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11.45 GMT. The organisational context in which intranets operate was brought into sharp focus in the day’s first keynote presentation. Dan Pink, former speechwriter and aide to Al Gore and author of Whole New Mind – Why Right Brainers will Rule the Future, invoked an intruiging mix of Marxism, neurology and macroeconomics to explain how the "landscape of work" is shifting and why corporations must adapt urgently to this new world order.

Speaking from Miami Beach, Dan identified five trends which he claimed were "reshaping the workplace". They are:

  1. The demise of paternalism – the era when companies provided security in return for their employees’ loyalty has ended. Instead, a new bargain is being struck: the individual gives talent while the organisation provides opportunity (to make money or to do interesting and important work).
  2. The changing economics of production. In the internet age, the Marxist notion of workers owning the means of production might finally be realised. Through their ability to work anywhere using PCs and communication technologies, individuals now need organisations less than organisations need talented people.
  3. The emergence of the meaning gap. Despite significant rises in prosperity over the past 50 years, the sense of subjective wellbeing among Western populations has barely shifted. At the same time, Dan notes, there has been a "democratisation of self-realisation": advanced economies have reached the point where individuals are less concerned with material wealth than with quality-of-life issues. Looking ahead, the most successful organisations will be those that provide employees with a broader sense of mission and purpose, Dan argues.
  4. The dilution of borders. Organisations need no longer rely solely on the expertise within their own four walls to solve problems and innovate. The porousness of corporate borders – i.e. the ability of companies to exploit talent wherever it is located – could be the key to future performance.
  5. The rise of the right-brain economy. The historical reliance on left-brain activities (logic, analytical skills, etc) has been undermined by factors such as automation and the commoditisation of global labour. The new emphasis will be on right-brain skills, such as empathy and big-picture thinking, and what Dan refers to as "high concept, high touch work".

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.

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