FutureNow of work?

You keep using the word ‘FutureNow’ – what does that mean?” A fair question. It’s a term I made up to describe where work is heading. I’m very intrigued by social businesses and democratic workplaces and started describing them as the future of work that’s already happening right now.

As an example, in 2009, smart phones were the FutureNow of mobiles phones. To many of us they seemed like overpriced toys, yet became ubiquitous in only a couple of years. From today’s perspective, it’s easy to see how and why the smart phones were the future.

The same could be said of any technological advancement. MP3 players in, say 2002. Email in 1996. Television in 1947. Automobiles in 1913. Etc., etc. All these were the FutureNow when they first came out. But we can look back at societal progress as well and there were some hard fought advances that are now seen as normal and natural to the majority of folks.

Two hundred years ago, we were trying to figure out how to make a democratic government work well (and the cynics will make a strong case that we’re still trying to figure it out). Today it just seems obvious and natural (to those in a democracy) that democracy is the way to go. Battles and wars are fought to replace dictators with voters.

I find it interesting that there is such a strong, common belief that democracy is the best way to organize a country, yet we balk at the idea of a democratic workplace. So much of business is still stuck in the authoritarian, patriarchal (ugh!), top down, command and control ways of the past. It feels weird to question and ask about other organizational structures. It might even seem a bit anarchistic or just counterculture hippie to suggest that maybe, just maybe, businesses could benefit from and improve on the democratic practices that run entire nations.

More on this later. In the meantime, just be aware that the future is already here and doing some really cool, innovative things. What’s strange today will be obvious tomorrow.

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