On Monday 7 October, approximately sixty leaders and experts interested in the future of work met at a morning seminar focusing on the changing work and its future, in other words, the Future of Work. At the networking event, Aalto University professors talked about their research on the theme and offered glimpses to the future. Taking place in Dipoli, the seminar was also part of the training offered by its organiser Aalto University Executive Education this autumn.
The Future of Work project, which has received funding from the Academy of Finland for four years (2019–2022), brings together multidisciplinary research on the future of work at Aalto University. The network discusses and learns about the new forms of work in the future and their effect on the world of business and society in Finland. The network brings together researchers, business representatives and legislators.
The theme was introduced by Eero Vaara, Professor of Organization and Management at the School of Business, and Research Director Hertta Vuorenmaa, who are responsible for the Future of Work project.
According to them, there is talk about the fourth revolution of work, but the truth is that work has always evolved. Currently the transformation is, of course, faster than before, but we often exaggerate the change.
‘The change of work also involves several myths, false beliefs and partial truths. One of these beliefs is that the revolution of work would lead to mass unemployment in all industries and countries, or that manual and operational work would disappear completely. This is not the case, nor will artificial intelligence and digitalisation replace the experts. People will complete the key tasks and make decisions also in the future’, Vaara and Vuorenmaa said.
Change in work takes place at macro, meso and micro levels. At the macro-level, artificial intelligence, automation, robotisation and virtual technologies gradually change the structural distribution of labour. At the meso-level, new types of networks are created and ‘organisation charts’ are reorganised. At the micro-level, changes occur in how the time and place of employment are, unlike before, separated from work.
After Vaara and Vuorenmaa’s presentation, short introductions were given by Professor Risto Rajala, Head of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at the School of Science, Aalto University Provost Kristiina Mäkelä and Assistant Professor in Design Business Management Taija Turunen from the School of Business, as well as Executive in Residence Juha Äkräs. They all conduct research on the theme either by themselves or with their team. After the introductions, the seminar participants were able to discuss their own experiences and ideas with the academics in small groups.
Professor Vaara’s and Research Director Vuorenmaa's presentation can be viewed as a recording from 11 October (link: https://www.aaltoee.com/aalto-leaders-insight/2019/future-of-work-now-what-why-how). A registration in the system is required for viewing the recording.
If you are interested in hearing what is going on in the Future of Work project, you can join the email list. This provides you with information on the research and events taking place in the network.
Join the email list here: https://bit.ly/31VRDtX
Professor, Future of Work
tel. +358 (0)50 305 9359
Research Director, Future of Work
tel. +358 (0)40 149 5939
Text: Terhi Ollikainen