New Business Models – From Human to Hybrid - The Future of Work Series

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“Human to hybrid” is a phrase that was coined by Capita for an excellent research program that it ran during 2019. In those pre-covid times, they confirmed that many business leaders saw the human to hybrid transition as their most important strategic challenge over the next five years. The future viability of organisations becomes increasingly reliant on their ability to rapidly and effectively manage the move from traditional ways of working to a fully tech-enabled future state.

“Tech-enabled” doesn’t mean the machines literally take over. It means that technology is deployed where it’s the best solution whilst people increasingly concentrate on roles that can be described as uniquely human. This has always been true, but the pace of change is increasing.  And as it does, the definition of what is uniquely human changes too: not just in the form of all those jobs that machines can now do (or do without) but also, more importantly, in new roles that become possible as a result of the ever-changing technology landscape. That has always happened and will continue to do so.

There will always be a place for physically demanding work – although never underestimate the potential for technology to encroach into this space – but the biggest shift is in the growth of emotional intelligence as a core capability across a wide array of roles, from data scientists to care workers.  There’s one simple reason for this: it’s the most difficult type of intelligence for machines to emulate.

To many, this migration will sound wonderful. Boring, tedious, repetitive work that we’ve never enjoyed will be gobbled up by a machine whilst we use our brains, creativity and emotional intelligence to achieve spectacular personal and / or business outcomes.  For others, it’s a genuinely existential threat – a critically important issue, to which we’ll return in a later post

The development of such hybrid business models has endless implications: what types of talent are prized and how they’re accessed and cultivated; what types of culture will thrive in new environments; where the balance of power and influence sits across the executive team; what skills, competencies and styles will make for great leaders? This isn’t a comprehensive list, but all these points sit near the top of the list of priorities. And what’s interesting is that they’re all about how people behave and are valued in the hybrid organisation.  The machines may be making ground, but the success with which they’re deployed is still going to rely on – as dogs might say – “their humans”.

This post is part of our Future of Work series. You can read the previous post, the next post, or find them all in our Future of Work section. If you’d like to discuss how we can help get you prepared for the way work and business is changing, then please contact us.

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