Déjà Vu

Yogi Berra There are a lot of 20th Century pundits trying to revive stale, Industrial Era concepts of work. They are making lofty claims and calling it, ‘The Future of Work.’ They are focused on ‘new transformative information technologies.‘ It is not only useless, pathetic and harmful, it’s déjà vu all over again.

These unscrupulous ‘Future of Work’ dilettantes traffic in vague platitudes like ‘new modes of management.’ Some are assembling online communities to advance their own obsolete notions and bygone ideas.

For example, in 2014, these establishment pundits are still preoccupied with ‘enterprise’ – firms with more than 500 workers. Well, here’s a Newsflash, firms with greater than 500 workers account for just 0.3% of businesses in the USA. That’s right, 99.7% of US registered firms have fewer than 500 employees. (Washington Post April 24, 2013) Contrary to the enterprise pundits, the future is small business.

This warped pursuit will reveal nothing about the future or work. It’s because the US economy is a work culture of small business, not ginormous enterprise. In addition, the 0.3% big ‘enterprise’ firms employ over 65%, or most, of the minimum and low-wage workers in the USA. What is their future?


Pundits focus on enterprise because it’s all they know. They are fearful of fluid business ecosystems because it is complex. It cannot be controlled by their vanity.

Dynamic wealth creation terrifies enterprise pundits to the point of insanity. They repeat the same thing over and over and over hoping it comes true or produces a different outcome. These incantations at the altar of enterprise information technology are pitiful. These pundits offer nothing more than fetishistic praise of technology. Beware.

Enterprise IT buffs depend on organizational inertia for relevance. Without bureaucracy they are toast. Thing is, the future will not be defined by information, ‘modes of management’ or technology. What these pundits fail to accept is the Industrial Era and the Information Revolution (1957-2007) are both very much over.

What is creating the future is a cultural revolution. Today 9000 Baby Boomers retire every day. As these pot-bellied geezers ease into retirement, obsolete Mid-Century rules and procedures go along with them. The stagnant, moribund business legacies of the 20th Century are failing as fast as old-school pundits. More IT/enterprise hubris means nothing to the future. Quite to the contrary, the very Medieval notion of mechanical and informational work, advanced by the of ‘Future of Work’ blowhards, is simply obsolete.


Recall, 70% of the 2004 ‘Fortune 1000’ are gone. Mention Schumpeter’s creative destruction to Establishment punditry and expect a blank stare.

The real meaning of ‘the future of work’ is about the next great episode of wealth creation. Work, per se, will take care of itself. It is the creation of wealth that propels individuals, groups, networks and civil society. Some of these principles are –

– Producing ideas is the main way to grow the economy;
– Knowledge creation, not transactions, is the essential business capability;
– Authentic knowledge workers and the creative class propel major disruptions;
-Sociology, biological and behavioral science subsumes information technologies for sense-making, knowledge creation, growth and prosperity. 

Smug pundits travel little outside their rigid, bureaucratic comfort zones. Some create self-serving echo chambers and call them communities. They create multi-colored caricatures of obsolete enterprise models to propel their pernicious vernacular and idioms. What they are doing in fact is perpetuating the status quo to assure their self-appointed stature.

Self-absorbed Establishment pundits are terrified by iconoclastic leaders and often lash out. One well noted pundit had the temerity to claim any opposing view of the ‘Future of Work’ was tantamount to ‘sowing discord.’ Unbelievable.


True experts are calm. We learn from the emerging future. We exhibit a joyful embrace of people, openness and complexity. Leaders like us are vulnerable. We acknowledge disruptive innovation originates from empathy. True leaders know performance, productivity and prosperity originate from original thinking, network multiformity, conceptual blending, abduction, situated cognition, disequilibrium, serendipity, narrative, lateral thinking and a wide-range of other crucial nondeterministic behaviors. Authentic conversation is how we Create the Future.

Colabria Action Research

Colabria EET

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