Focus 2040 Final Presentation 2010


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FOCUS 2040

A competition facilitated by McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, in association with SCNetwork – it is open to undergraduate and graduate level business students, including those completing a minor in business. The Ask - predict the world of work in the year 2040. This competition is the first of its kind in the HRM and Organizational Strategy domain, and leverages the value of industry-academic affiliation to deliver experiential learning.


On March 23, 2010, I travelled to Hamilton, Ontario to predict the share my vision of work in 2040. I had been competing in a national student competition since January 2010 called Focus 2040 ( The first submission was an open call across Canada and we were asked to predict the employee of 2040. The Top 25 were asked to participate in the second stage, predicting the work environment of 2040. Lastly, Top 10 were invited to Ontario to share their vision and discuss the work systems of 2040. This is my presentation!

(Live video can be found on my YouTube channel:


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  • Hello my name is Jillian Walker and I am here today to share my vision on the future of work.A little about me… I am currently a Management student at the University of Lethbridge. I am in my final year and have a love and passion for Human Resources. I attend evening classes; therefore offering me the opportunity to work full-time in my field. I have been employed by the municipal government for the last 3 years and currently work on the Wellness team. In addition to education and employment, I am very active in the community.
  • Similarly to how this competition has been designed – I will first discuss the worker of 2040, move on to the work environment and lastly the work systems. I will conclude my presentation with recommendations for today’s organizations, academic institutions, and individuals.
  • For those of you who have judged my previous submissions, let me re-introduce you to Lecia. She is also featured on page 2 of the judge’s written supplement. Lecia is part of Generation Z. She was born in 2010; she values flexibility, spending most of her work day tele-conferencing and striving for work-life balance.Lecia is an active citizen in today’s community. She is environmentally conscious and is involved in the non-profit sector. She is fluent with all types of technology and encompasses it in her work day and home life. She utilizes all forms of social media and appreciates how much she can learn from web interfaces.
  • In the work environment,Lecia discusses socio-cultural, environmental, economic, and technological factors that affect the workplace.
  • <remove unemployment bullet>30 years ago Statistics Canada predicted that population growth would not be maintained without sustained immigration. Today’s workplace is a very diverse group of youth. With changes to public policy and an increased need for bilingualism – the integration of immigrants to Canada has been fairly seamless.10 years ago Canada and the USA joined to form a monetary union known as the CAMERO dollar. It mocks the EURO and has opened up opportunities for trade, education, and employment.Lecia also highlighted how nanotechnology has been incorporated into the workforce. Human-implanted technology is utilized by her organization and many others within Canada. The device, commonly known as “1link” is implanted in one’s wrist and assists in making information more readily available.
  • The 3rd piece to the Focus 2040 competition was to determine the work systems of 2040. Before I describe the systems in detail, I would like to take you back to March 14, 2010.
  • On March 14, I found out I made top 10 in this competition. Throughout the competition, I had 3 goals: to educate, engage, and empower. I wanted to educate the community on the competition itself and also issues facing society. I hoped to engage people in conversation by asking strategic questions. I planned to empower others by inspiring them to share their opinion and motivate them to be involved with this competition.
  • In 2008, The Pew Institute conducted a study called the “Internet & American Life Project” and found out that GenY makes up 30% of the internet-using population, while Gen X makes up 23%. Did you know that Facebook has 400 million users? Did you know that in three years, Twitter increased from 5,000 to 50 million tweets per day? There is a huge network of people that society is not tapping into… my goal was to find those people and generate excitement about the future.
  • First, I created a Facebook fan page. Am I a celebrity? No. Did I need fans? Absolutely not. The goal of the page was to act as a collaborative discussion forum. I felt that Facebook was an appropriate platform and would be able to make information readily available to both Gen X and Gen Y. In one week, I had over 200 fans and 2000 views.
  • I utilized Facebook to educate and engage viewers in many ways, but I will share the most successful. I created “Question of the Day” for 10 days… Themes ranged from sustainability to recruitment to gender equality. The example above states: “One of the MDGs is to “promote gender equality and empower women.” By 2015, the UN hopes to have equal #’s of boys/girls in education systems. In 2040, do you think women will have gender equality and pay equity in the workplace? Will the “glass ceiling” have been lifted”. You can see that this question had 9 responses, some questions had upwards of 15 well-thought-out responses. I also shared websites, articles, and video whenever it was relevant to the “future of work” and encouraged “fans” to have open communication with each other.
  • I also engaged users from Twitter. I linked Twitter to the Facebook page to generate traffic to my questions and encourage “futurist” idea sharing within another platform. Focus2040 has been discussed on the #YYC (Calgary feed) daily since March 14.
  • Lastly I decided to hold focus groups. I organized 2 last week – 1 with Gen X and 1 with Gen Y. The goal was to encourage discussion on 2040 hot topics and to provide additional research for this presentation.The use of Facebook, Twitter, and focus groups has allowed me to educate, engage, and empower others. I was able to broaden people’s perspective on current issues in society and get them thinking about the future.
  • When I started exploring the idea of work systems of the future – many ideas came to mind. I wanted to focus on a few theories that could apply direct to the workplace, and be relevant to both academic institutions and everyday organizations.First I will discuss the concept of social capital and how building social capital can be beneficial to both employees and employers. I will then speak to transformational leadership and the effects of this style of leadership on today’s society. I will conclude with evaluating a justice of ethics vs. justice of care system.
  • Social capital is a sociological theory that has been used in business and organizational behaviour since 1916. It refers to the connections within and between social networks, and shows that social contacts can affect the productivity of individuals and groups.It used to be the case that social capital was not readily available to all. With the advancements in technology, ……????For the purposes of adapting this theory to the work systems of 2040, I will use Robert Putnam’s (Harvard Political Scientist) definition of social capital: …the collective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other. Currently we dedicate a lot of time for social networks and civil interactions. I am not suggesting that we need to dedicate more time to the two mediums, instead we need to think about how we can utilize social capital in the workplace.
  • I’d like for everyone to think about how one could apply social capital theory to recruitment and selection.Putnam speaks of two main components of the concept: bridging social capital and bonding social capital. Bonding is the value of social networks; whereas bridging is the social networks between groups. As people in today’s society we continually create new relationships through work, university and our personal lives. The likelihood of those relationships having value has varied… there has been an idea that “the more friends the better”. In order for a social capital index to be effective, this mentality will have to shift as we move in the future,. To date, organizations have been unsure on how to measure social capital. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Kelly Williams, a tenure professor who specializes in HR and LR. She is currently doing research on the concept of a “social capital index”. This index would operate as a hiring tool for organizations globally and would
  • This is an example of bridging as “virtual social capital”. I analyzed the social media platforms that I am connected to and then considered the extent to which I could use them. I have never been evaluated on my social capital when entering an organization – but could it potentially be beneficial to an organization? I absolutely believe so. In today’s society – I would consider myself more connected to social media than the average person. I have a wealth of contacts and strive to maintain quality relationships that have impact on my life and others. Do you accept a friend request on Facebook – someone that you have just met once… and don’t know anything about? I think we are striving away from building relationships such as those. Quality is going to remain critical. I like the concept of LinkedIn. It is a professional business networking site that also provides opportunities for industry discussion. Every single one of my LinkedIn connections I have a business relationship with… if my organization was looking for a Marketing Professional or a Small Business Accountant – I could likely refer one within minutes.
  • What is transformational leadership? In 1985, it was defined by Bernard Bass as follows: “a process where leaders and followers engage in a process of raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation. In order to be a transformational leader, one has to be empathetic, encourage followers to be creative, create a compelling vision, and ensure people have respect in you. How does this relate to social capital theory and the world of work in 2040? We want leaders with these traits! I believe that we need to take transformational leadership ONE STEP FURTHER, I’ve noted it as “transformational leadership PLUS” but the name is rather irrelevant. I have a quote I would like to share… It is from Ross Perot, an American businessman: “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.”Leadership of the future needs to ensure that all employees are empowered and take initiative. If an organization matches employees with positions accurately, there is a large opportunity for empowerment to occur. If we transform hiring practices to function as a social capital index – I believe this can only increase the likelihood of employee-job fit. In order for transformational leadership to apply to 2040 and take it that one step further, it needs to include a participatory component as well as technical leadership.
  • Ethics of care is a new way of thinking about theories in the workplace. It is a theory about right and wrong – currently most systems in North America operate on an ethics of justice. Are there issues using ethics of justice in the workplace? It focuses on rules, law and principle. Is it innovative? Creative? Not so much.I believe that ethics of care is a way of the future. With this theory, one has to take into consider relationships before they respond to a situation. We have already looked at social capital theory and the concept of transformational leadership. The three of these theories coupled together will create opportunity for the workplace. We want employees to think differently – so why can’t we? Along with many theorists such as Virginia Held and Carol Gilligan, I believe that the ethic of caring is a social responsibility of both men and women.
  • In order for all of you to fully understand my vision of 2040 and apply it to your organizations, I will discuss what we can do TODAY to prepare for TOMORROW.
  • << add in environment and skill mastery >>
  • Through education and employment, individuals need to develop their creativity skills and train their right-brain to be more active
  • Thank you for being a part of this competition.
  • I would like to answer any questions you may have?
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