For both of us, technology has revolutionised the ways we work: James is a radio producer and used to work purely in a studio, but today works from a laptop, wherever he is perched. He collaborates through shared files and sites and uses Skype and Google Hangouts to meet ‘face to face‘.
As the nature of work changes, the office is dead: it’s a space that used to provide us with infrastructure and technology, but now the technology sits in our pockets, and our networks travel with us. This is not some transient shift that giants like HP or Yahoo can stifle by restricting ‘working from home‘, it’s a fundamental shift in the ways we interact with data, with knowledge, with people. It’s the Social Age, where collaborative technology is bringing us together and letting us share meaning, globally. Instead of trying to restrict and constrain this, organisations should be creating areas to experiment in, finding and promoting new ways for us to collaborate and work.
I’m reading a great book this week, ‘From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: what you really need to know about the internet‘, by John Naughton. He charts much of this change and the underlying shifts in how we communicate and collaborate in cyberspace. He points out that it took five centuries for us to understand the true impacts of the printing press: we are just at the start of this journey in the Social Age, but one thing is for sure. The ways we work, the ways we collaborate, the ways we co-create meaning and share it are changing. We are at the start of something great, and i’m glad we found time to sit in a country pub by the sea to reflect on it.