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tuning-in-to-our-times

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tuning-in-to-our-times

  1. 1. TUNING INTO OUR TIMES: CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE NEW ZEALAND LABOUR MARKET A PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION • MARIANNE DOCZI • WORK DIRECTIONS • 26 JULY 2006
  2. 2. • How the future is happening now • Why we need to understand how society, business and technology are interacting • Why we need to question some of our assumptions to strengthen the things we’re doing to support Better Work: Working Better. We’re living in times of unprecedented change and, as William Gibson said - the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed. So, you are thinking, what’s new? What’s different about these times? The pace: fast. The scale: huge. The direction: changes on multiple fronts. First half of 20th century - technology enabled a move to mass production: Fordism. But no equivalent social or cultural revolution. Second half of 20th century: Carnaby St and California Dreaming - social and cultural revolutions but the means of production and distribution didn’t essentially change. This time round it’s climate change on a global scale. I call it the 4 C’sons in one day: Culture, Commerce, Connectivity and China. Culture - attitudes, values, life patterns, demographic changes. Commerce - how business is done, what a business is, where it takes place, who runs them, are all changing. Connectivity - not just the internet and broadband. But also the development of social and economic networks, and networks of networks. China. Where to start. Clever, Huge, Innovative, Nation- alistic and Ambitious. Not Cheap, Humble, Introverted, Naive and Amateur. That view, to paraphrase my niece, is so last century. The 4 C’sons in one day. Climate change, but not as we know it James. What’s different this time are the ways in which the social, economic and technological are converging as the internet, broadband and mobile multi-media devices (M3D) provide new ways of operating; personally and commercially. And the force of the East Wind: China. As we quoted from Edward Elgar, in relation to innovation, in our Planning for New Zealand’s future labour market paper, it’s not just the economy that transforms, it’s the whole of society: politics, social relations, how and where we live, how we organise our education system, and how our culture shapes our beliefs and attitudes. We now have a mass market of individual consumers and a mass movement of everyday people, who are increas- ingly putting themselves first, as consumers, citizens and workers. PRESENTATION
  3. 3. In more than an electronic sense, we’re experiencing a revolution from e-commerce to Me-Commerce. The individualistic society and economy, empowered by the internet, might be strongest with Generation Y, the born to iT generation, but it’s infusing other generations as well. How’s this all affecting the labour market - the supply of and the demand for talent? The answer is that we simply don’t know enough to judge, and adjust our advice and services accordingly. To be future prepared to the extent we should and could be. We’re in danger of making assumptions about the future that might have use-by-dates. That we should be testing. So let’s improve our future preparedness by exploring five assumptions: things we shouldn’t take for granted. What if ... • Life patterns don’t go on much as usual ... • Business isn’t just business as we think of it ... • Innovation isn’t all about the big discovery, the high- tech stuff ... • We don’t just need more tertiary qualified, technically skilled people ... • Money doesn’t matter most ... But before we start, let’s be real: • We do live in increasingly complex times - while we need to know more, actually we’re over-informed and over-choiced - and some groups in society have little or no choice about how they live. • Governments and officials can’t pull the ‘big levers’ anymore to improve wealth and well-being: we have to harness the mood of the times. • While there’s a larger divide between the very rich and the very poor, most people are more affluent, but not happier. • There are lots of paradoxes: we want simplicity and sophistication; privacy but openness; novelty but constancy; to take risks but for the government to fix things. • We’re increasingly a ‘me, me, me’ society, but we want, to “belong”, to have a sense of connection and community: but often we care more about the wider world than we do about our immediate community. If, as Voltaire said, the present is pregnant with the future, we’d better find out what’s about to give birth. And the obvious place to start are with relationships, families, and households - life patterns.
  4. 4. People move through adulthood largely as they always have. Grow up; settle down; training; OE; job; family; work; retire at 65. BUT we know it’s not like that now • Much more variety in our personal relationships, our sexuality, in how we partner and re-partner, in our living arrangements. • Fewer children, later, and fewer people having children. • Hypermobile - living further from our families. • Increasingly having family responsibilities for young and old. • Closer to friends, and people like us or who we’d like to be like - more than with families or neighbours. Or feeling closer to people we meet only in cyberspace. • View work differently - less attachment. • Want more meaning from all aspects of life. • Super busy - earning the basics or because of demanding, high powered jobs. • Spending on experiences & consumables, rather than physical assets or saving. • Spending assets in retirement rather than leave an inheritance to our children. Increasingly our lives are more about ME, than about us. “Also today, I think you’ve got different support mecha- nisms in our society. A lot of it, a lot of the previous sup- port may have been the neighbour and may have been the grandmother or the aunty, or whatever. The aunty’s now 200 miles away, the neighbour doesn’t actually even know your name, or is working. A lot of the traditional things that we had, say, even five years ago, especially 10 years ago, just have gone because you’ve got now both parents having to work.” NZ Families Commission research 2006 While NZ society has substantial differences from other Western societies because of Maori as tangata whenua and the high proportion of Pacific people, cultures based on a strong sense of caring and community, the move to- wards individualism and changing family and life patterns is also reflected here. It’s not just demographics and life passages that are changing. It’s how we care. Why is how we care as a soci- ety so important to the labour market, to the economy? Because, at a time when society is becoming much less caring and connected, we’ve got an economy that re- quires more caring and connection, on a number of levels. If work ever had a religion, I suggest it’s no longer the blend of Protestant work ethic and Catholic guilt, it’s moved on to New Age religion! • Love your job or organisation - passion for the brand • Love your colleagues - teamwork, tolerance ASSUMPTION 1: LIFE GOES ON PRETTY MUCH AS USUAL
  5. 5. • Love contributing your ideas - be creative and innovative • Love your customers - ‘have a good day’ • Love looking after those in need, or those from whom we need protection: young, old, sick, the not-coping; drug addicts; criminals. So, we’ve got two important dimensions, which should be in sync, going in opposite directions. The caring-less society and the care-more economy. This is a challenge given our changing life patterns, the increasing stresses of modern living, and our recent employment relations history. • Public dialogue is still heavily about labour as a cost rather than an investment. • Budgets are tight in the caring sector and jobs are increasingly being ‘industrialised’. Are we in danger of taking caring for granted? Will enough of us: • Continue to be willing and able to look after relations in need? • Continue to be willing to pay taxes so that people who can’t look after themselves are cared for; take an interest in caring for the wider world in need? • Continue to put work before life? • Continue to be tolerant of those who can’t make it? New Zealanders in the World Values Study were asked why people live in need. Are people poor because of their laziness and lack of will power? Or is it because society treats them unfairly? Sixty per cent of respondents considered that people were poor because of laziness and lack of will power. Remember what people used to say about the unemployed. A recent UK report on child and adolescent mental health identified that at any one time in the UK, one in ten children under 16 years of age has a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder, and amongst 11-16 year olds, 10-12% are affected. This creates issues not only for the children but also for parents and carers in the paid workforce. And the quality and quantity of the future workforce. In a society where people are expected to be much more capable of looking after themselves. Our OSH specialists have identified stress as a major workplace issue. And there’s increasing research about the anxiety of modern living. Will our increasing rates of mental health problems mean we’re less able to care for ourselves, let alone others? Will better wages and conditions alone solve the recruit- ment and retention problems of the care industries? Or do changing life patterns, driven by economic condi- tions (cost of having children; desire to improve our cir- cumstances by internal or external migration or the need to work longer hours than we want) create less of a willingness or capacity to care? Information from the UK suggests they’re becoming less
  6. 6. caring. The issue for New Zealand might not be so much one of “how different are we?” as what happens when children live/work in different cities or countries, far distant from their parents/grandparents, and it’s not physically possible to provide direct caring even if the desire is there. What are the implications of all of this? The pluses and minuses: As with any changes, there are up- and down-sides: • More entrepreneurialism - amongst Generations Y & X, and Baby B(l)oomers, as they seek to follow their own interests rather than work for someone else. • Regions reinvigorate - as people ‘downshift’ by moving to climate and family-friendly provinces. • Growth in the ‘I’ll care for you for a fee’ sectors - e.g. complementary health, spa and refresh tourism, life coaching. • A more assertive, articulate, socially skilled, ambi- tious workforce. Here, it’s interesting to note that in a recent National Library survey, Gen Y staff said that they expected to take personal responsibility for learning, needed to have some fun, be free to make mistakes, and wanted to be fostered to think entre- preneurially. Great. BUT there’s also the prospect of: • Less well socialised workers - As parents increasingly ‘outsource’ childrearing, and fewer people are avail- able for voluntary, community activities, where are the entrepreneurs and employees of the future going to learn creativity, persistence, empathy, self-reflection, self-management etc. so vital for increasing produc- tivity and innovation? • Less of the features of New Zealandness - good public health system and good education for children, plus a low crime rate - that reinforce the commit- ment of New Zealanders to remain here, and attract skilled migrants. • Less caring extended to strangers who “invade” peo- ple’s familiar spaces: workplaces and neighbourhoods: new visibly different migrants; people with mental health problems: NIMBY. • Less innovative capacity because of a reduction in altruism and good will. We’re starting to look at this with our research programme, e.g. Quality of Work. But we need to tune into our times more explicitly. We could look at: • Implications of changing life attitudes - not just de- mographics but how people are thinking and feeling: Gens Y, X and Baby B(l)oomers: how this affects the supply of and demand for labour, and incorporate this into all of our work. • Understand better the impact of population-based health trends - mental health and stress, obesity, iPod deafness - on the current and future workforce, and the workplace. • Understand the potential life patterns and attitudes of Asians aged 15-39 years who will increase from 9% to 16% of the population by 2021.
  7. 7. Profitability; scale; efficiency; productivity, all continue to be important but how they’re achieved, and who can achieve them is now very different. The internet and broadband are refining industrial logic - mass production efficiency. These increase the ability to outsource and be part of complex global supply and value chains. They en- able a new sort of global reach and scale to be achieved by reducing not only the costs of transactions but more importantly the costs of interactions, and of innovation. They’re changing business models in traditional industries - retail, entertainment, advertising, manufacturing, and tourism - and making new business models viable. Epiphyte capitalism: New internet based multi-national enterprises (MNE) - Google; Skype; e-Bay; MySpace - allow small players to achieve global reach. The Long Tail: Chris Anderson, editor Wired magazine, in his 2004 book The Long Tail, identified the ability to make a profit by selling less to the few: Niche products can be produced profitably over a long time because they’re largely digital, and can be produced on demand to a mar- ket aggregated across time and distance. Profitability no longer requires selling mega volumes within a short time of a product being marketed. The long tail challenges the paradigm that profitability comes only by selling high volume within a short time. e-commerce has become ME-commerce as smaller play- ers/individuals leverage their offerings via the internet: Knowledge products, scientific and technical, musical, visual or personal reflection - the low, the middle and the high-brow. • Blogs - commercial and amateur - make money directly or indirectly. • The rock group Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sold 100,000 copies of its CD without using a traditional record label. • 37signals.com made $130k profit from 6000 down- loads of a PDF of their web application book. • Netflix the world’s largest online DVD rental service distributes indie films and documentaries as well as mainstream releases: 4 million customers. • On-line cognitive behavioural therapy is approved by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. • InnoCentive is an internet network of 75,000 contract scientists available for R&D. Cultural economy: These also reflect the escalation of the cultural economy - the production of goods and serv- ices previously provided within families, or only consumed by hippies - Western developed nations’ economies are increasingly being built around the consumption of mean- ing (the experience economy and importance of brand- ing), and the purchasing of personal services. ASSUMPTION 2: IT’S BUSINESS AS USUAL
  8. 8. Thirty years ago, who’d have envisaged that so many peo- ple would regularly pay $70 for a hair cut? That so many meals would be eaten out or bought in a pre-prepared state; that childrearing would be outsourced; that enter- tainment would be purchased off the web and consumed via hand held mobile devices. That yoga and yogurt would move from the margins to the mainstream? The cultural economy is a manifestation of the changing life patterns outlined in Assumption One: both voluntary and the involuntary changes. It reflects the 4 C’sons: • People want, and can have more meaning and control over their income production activities and connect directly with customers, and get production done in China. • We’ve got a large generation of ‘born to iT’ young people, who’ve never known life without the web: digital indigenous cf digital immigrants: the older generation. “We are entering an age of cultural richness and abundant choice that we’ve never seen before in history. Peer pro- duction is the most powerful industrial force of our time.” Chris Anderson, editor Wired magazine, ex The Economist “Participatory media must be understood not as a pub- lishing phenomenon but as a social phenomenon.” David Weinberger, fellow Harvard University Berkman Centre “In the present century you’ll get large by allowing the many and small to gather on your lawn.” Paul Saffo, Institute for the Future While we don’t have much data on NZ teens and the web - the digital indigenous - to see how the future’s happen- ing now, we have only to look at US and UK teens: • US: 81% play games and 76% get news online. 43% have made purchases on line. • US: 57% (12 million) create content for the internet - artwork, photos, stories or video. • US: 22% keep their own web pages. • UK: Nearly 50% aged 8-11 use the internet at home, and nearly two thirds aged 12-15. • UK: 20% have set up their own web site. Nearly 50% say they have or would like to set up a web site and make a short film. • 17% would end a close friendship or relationship with someone via text messaging. It’s all about ME - about self-actualising: These cultural and commercial trends suggest that we’re reaching not just the apex of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as refined by Alderfer - physical essentials; social connec- tions; personal expression - but a time when all three are operating in concert. It appears that, as the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies (CIFS) suggested in their
  9. 9. book, Creative Man, all people do possess a creative urge to self-actualise, which they will follow if they have the opportunity. Which they now have. Increasingly generating income is about self-actualisa- tion: people don’t want to be wage slaves. People want quality of work and quality of life to be in synch. Epiphyte capitalism enables many more people to be in this space. It’s not just a middle-class or a western, developed na- tion phenomenon. With the rise of reality television and celebrity worship, and China’s ability to produce quality goods cheaply and quickly, ‘ordinary people’ can not only look like celebrities, thanks to the internet and multi-me- dia mobile devices (M3D) they can be the celebrities. Gallop’s been polling China for the last 10 years. Recent trends show a growing number of Chinese want to self- actualise, live a life that suits their tastes: prefer fashion over function. They’re putting themselves first, rather than giving service to society or working super-hard to get rich. With personal goals of self-satisfaction and expression, this suggests the emergence of a Chinese Generation Me. So some of the things we need to understand • The impact on entrepreneurship - who’s likely to be thinking about starting a business. How will their workplace cultures and practices be different? • With epiphyte capitalism, what sort of New Zealand- ers or immigrants could run global businesses from New Zealand? • What and where is the workplace - in your living room, your bedroom, a café, a car, a van, across the planet courtesy of cyberspace? • How do workplace cultures, and the organisation of work, have to change in order to harness the positives of the self-actualising, internet savvy generation of employees. • Which key global and NZ sectors and industries are having, or going to have, their business models changed by the internet, and how? What’s going to grow or shrink? What will be the impact on the demand for skills? • Which regions stand to benefit or lose from these trends, and can their capacity to benefit be maxim- ised and their likelihood of suffering be reduced?
  10. 10. While NZ needs to continue to invest in science and technology (S&T) discovery, commercialise S&T more effectively, and increase private sector research and development (R&D), we also need a new way to think about and practice innovation because the current system is unsustainable, inefficient and inappropriate. • Few businesses can afford the costs and time of doing it in-house • Innovation increasingly occurs at the boundaries of disciplines and most companies specialise • Companies can easily harness a wealth of global expertise • China will outpace everyone with its scale and expertise • Customers and lead users offer expertise • Innovation is a social not just a purely technological process • Innovation is about leveraging incremental improve- ments to big effect • The energy and talent of employees are an asset waiting to be harnessed. To create productive and innovation workplaces, to support economic transformation, we need to reframe innovation: democratise it. Make the brand: innovation from everyone and from everywhere. “Business innovation in some circumstances has more to do with the human capital of its employees and how these skills and capabilities are applied and managed than it does with technology and invention.” Business Council of Australia Changing Paradigms: Re- thinking Innovation Policies, Practices and Programmes January 2006 Two approaches: Tapping into talent within and tapping into talent around the globe. Now, as TIME magazine puts it: “The authorship of innovation is shifting from The Few to The Many.” Bold ideas used to come from small groups of experts. Now they come from you as well. The NEXT big thing in innovation is US.” Or as Gary Hammel notes for Toyota: “Toyota gave every employee the skills, the tools and the permission to solve problems as they arose, and to head off new problems before they occurred. The result: Year after year Toyota has been able to get more out of its people than its competitors. Toyota’s real advantage was its ability to harness the intellect of the “ordinary” employees.” Tapping into global expertise is the Proctor and Gamble (P&G) approach. Harnessing the brains of 700,000 scien- ASSUMPTION 3: INNOVATION VIA BIG SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
  11. 11. tists and researchers through NineSigma, P&G resolved a technology problem and compressed time to market for a new product that involved printing cartoons and jokes on Pringle potato chips by circulating the problem to their global networks of individuals and institutions to see if anyone had a solution. A small bakery in Bologna, Italy run by a university professor who also manufactured baking equipment did. He’d invented an ink-jet method for printing images on cakes and cookies that they adapted to print cartoons and jokes on Pringle chips. The innova- tion helped P&G achieve double digit growth over the last 2 years. Excellent evidence that socially, technologically and finan- cially the time is right to make the move, as John Seely Brown puts it, from R&D to C&D - connect and develop. And we need to remember that innovation is not just about new S&T, it’s also about new business models and using existing technologies better. And by doing both: • Life insurance that pays out when you’re alive, if you have a terminal illness, rather than providing your heirs with cash after you have died. • Easy Jet and Ryan Air - book through the internet, pay for what you get and, by the way, if you don’t mind not getting much, then we won’t charge much. • iPods downloading music through iTunes. Innovation’s a social not just a technical process. This is where the caring less society and the caring more economy need to be aligned if we’re going to be able to harness innovation from everyone and everywhere and rely on the principle of generalised reciprocity, of the altruism of users and customers, which is such a strong force for innovation. • Lego is a good example of this. It’s rebuilding its business through robot kits, first by harnessing the passions of four fans and customers, then by tapping into a hundred customers’ insights and experience. Harnessing the insights of customers and lead users isn’t novel. When the automobile first went into manufac- ture on a mass scale, it was clubs of motoring enthusi- asts who suggested innovations, who solved problems alongside, or in some cases instead of, the designers and engineers. The opportunity is here for the Department to sup- port firms to harness the willingness and capacity of front-line employees to become, as Gary Hammel puts it,
  12. 12. problem solvers, innovators and change agents: to give employees the skills, tools and permission to contribute to the max. To really increase the number of productive and innovative workplaces needed to transform the New Zealand economy and keep Generation Y excited about staying in the country: and skilled foreigners keen to im- migrate to New Zealand. “Na-ku te rourou, na-u te rouou ka ki te kete” “With my knowledge and your knowledge, we will achieve greatness”
  13. 13. As we seek to create more innovative and productive workplaces, are high levels of technical skills and for- mal training the only things we should be concentrating on? Maybe, while necessary, they’re no longer sufficient, because: • Profitability is increasingly through the produc- tion and delivery of more individualised services and experiences to more demanding customers, custom- ers who want to be part of the design and production process; • Most of what can be automated or standardised has been; So increasingly employees have to exercise judgement about time- and location specific situations, for which there aren’t always standard operating procedures or someone to refer to for advice. Or metrics to measure performance. They have to: • Empathise: make sense of emotions and respond ap- propriately. • Collaborate with colleagues and supply or value chain partners, within New Zealand and overseas. And, an increasingly large percentage of both the young and mature workforce is seeking to express themselves more fully through their income earning activities: they want more meaning from their jobs. This increases the quality and quantity of high level inter- actions internally and externally. Indeed, I’d almost go as far as to say that “interactions” are the new units of pro- duction as the world economy morphs towards becoming knowledge/services/experiences driven. The importance of skills that enable effective interaction are revealed in a 2005 McKinsey Report which noted that 70 % of all US jobs created since 1998 (4.5 million) have been tacit knowledge jobs that require judgement and experience because of the relatively complex interactions involved. While McKinsey’s have focused on higher paid, professional knowledge jobs, increasingly employees at all levels have to exercise judgement, and be empathic with customers in order to deliver value. And profitability depends on delivering this value. This is reinforced in a recent NZIER report on industry training: “Interpersonal and HR skills, analytical and research, net- working and negotiation and computer skills are all likely to play an increasingly prominent role. Many commentators note the increasing importance of personal attributes such as motivation, “soft skills” or “emotional intelligence.” And because knowledge is increasingly created socially, in a semi-structured way in the workplace, rather than by formal off-the-job learning or memorising facts, emo- tional intelligence is also required to learn “hard, techni- cal” knowledge. ASSUMPTION 4: INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY COMES FROM TECHNICAL SKILLS AND FORMAL LEARNING
  14. 14. The expectation of life being about ME That’s the demand side of the skills equation. On the supply side, research in the UK, Scandinavia, the US and Australia shows that increasingly people of all ages and status are seeking more meaning in their working lives: they want to be managed with emotional intelligence. It’s the basis of much of Peter Sheahan’s advice in his book “Generation Y: Thriving and Surviving with Genera- tion Y at Work”. And the analysis behind Jean Twenge, an American psychology academic on “Why Today’s Young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled - and more miserable - than ever before” -book of the same name: subtitled Generation Me. In this she looks at how to-day’s, and our future workforce, take it for granted that they, the self, come first. A Generation Me-aged reviewer supported her findings as reflecting the fact that: “We think of work more as a path toward self-fulfilment than as a means to a stable livelihood; we feel we can have it all and believe in ‘following our dreams’ and doing things our own way; we heed social rules and figures of authority only insofar as they don’t get in our way.
  15. 15. The implications for DoL? We need to become more informed about emotional labour skills in relation to the capacity of companies to increase productivity and innovate, and provide qual- ity work environments. This will improve our capacity to provide leading edge advice and resources that support people in workplaces to: • Develop effective systems for recruitment and retention, and monitoring, managing, recognising and rewarding performance. • Create a stable and motivated workforce that is will- ing to invest emotionally, be loyal and committed, and ride through the ups and down of change. We need to consider how best we can generate discus- sions between business, labour and government on the development of emotional skills and meaning in the work- place: reframe the skills discourse.
  16. 16. People nearly always say they don’t have enough money, and some people clearly don’t. Despite rising affluence, there’s a greater gap between the very rich and the very poor. The middle-class feel like they’re struggling to af- ford the sorts of things that they think they should be able to take for granted. So money is important. But, maybe people are increasingly valuing things other than money - like time with family and friends, time to chill out or to be creative. And it’s not just Generation Me. Because, while people are better off, a lot of research suggests that we’re not happier. Are we seeing the inflation of the non-monetary aspects of people’s lives? Henley Insight, the UK consumer and citizen research company, has created a framework around five resources that people trade and exchange for well being - happi- ness - which is useful to look at in relation to the labour market. They call this framework ITEMS: Information, Time, Energy, Money and Space. While their research is UK based, it’s likely to reflect what’s going on here. Perhaps even more so given our long hours of work syndrome. The information that’s coming through from overseas and NZ research reinforces my earlier theme that we’re becoming a less or, if you like, a differently caring society. Caring about me, but not necessarily about you and them as people are stretched juggling the limited amounts of time, energy and space they have, as distinct from money. This has two sorts of implications for the labour market. One is people’s willingness and ability to do paid work. The other is changing consumer demands for new products and services as they juggle their ITEMS - which in turn creates new labour market demand. Information There are two views around information and choice. Henley’s research suggests that more people are finding it difficult to cope with the number of decisions they have to make. In their Planning for Consumer Change re- search, Henley Insight has noted a shift in people’s ability to deal with choice. A move from 60% who in 2002 agreed that “You can never have too much choice in life” to 52% who agreed in 2004. This sits alongside the 25% who said, “I find it difficult to cope with the number of decisions I have to make nowadays.” Interestingly, this was 32% for 15-24 year olds and 28% for the 65+. People increasingly wish life were simpler, and they had people to sift through the information and make deci- sions for them. As Barry Schwartz put it in his book, The Paradox of Choice, too much choice can lead to a reduc- tion in well being. ASSUMPTION 5: MONEY MATTERS MOST
  17. 17. A contrasting view comes from the Pew internet & American Life Study conducted in April 2006, with 60m internet users saying that the internet helped them make big decisions or negotiate major episodes in their lives. From coping with major illnesses, to pursuing train- ing for a career, to making major investment or financial decisions. Because the internet connects people not just to information but also to on-line communities: experts or people who’ve encountered similar problems. The issue may not so much be one of too much informa- tion as about the availability of filters or decision sup- port: software or people who can narrow the choice. If this is a growth area of the economy, what sort of labour force does it require? The significance of choice was highlighted by Peter Drucker: “In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time - literally - substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.” Time and energy Henley’s tracked people’s views over the last 5 years by asking them to respond to statements such as, “I’m so tired in the evening I often don’t have the energy to do much.” And “The pace of life is too fast for me nowadays.” “I never seem to have enough time to get things done.” “I’m willing to spend money to save time.” Obviously the answers vary according to age and gender, but it would seem that generally, people have either too much or too little of both time and energy. This trend is supported in a MORI study on Currents in British Society and Politics, where 56% of people aged 45-54 agreed that “I resent overtime eating into my free-time, even if it’s paid”, as did 43% of 35-44 year olds, and 37% of Gen Xs (15-34). Given that we’re relying on the Baby Boomers staying in the workforce till they’re 65, it should be of concern that only 18% of them agreed that “Fulfilment in life is achiev- ing a prominent position in your chosen career” compared to 37% of pre boomers and 35% of Gen X. What this suggests is that increasingly time and energy are valued by people more than money. In the Henley Euro PCC 2001 study people’s agreement with, “I never seem to have enough time to get things done” increased from 49% in 1998 to 56%. Up from 32% in 1999, by 2002 40% of all UK adults agreed that they were, “willing to spend money to save time.”
  18. 18. This won’t surprise those of you with families as the NZ Family Commission’s research revealed that being able to achieve a balance between family time and standard of living was identified by families as one of the most significant challenges they faced. Space Lastly, space. In Henley studies respondents were quoted as saying, “I’ve lived in the same place for 24 years and people have changed. Everyone just minds their own busi- ness these days and rushes about.” People spoke openly of avoiding neighbours deliberately for fear of being “trapped” in unwanted conversations, just wanting to get inside and shut the door. Parents were too exhausted to visit their parents. People are being much more deliberate about who they let into their personal space, and who they think of as their communities. All of the above have profound implications in a tight la- bour market where we’re trying to improve net migration. And the labour market demands of a caring-more economy. To close In the department, we’re starting to understand how people are managing their ITEMS, and the dynamics of changing life patterns. We can build on this by deepening our understanding of: • The shifts in work-life balance, and tensions between a caring-less society and a caring-more economy; • How the internet is changing business models and enabling the rise of ME-commerce; • The power of innovation from everyone and eve- rywhere to create more productive and innovative workplaces; • The importance of emotional labour skills; and • The ways in which people trade and exchange the non-monetary aspects of their lives reflect changes in their respective value, and the role of work in people’s lives. If we can improve our understanding of the dynamic between the 4 C’sons, we’ll be better placed to avoid, as George Will put it, having the future arrive unannounced. Or the fate, in times of unprecedented change, as Eric Hoffer describes it, of being amongst the learned who find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. Because, in these complex times of unprecedented scale and speed of change, as governments are increasingly unable to pull big levers to achieve desired social and economic outcomes - to improve wealth and well being, and generate sustainable economic transformation - we need to tune into the increased willingness and capacity of New Zealanders to sort out their own situations. To secure better work and have New Zealand working better.
  19. 19. YOUR NOTES AND IDEAS

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