Known for its extensive coverage in all that is new and ground-breaking in future trends and technology, WIRED Germany has been a great partner to the ForeWork initiative. We spoke to Executive Publisher Eike Lucas on his view of the future of work.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
As Publisher of WIRED Germany, I am responsible for all commercial aspects and strategic business decisions of the brand including advertising and campaigns, our educational offers, the rapidly growing consulting business, as well as our events and conferences.
Before WIRED, you were a part of Pioneers, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, influencers, and tech innovators connect. How does that experience influence your involvement in the future of work today?
Like WIRED, Pioneers has a first-hand glance into rising technologies that massively affect the way we work, go to market, and consume. Additionally, both brands are highly embedded in the European and global startup culture with their unique way of working. These insights have shaped my perspective on processes and the future of work in general. In particular, the collaborative spirit and the high agility of startups are things every corporate – from big conglomerates to SMEs – has to adapt to and learn in order to be around in the future. From my experience with the clients or companies I worked for, this adaptation is a pretty unique process for each type of organization. That’s why we created WIRED Consulting, a customized strategic and educational offer that helps major players adapt their processes and culture to act with the required agility to current change processes.
It’s undeniable that tech has been a major driving force behind the changes taking place in the workplace. What specifically has been the most disruptive innovation in your opinion?
There are so many innovations and I think there are massive technological leaps forward in each industry – from blockchain to augmented reality. In retrospect of the last ten, fifteen years, Social Media is probably one of the most disruptive innovations as it changes our whole society with many challenges like fake news or targeted political campaigns. Apart from the fact that we still need to find ways to deal with the different positive and negative impacts of these changes, it is for sure that these platforms are transforming not only the media industry but also the structure of marketing in companies as well as agencies. However, with the rise of cloud-based, smart neural networks and massive leaps forward in Biohacking, the biggest disruptions are yet to come.
What role, in general, do you believe tech is playing/will play when it comes to the future of work, specifically for large organizations?
There is no specific answer that applies to every large organization. But: the dictum that every company needs to become an IT company definitely holds true for the giants. Smart and effective ways to keep key technologies like CRMs and other databases up-to-date and meaningfully connected with all other parts of the business will be key.
Has any future of work-inspired policy been adopted by WIRED?
We adapted and integrated various methods like Design Thinking and Agile Working or tools like Slack in our everyday processes. Plus, we live an open culture with flat hierarchies and have a lot of freedom to experiment.
How do you balance staying on the “edge” with leveraging present technologies? Is it important to balance thinking about the future with exploring and examining what currently exists?
Most important is an assessment of your needs in combination with the knowledge of existing prerequisites, processes, and opportunities. Implementing technology for technology’s sake never makes sense. Technology itself is never effective, supportive, good, or bad. The quality results from a meaningful use of technology.
What is your recommendation for how to have your voice heard as technology continues to develop? Innovation brings tremendous opportunity but also has a major impact on every part of our lives – how can the individual make sure they influence the future?
Consumerism remains a very strong tool. This is not new or very innovative, but seriously – conscious consumer behavior and use of technology will define the world we live in. If we all stopped using Facebook tomorrow, the currently most powerful media company on the planet would be out of business within a short period of time. Massive data centers don’t pay for themselves. Or at least they might move from the ad into the cloud business quickly.
What are your future of work predictions?
The way we work will change drastically with smart tools for collaboration on all levels of the economy. This includes our workplaces – from changing office architecture to an increase of home office workspaces. It’s quite likely that new technologies will further affect the employment structure with a constant rise of freelance workers. With technological support on easier tasks, the creative part of work will increase on all levels.
All this needs to be addressed by educational and social concepts. We will probably see a lot of changes in all parts of society rather sooner than later.
What attracted you to the ForeWork initiative? What in particular are you hoping will come out of it?
WIRED regularly delves into the future of work, through our education program or editorial-wise. Thus, we are excited to be part of Jovoto’s initiative. I look forward to seeing a very unique collaboration process and the ideas of smart, globally connected minds that will shape one of the most important topics of our time.
Want to find out more about ForeWork? Read about the initiative and see all the innovative ideas submitted so far here.