Increasing automation in our workplaces, demographic shifts and a customer-based economy are drastically changing the way we work. In order for people to keep up we will need a very different set of skills, particularly those that are unique to humans: imagination, creativity, curiosity, emotions and social relationships. How will we bring this skills transition into our jobs, and which implications will this have for employees, employers and organisations?

In our 34th episode of our podcast you can listen to the ARENA round table discussion, i.e. an interview with the speakers of the evening and questions from the audience.

Julianne Coughlan - Service rePublic

First we welcomed Julianne Coughlan to our ARENA. She brought an interesting case of Cork County Council, the authority responsible for local government in County Cork, Ireland. During her talk, she elaborated on the transformation she and her colleagues went through during the implementation of the Service rePublic. This is a service design and innovation centre with a mission to help people to have better lives, by delivering the best services for all. They operate as an independent umbrella department. In this way, they can work with all departments across Cork County, to transform the way services are delivered. 

In her talk, she concluded that people are the instigators for transformation, not technology. Innovation is everywhere. The trick is to recognise it, nurture it, find a way to connect it, enable it to be copied or expand and show the impact of what it does. According to Julianne, this will be a determining factor in the future of work. 


eline ermens - McKinsey Design

As our second speaker, we welcomed Eline Ermens from McKinsey Design, a design and innovation consultancy based in Stockholm. In her talk, she explained how organisations can get ready for the future by humanising jobs, with a focus on employee experience. The robots are already here, and people are afraid of them. But the real problem aren’t the robots. It’s that we are wasting human potential. Studies show that 72% of people aren’t engaged at work. Eline stated that we can make our jobs more meaningful by focussing on our humanity. We should concentrate on our human capabilities such as creativity, compassion and critical thinking.


Most surprising insight

Everyone loves pizza! Well, that’s not really surprising is it? Besides pizza, everyone also loves to contemplate the future of work. What really surprised us that evening was the variety of types of people who attended the event. People from different sectors, with different backgrounds, they all wanted to know what the Future of Work will look like. This really shows that this topic, this uncertainty of what our jobs will be like in 5, 10 or 20 years is not sector-specific and a real connector. We need to take an overall perspective in how we can make all of our jobs more meaningful and future-proof.


a behind the story insight

In October 2018, the Knight Moves team went to the Global Service Design Network in Dublin. It was an inspiring conference and we had a great time. You can read and listen to our recap in episode 28. This conference actually gave us the idea to host an ARENA edition about the Future of Work. We saw both the Service rePublic case and the McKinsey Design talk at the conference and just knew we wanted to share their insights with you.


Interesting links

Website service republic

Website McKinsey Design

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The slides of the evening: