work / the visionary idea of using the existing office footprint does not need to expand square foot-wise, just need to use it more efficiently and effectively.

    46:50 The Dualities of The Future of Work #6-8 – is productivity a central driver or should humanity rule?  / should values start with the assumption that profits rule or serve more than profits? / should leaders be the boldest in the room or create psychological safety for others/innovators?  / Leaders don’t naturally understand their workforce and fundamental needs at work.

    48:55 The Future of Work Grab Bag – technology, spaces, workplace innovations, quality of life/work and collaboration/diversity/inclusion /   tech will augment then automate things, so stay ahead of the curve /  the “spillover effect” – hard to parse apart quality of life and quality of work = needs need to be fulfilled by & in the workplace e.g. sustainability, volunteerism and nclusion in the workplace /   need to talk frequently about the workplace – the work is changing quick/ the tech is changing fast /  the future of work is so interesting for certain groups of people but how do we not fall behind?

    53:45 Exit poll – “What would you like to see us do a deeper dive on for our Future of Work 2020+ study?” Results :  #1 Meaning & Purpose and #2 Leadership

    55:00 Closeout Thoughts/Who’s Doing it Well –  Airbnb and evolving experiences, / Sodexo and diversity/inclusion and bringing the whole self to work/ Unilever intelligent working with space & design /  Slack and the new built environment e.g. curved walls removing friction

    57:20 ; F:N Housekeeping  – top Change Leadership attributes / The 2020 Futureproofing Awards – next webinar December 19 / Futureproofing ; Next – The Book and follow up blog post

    Our F:N Expert Panelists:

    Jacob Bates

    Jacob Bates

    Chief Executive Officer, Conmon Grounds

    Jacob Bates is the CEO of CommonGrounds. In this role, he is leading the evolution and accelerating the growth of their Workplace-as-a-Service (WaaS) tailored enterprise- grade solutions in human-centric environments for occupiers, investors and owners.

    Jacob has a passion for the future of work and shaping tomorrow’s workplace and leaders. He has 20 years of experience leading global enterprise corporate real estate portfolios, and workplace solutions. He has directly lead portfolios consisting of 5 to 20 million square feet for Nike, Cigna, Unity, and CBRE. Jacob provided the executive leadership for these Fortune 500 multinational companies, providing direction on global real estate operations, location strategies, design, construction, and workplace experience initiatives. Throughout his career, Jacob has directly led the opening and the operations of thousands of locations throughout the US and in more than 70 countries globally.

    Bill O'Connor

    Bill O'Connor

    Founder, The Innovation Agency/Faculty, Singularity University

    Bill is a globally recognized innovation expert, having conducted 550 innovation engagements with thousands executives from 225 companies from 55 countries. Via his groundbreaking Innovation Genome Project, he analyzed 350 historical innovations going back 3.5 million years, and developed a powerful innovation methodology, which includes the Five Essential Innovation Techniques, The Innovation Mindset method, the Nine-Continuum Innovation Strategy methodology, and the Innovation System.

    Over the past 10 years, Bill has presented to/worked with/done consulting for organizations such as Google, Royal Bank of Scotland, Airbnb, Autodesk, Bechtel, Facebook, GE, IKEA, Nike, Starbucks, Tesla, U.S. State Department, and the World Bank, helping them to enhance their innovation mindsets, toolsets, and skillsets.

    Bill’s currently researching and analyzing how Nobel Prize winners innovate; serving as a faculty member at Singularity University; and he has just launched a new experience for innovators: the Silicon Valley Innovation Immersion program, which will take place in the heart of San Francisco, and also out on the Bay, via our “Innovating at Sea”/yacht-based innovation working sessions.

    Rachel Permuth

    Rachel Permuth

    Global Vice President of Research, Corporate Services, Sodexo

    Dr. Rachel Permuth is the Global Vice President for Research for Corporate Services at Sodexo. Prior to working at Sodexo, she spent 10 years as a behavioral scientist at the National Institutes of Health.  Rachel’s work revolves around understanding and measuring Quality of Life drivers in the workplace – both from the person and the built environment perspectives.

    She received her PhD in Public Health from the University of Maryland with a concentration in Workplace Health Behavior.  She also has a Master degree in Epidemiology from the University of South Florida.  Her team is comprised of researchers from various backgrounds, including chemistry, social work, health communications, and health economics.  Rachel also leads our internal practice on Experience Design in the workplace.

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