Future Friday: The future is in understanding people’s experiences

In creating tools we need to look at immersing people in the process.
In creating tools we need to look at immersing people in the process.

“Our ability to understand people’s experiences will be key to the future of our companies” so said Mike Walsh, the CEO of Tomorrow, a global consultancy on designing companies for the 21st century. For Walsh the workplace of the future is not one where people have been displaced, rather they are where data and culture combine to make people more creative, more productive and more efficient. This contrasts greatly with Elon Musk who sees the future with Artificial Intelligence pushing people out of the work place to the point that we will have to have a system of universal income given to people in order for them to survive.

Virtual reality as the platform

Walsh, in a blog post, writes about Mark Zuckerberg introducing a virtual reality device. Zuckerberg said basically he did not want to create a device that a person wore he wanted a device that someone was immersed in. Walsh said such a device will make work more seamless as a worker does not have to have multiple devices or apps to communicate and work with others. As Walsh says “In Zuckerberg’s view, virtual reality is the perfect platform to put people first because of presence. You can do more things together virtually, than you would if every experience was its own app that you had to access separately.”
In order to create such a platform leaders need to have a good understanding of the employee experience. Quoted in an article in CU Insight Walsh says “Great leaders will combine insight into human experience with a flair for computational thinking… To become better, they should spot and understand how data creates value; leverage opportunities to study human behavior; and augment their teams with the data they need to succeed.”

The importance of data

Walsh said “Data is the key to productivity” and further said “Great leaders will combine insight into human experience with a flair for computational thinking.” The lesson for HR is that not only do we need to be collecting data but we also need to be understanding how this translates into behaviors and culture. Only through this understanding will we be able to best utilize technology and the human experience. Is there a new position in the HR department of the future? How about human behavior data specialist?

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