Entrepreneurship: 6 Forces Shaping the Future of Work

Filed Under: May 2018 Issue

By Ja-Nae Duane
How we pay for things has changed dramatically during the last 20 years. We’ve gone from handing over cash and writing checks to swiping cards and tapping watches. At the beginning of this trend, many people couldn’t fathom how we’d move to these new-fangled cards, let alone use smartphones like a digital wallet.
But this trend has opened the door to new services like Stripe and Apple Pay. On top of these services, other companies have found ways to reach new customers and make the payment/service process seamless.
As part of ­The Startup Equation, we understood the power these trends could wield in many future businesses. Now, it’s payments, car service, rental property, and food delivery.
But what will be the next potential trend – and how might you take advantage of it?
To better understand the role of trends, I’ve put together what we refer to as the Six Forces. You’ll find at least one, if not more, of these forces playing a key role in your startup. What do those forces look like?
No. 1: An anywhere liquid workforce. You probably know this from personal experience. Where and how we work is changing. Do you understand this trend well enough to make the most of it in your new organization?
No. 2: A new work order – connected, collaborative, creative. I’ve written previously about the idea of a portfolio career, or the idea we’ll no longer work for the same company for 25 years. Instead, people will be looking for companies that fit them best at different moments.
No. 3: The connected and engaged customer. Between Yelp, Facebook, and Google, people are more than happy to tell us what they think. Startups that understand this interest, this desire to bond, will flourish with customers who are invested equally in their success.
No. 4: The era of the maker. Who needs a factory when you’ve got a 3-D printer? Prototypes, even actual products, may be readily available in small batches. A process that used to take weeks, or even months, can now happen in a matter of days because your startup has access to tools that make “making” easier.
No. 5: The sharing economy. I still love a really nice hotel, but it’s clear that businesses like AirBNB are here to stay. Why own if you can borrow what you need for the moment? Could your startup find a place to call home in this growing trend?
No. 6: The new creative economy. Th­at side project you’ve kept at for a few years may have more potential than you realized. Outlets for creative entrepreneurs will continue to open and expand in the coming years. While we’ve identified these trends at a macro level, you may know of some different trends within your industry of choice. Do you have an opening you can exploit? Do you see a trend that changes how people do business in your field? Go for it!
A version of this article originally appeared at StartupEquation.com.
Ja-Naé Duane is Founder of The Revolution Factory and co-author of The Startup Equation. She can be reached at janaeduane@gmail.com.