From Cube to Cloud: i4cp Research Applying Unique Perspective to the Future of Work (i4cp login required)

Productivity

It’s impossible to read any business publication these days
and not come away with the understanding that senior executives, functional
leaders, and other business professionals are spending a lot of think time
under the same topic umbrella—the future of work. 

Some are asking the questions you’d expect: What will work
encompass? Who will do it and where? When will people work and how? 

But at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp),
we’re about to take those future-of-work questions to a new level with our
upcoming Q1 study, From Cube to Cloud

We’ll keep who, what where, when, and how in
mind, but our focus will be on the ways those changes in work affect three core
pillars of business results and overall success. From Cube to Cloud will
examine how high-performance organizations will enable effective collaboration,
innovation, and employees’ sense of connection and belonging in the hybrid work
environments that are now emerging and expected to characterize future business
models. 

The role of traditional workplaces, the importance of
relationships and social capital (especially in the context of distributed work
environments), and the value that clear commitment to diversity, equity,
inclusion, and sense of belonging contributes to the broader employee
experience are areas of inquiry we expect to figure prominently in the study.
So will emphasis on healthy cultures and digital technologies as important
enablers and tools of powerful collaboration, innovation, and connection. 

Curiosity about what lies over the horizon drives our
research agendas every year, and in this unique time when business leaders
spent the past months dealing with the unimaginable and looking beyond the
obvious to find ways to sustain their organizations and their workforces, we
believe that applying new depths of creativity to explore the three core
concepts in this study will resonate. 

In fact we know it will. Because business leaders’ own words
confirm that the central elements informing From Cube to Cloud are the
next-generation challenges they need to address.  

When Chief
Executive
magazine convened 11 CEOs from large-cap companies to
talk about their organizations’ digital strategies for the future, Raytheon
Technologies CEO Greg Hayes spoke about the challenge of culture in the wake of
a major change (merger), marshaling employees around the company’s mission, and
maintaining relationships with remote workers:  

“People are putting in more hours because
they’re not commuting. … Productivity metrics are up because people are more
focused. But the number of patent applications within our portfolio is down by
over 50 percent this year. So, we’re getting work done, but we’re not getting
innovation done because we’re not collaborating as well. … How do we work
better to get people to collaborate and innovate in a digital world?”  

Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, expressed concern that adding
new talent during a period of extended remote working would eventually result
in an erosion of innovative capability: 

“My fear is that we are living on social
capital. … When new people come on in, they haven’t accumulated the social
capital with their peers and with others.” He observes that “you can live off
your prior social capital and people will cross to you, people will use it, [but]
at some point, you run through it. I worry once you run out of all the things
you accumulated, how do you create that?” 

It’s clear that Hayes, Krishna, and other
business leaders are ready to ask questions beyond the usual ones raised when
the topic turns to the future of work. i4cp’s From Cube to Cloud
research aims to provide the future-focused answers and insights top executives
in the vanguard of tomorrow need to confidently lead their organizations
forward.   

Carol Morrison
is a Senior Research Analyst at i4cp

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