The Changing World of Work: A collaborative endeavor of PopTech and Microsoft

In 2014 PopTech and the Microsoft Office Envisioning team partnered to gain a deeper understanding of the forces influencing how we work now and into the future. Our exploration became a rich collaborative learning journey that uncovered a treasure trove of insights from diverse sectors and geographies. As we interviewed artists, futurists and leaders, complex patterns surrounding the very notion of ‘work’ began to emerge.

Enhanced connectivity has increased productivity but for some, threatens to squelch creativity due to constant distractions and a sense of “always being on.” We have the freedom to work from all corners of the globe as digitally connected teams; yet can experience isolation that results in disengagement. Rapid technology advances are creating new opportunities that are generating value faster than at any point in human history, yet provoking fear of massive job loss to automation and robotics.

Patterns gave way to questions: What is the role of a leader, particularly during these changing times? How do we live up to our potential? Are traditional brick and mortar offices constraining creativity? Are they even necessary? How do we create shared space – settings where humans and machines productively collaborate? How do we assess and accordingly act on the ethical challenges presented by advanced technologies?

The first phase of our work is captured in an eight-part video series entitled The Changing World of Work. The next chapter of this initiative will attempt to answer questions that surfaced during our early work and will continue to track the ever-evolving trends that define the global workplace and workforce - both human and machine. Please stay tuned for project updates, and do let us know if you would like to be more directly engaged in this undertaking by emailing