Many of us spend around a third of our lives at work, which is over 90,000 hours in a lifetime. We work for many reasons; to follow a passion, a meaningful career, to make a difference, for social connections, to provide for our family, and to pay for our lifestyle. The first organisations were teams of hunter-gatherers who brought together a range of different skills, so the collective was more than the sum of the parts, which is still true of organisations today.
In more recent times we’ve gone through a series of revolutions that have transformed the world of work. During the first steam-powered industrial revolution machines replaced skilled labour and many people suffered dreary work lives, as little more than machines themselves. The second, electric-powered revolution was less dirty and dangerous, but many people were still treated like machines. The third revolution of computers, networks, and data brought greater autonomy and a host of new roles, where using your brain was more important than what you did with your hands. We’re now entering what’s called the fourth industrial revolution, where automation and artificial intelligence promise to disrupt how we live and work; from self-driving cars, drones, digital assistants, and machine learning. Although ordering a cab or booking somewhere to stay may be easier and cheaper, these new technologies bring unintended consequences, like increased inequality and lower job security.