The current pandemic is dramatically impacting American small businesses and entrepreneurs. According to a recent report, almost 7.5 million of America’s approximately 30 million small businesses may be forced to close permanently over the next several months. However, many believe that – like other “black swan” events – the COVID-19 pandemic will fuel the next wave of innovation, and more resilient and world-changing startups than ever before.
What is an Entrepreneurial Edge?
Entrepreneurs are constantly seeking an edge, an advantage. In fact, most entrepreneurs are wired to look at the world from an opportunist’s perspective and are regularly working an angle, an approach, or a way of attacking a business opportunity that others have missed or have left exposed.
An Introduction to a Series of Articles
(1st article in a series)
THE FUTURE OF WORK IS HERE
Many organizations and thought leaders are attempting to predict the future of work during this time of unprecedented change. We are experiencing the end of the Industrial Era and the rapid rise of the Age of Digital Dominance. This article summarizes a series of articles written to add information and energy to a growing movement committed to finding solutions that will drive economic development and prosperity for workers, businesses and communities in rural and middle America. The other articles include: 1) The Transformation is Inevitable: 2) Winners and Losers; 3) Organizations of the Future; and 4) The Age of Digital Dominance. (Author note: These articles were originally written six months before Covid-19 hit. The pandemic will only accelerate the trends described).
THE TRANSFORMATION IS INEVITABLE—The Industrial Era gives way to the Age of Digital Dominance
(2nd article in a series)
During the next decade, industries, local economies and the nature of work will be transformed on a massive scale and at an accelerating pace. In the U.S., 40% of our workforce is employed in an occupation that could see significant job losses(1). Although many new jobs will be created, the net impact on jobs will be felt unevenly by industries, communities and workers. Rural and middle America that prospered during the Industrial Era are at a greater risk in the Age of Digital Dominance, as many jobs requiring lower skills will be disproportionally disrupted by six unstoppable forces.
(3nd article in a series)
In the future of work, there will be winners and losers. During the next decade, industries, local economies and the nature of work will be transformed on a massive scale and at an accelerating pace. In the U.S., 40% of our workforce is employed in occupations that could see significant job losses(1). Although many new jobs will be created, the net impact on jobs will be felt unevenly by industries, communities and workers. Rural and middle America that prospered during the Industrial Era are at a greater risk in the Age of Digital Dominance. Many jobs requiring lower skills will be disproportionally disrupted. The new jobs created will favor those communities connected and committed to the future of work having made investments in digital and social infrastructure, business development, work-related skills-based training, and tax incentives.
(4th article in a series – by Duncan Robins)
ORGANIZATIONS OF THE FUTURE ARE BEING FORMED TODAY
In the near future, competition will be so fierce in the winners-take-all global market that corporations will be forced to break with their rigid, Industrial Era, organizational structures. They will need workforces that are more agile with higher skills, less segmented by function, and more able to assemble quickly, in small teams when needed. Corporations will have to work with skeptical Millennials, who have much different values and working styles than their parents. These two powers may be in tension, but they are also proving that new working arrangements, ones that defy current norms and test existing laws, will benefit both corporations and their prized, Millennial workers. However, not all workers will enjoy the spoils of the new working paradigms, as many will be left on the other side of the widening Digital and Educational Divides in the Age of Digital Dominance.
(5TH article in a series – by Duncan Robins)
During the next decade, communities, organizations and the nature of work will be transformed on a global scale and at an accelerating pace. The Industrial Era will give way to the Age of Digital Dominance as Millennials become the working majority and robots (in both physical and digital forms) become ubiquitous.