I am exploring the future of work with leaders at the Innovating Georgia’s Workforce Pipeline Conference. It is a one-day conference designed to innovate Georgia’s talent development and workforce pipeline. The keynote is designed to be an an interactive session that generates innovation leaders can use. However, the future of work is a complex issue. Will we all be replaced by robots? Do older workers have a place in the workforce of the future? Should Millennials and younger generations be the focus?
I am going to add my Futurist insights and would love to hear from all of you. How do you see the future of work?
Great news! There is still time to register for the conference. Visit the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s web site to register. It would be wonderful to meet some of you live and in-person! If you are not going to be in Georgia, then add your insights about the future of work below! I look forward to reading your ideas.
I am honored to be speaking about the work of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) on Thursday, April 18. My talk is one of many exciting conversations about the future at the Nebraska Law Telecommunications Conference on the Rural Digital Divide. I am going to talk about RFI as well as the importance of both connectivity and connectedness now and into the future. This is an especially important topic for women because it impacts all areas of our life ranging from finances and fitness to faith and family.
The conference is hosted by the Space, Cyber, & Telecom Program at the University of Nebraska College of Law. How cool is that…a Space, Cyber & Telecom Law Program? Absolutely! Technology is changing very rapidly, and we need experts to help shape the future through policies and laws that are as cutting-edge as the tech. I have had the pleasure to partner with some of these amazing faculty members and am really look forward to the conference. The conference is free and open to the public.
Please join us to explore the future of connectivity, connectedness, humanity and much more!!
Business is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer” who has a buffet of buying choices. Empowered consumers decide how they want to purchase goods and services. Big Data [collecting information (data) from multiple sources to detect trends, identify patterns and make decisions] is one tool that can be used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns. It is also being used to examine and redesign various areas of the consumer experience.
Entrepreneurs and leaders can use Big Data to capitalize on consumer patterns and demands while creating more customized consumer experiences. Data is collected with every click, and some metrics can be used almost immediately. In 2014, Black Friday was November 28. Data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Black Friday Report was available almost immediately and was published on December 2, 2014. According to IBM, online Black Friday sales grew by 9.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. Retail ecommerce (orders via computer) and mcommerce (orders via mobile device) are predicted to increase by double-digit margins well into 2018 (eMarketer, 2014). Data demonstrates the continued growth of the digital marketplace, and rural businesses must find ways to capitalize on these trends.
The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything. Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed. Many of these same individuals are transforming commerce and communities in new and innovative ways. The definition of community is not limited to a physical location. Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.
People are choosing how to meet virtually, and when, where and whether or not to meet face-to-face. They are also connecting around common causes. Commerce, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized. Savvy consumers seek and create value they crave to transform their lives. Technology enables the delivery of information, goods and services anytime, anywhere, and from anyone in a way that makes sense while adding value to the lives of consumers.
For example, companies like Stitch Fix (http://www.StitchFix.com) initially get to know their customers with a personal style quiz and continue to gather information about the clientele every month by sending them personalized clothing selections. Orders are delivered to clients and customers pay only for what they keep. Stitch Fix tracks the feedback on likes and dislikes after every shipment and learns how to better serve its customers with the data it continuously collects.
Consumer demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends. Empowered consumers want unique experiences that add value to their lives. Future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.
Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders:
Connect and work together online and offline.Build your support network to generate ideas and get help growing your business. The most successful entrepreneurs and leaders help one another. I see this all of the time with authors too! They promote one another while helping each other grow their businesses and ideas.
Get rid of assumptions and use data to make decisions. Take a few ideas from places having success in the marketplace, such as Stitch Fix.
Future-Focused Entrepreneurs and Leaders:
Take Action with Cooperation, Creativity and Purpose
Interestingly enough, the hottest jobs at Facebook require a “human touch.” Why? Facebook is looking for people who can close sales because its revenue relies heavily on ads (Anders, 2014). Perhaps the most future-focused entrepreneurial leaders are blending “high human touch” with “high-tech” in new and interesting ways that holistically add value to the lives of others.
Future-focused, entrepreneurial leaders can use megatrends and technology to change the game of life. One person cannot do it alone in a world that continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace; rather, rural entrepreneurs should innovate in communities with a spirit of cooperation, creativity, and purpose. Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs and leaders can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating rural businesses in ways not yet imagined.
Go Wild with the Decentralized Global Marketplace! Watch the video below for more details on how you can innovate your companies and communities with cooperation, creating and purpose!
PS: Share your thoughts, ideas and actions with the Ask Dr. Connie community. We would love to hear from you!
The tools and technologies that help people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, are also fueling Megatrend #2: Living with Purpose and Meaning. Purposeful living is shaping everything from healthcare to education.
Our society is quickly evolving into an era characterized by shared purpose and meaning. Personal fulfillment is a growing trend in business and entrepreneurship. People are looking to decrease their levels of stress and strengthen their healthy habits while finding greater fulfillment.
Ben & Jerry’s is an example of a company that integrates purpose and meaning into its core existence by creating “linked prosperity” for everyone involved with the business. The company supports “linked prosperity” by establishing and aligning social, product and economic missions (benjerry.com/values).
The Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend will continue to grow as the global population increases and places more demands on the planet’s limited natural resources. What does this mean for female entrepreneurs? They may be able to grow by connecting to people through purpose and meaning. Technology may be one way future-focused entrepreneurs can holistically add more purpose and meaning to the lives of both clients and employees.
For example, a forecast by Carbone and Nauth in The Futurist (2012) describes the evolution of the “cloud” from a repository or information to an intelligent resource that can help make decisions and provide assistance. They discuss the cloud evolving from a place to store data to an intelligent resource that will actively help people improve their lives:
Virtual agents will migrate from being an automated form of phone-based customer service to a personalized form of support and assistance that provides information and—more importantly—performs useful tasks. For example, such agents might design a weekly menu based on a family’s health profile, fitness goals, and eating preferences, and automatically order ingredients.
This forecast provides an example of how entrepreneurs can use technology to help their organizations innovate with a focus on the future. A transition from cloud-based computing to cloud-based living and learning is an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to create new profit centers and customer experiences while strengthening employee engagement in a more holistic manner.
Three trends supporting the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend include: 1) minimalism, 2) life increasingly flowing together instead of being compartmentalized into work, family, recreation, etc., and 3) the quest for greater well-being, health and vitality.
Minimalism is one of the trends shaping the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend because people are seeking less stuff and more life. Trend-setting places like the Silicon Valley have embraced minimalism, and this approach to living is influencing everything from living spaces, to workplaces and web design.
People are increasingly learning and living on the go in both the virtual and physical senses, which blurs the lines between family, self-care, work and play. Research has demonstrated that happiness is a precursor to success. These findings question the view that hard work will lead to success, which eventually leads to happiness. Raising levels of positivity in the present creates a “happiness advantage” in the brain, leading to better outcomes in the areas of education, business and well-being. To learn more, check out Shawn Achor’s 2011 TED Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work.
How do these trends influence entrepreneurship? As more people want to connect with their purpose, find meaning in their lives, and increase their vitality, businesses and communities should take a more people-centered approach focused on meaning, well-being and the mind-body connection, supported by the right social networks, experiences and technologies. A few ideas might include:
Integrating holistic, healthy living and self-care principles into business practices in an effort to create better employee and customer experiences and to create more value in products and services.
Providing coaching for employees to help them uncover their purpose and to create strategies and structures to support meaningful actions designed to improve their careers and lives.
Adding physical activity and fun into the workday in an effort to stimulate creativity, decrease stress, build camaraderie and strengthen overall wellness.
It’s time to focus on the whole person and what life means to each individual. Helping people find their fulfillment, purpose and definition of success may provide future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs with tools to innovate their organizations and communities. Businesses should find new ways to add increased value to the lives of customers, employees and families. People can choose where they want to work, shop and live. They also choose how to invest their time and money. Businesses that add the most value, including those in rural areas, will have the competitive advantage.
Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:
Develop a clear purpose.Clarity of purpose creates a meaningful path to success. A great coaching tool to use: Create a vision board with your “why” in mind.
Define core values. A business should develop core values that truly represent its brand. Empowered consumers connect with brands and businesses that have core values similar to their own. Outline the core values of your business and what each value means. A great strategic plan can evolve from clear core values. Create visual images for each value and make your values public. Share them with world. They help tell your story.
Make self-care a priority.Physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being are all important. Successful entrepreneurs and their teams need time for creativity and a lot of energy to grow their ventures!
Get positive.A positive mindset has been scientifically proven to support everything from creativity and innovation to increased sales and employee engagement. If you need more help learning how to be more positive, begin coloring your way to happiness with Blue the Bee Learns to Be Happy! (Reimers-Hild and Wetizenkamp, 2015).
Practice gratitude. Keep a physical or digital journal and write in it daily. Writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for everyday will help your brain focus on the positive while helping your notice new opportunities!
Share the stories that enhance the brand with your team and your customers. Use social media platforms to create and present meaningful content worth reading and sharing. People connect with experiences and stories behind the products and services they use!
HAVE FUN! Fun is absolutely invaluable. It decreases stress and improves relationship. Fun is also a foundation to creativity and innovation. This is an area I expand upon in my first book, Go Wild with Confidence! (Reimers-Hild, 2013).
Check out the video below focusing on Megatrend 2: Living with Purpose and Meaning. And, let us know what you are doing to improve your life.
Go Wild with Your Future! And, as always-Be YOU and Do Something Cool!
It has been a full week! One of the big events: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
The Tweet by Melissa Stewart connected me to the story behind Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Founder and CEO, started Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with great passion and purpose. She is giving women a global voice. To learn more, read the article published in Fortune about Wendy Diamond:
My son is quite a character. Even daily challenges like sitting in traffic can become fun-filled “Awesome Mom Moments” when they are viewed through the eyes of children!
“Awesome Mom Moments” energize me to take inspired action! Who knew that “turkey shopping” could help me redefine my business? The simplicity of his answer struck a chord in me. I needed to simplify my life.
I have purposely stepped away from blogging for a while. On May 1, 2015 I began a new career journey. I joined the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska as their Associate Director. It is a fantastic role with an organization focused on an exciting vision: The Rural Futures Institute will be an internationally recognized leader for increasing community capacity as well as the confidence of rural people to address their challenges and opportunities, resulting in resilient and sustainable rural futures. The new role meant that it was time for me to update my website, blog and business purpose.
This transition has been a journey for me, my family and my business. It is an honor to be both a University administrator and an entrepreneur. My business and blog are also going to evolve. The key area I am personally committed to is empowering women and girls around the world. I am specifically connecting with women over the age of 40 to do this. Why? Women over 40 are powerful, dynamic, game-changing leaders who are making the world a better place through family and the workplace. However, their contributions go unrecognized too often. I want to change the narrative so young women and girls see an amazing version of their future selves and so boys and men better respect and appreciate all that women bring to the table of life.
The joyful simplicity and honesty of my son’s “turkey shopping” comment was a moment of pure joy. While life sometimes seems overwhelming and stressful, it should be fun, simple, beautiful and joyful.
I am asking you to help me begin a new conversation about women over 40. What brings you joy? What are your “Awesome Mom Moments?” What topics and resources would add value to your life? Please leave your joyful experiences, Awesome Mom Moments and ideas in the comments section below!
Go Wild with Your Turkey Shopping and Awesome Mom Moments!