The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented threat to businesses. First, it created a public health emergency that has put a renewed focus on occupational safety. Second, it introduced logistical challenges that have tested businesses’ resilience. Finally, it spawned an economic crisis that has forced businesses to streamline operations and adopt new strategic priorities. The sum of these and other COVID consequences is clear: When employees return to the workplace, a “new normal” must await them.
“During a dark time, the best and only way to come out on a growth path is to innovate your way out of it,” said former Intel futurist Steve Brown, author of The Innovation Ultimatum. “COVID has accelerated that path. We will see more change in every type of business over the next 10 years than we saw in the past 40 or 50 due to technology.”
According to Brown, today’s leaders must understand how technology is changing the workplace and what business problems it can solve—focusing, in particular, on these six technologies, each of which promises to shape the post-pandemic workplace in profound ways.
Considering how technology is already changing the workplace, it’s clear that AI will be the most transformational technology of the modern era, Brown said. Instead of traditional computers that operate according to a programmed set of rules, AI ingests examples and figures out the rules on its own. It can help businesses develop new products, experiences, markets and business models; enhance the worker experience; and streamline operations.