It has been almost half a century since American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler made business and governments sit up and think with his bestseller Future Shock. Described variously as illuminating, provoking and frightening, his take on economics, technology and social change discussed the rise of new business, the emerging global civilisation and overwhelming, rapid change.
Toffler also made some startling predictions. In 1970, his suggestion that in the future, fewer jobs would require employees to be physically present in an office, was outrageous. When he wrote that homes would one day resemble electronic cottages and allow a better work-life balance, it strained the imagination of the corporate world.
Toffler also predicted that instead of thinking in terms of a career, the “citizen of the superindustrial society will think in terms of serial careers”. “Not infrequently the new job involves not merely a new employer, a new location and a new set of work associates, but whole new way of life,” he wrote. The past half-century has proven Toffler right on many of his predictions that were so shocking in the 1970s, yet the workplace of the 21st century shares similar fears for the future – the rapid pace of change, technology and work-life balance.
Today though, change is accepted as inevitable, and there is little room for future shock as recruitment companies are armed with information to track trends in the future workplace for the benefit of both individuals and organisations.
It is with this in mind, The Brief has spoken to three leaders, outside the sector, who are not only facing disruption, but revelling in it.
Professor Sarah Hosking (pictured left) is working with some of the biggest names in the charity sector on a collaborative project which is almost single-handedly changing the way Australian charities contemplate the fundraising model.
Shifting the paradigm from one of competitiveness to collaboration, Sarah who is the CEO with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, has shown an appetite for disruption and rather than run from it, she embraces it and encourages those she is working with her to do the same.
“We have two main things we do as an organisation: we fundraise and we invest in research,” Sarah explained. “The pace of research is accelerating because of advancements in digital and technology including big data and enhanced analysis techniques.
“In 1994 when NBCF started, we couldn’t fully map the human genome. Yet today, we can map it in just a few hours. Research is taking less time to make breakthroughs, because of this technology.
“We are also able to better shar