Skip to content

The Future of Work is Reshaping Trends in Innovation

Talent & Business Trends

Technological, generational and social shifts will impact the world of work over the next decade. This could range anywhere from the types of devices we are using everyday to the ability to work remotely from literally anywhere. Clearly, hybrid and remote work continues to cement its place in the “new normal” of the workplace. This will also be influenced by the competitive talent landscape, the pressure to control costs and the rise of automation, among other trends, according to Gartner’s recent studies.

The workplace culture might be one of the key concerns when it comes to office and work-from-home policies of the future. For innovation leaders and their teams, hybrid strategies have been compelling them to adjust their culture and ecosystems and to be more supportive of their employees.

This new future of work will be impacted by both talent and business trends taking shape. On the talent side, notes Gartner, is the move towards human-centric work design; a reshaping of the culture; managing in a hybrid world; and digital enablement. On the business side, this also includes the rethinking of the workplace and the shifting of talent and skills.

Gartner further looked at “9 Future of Work Trends for 2023.” Developed by Emily Rose McRae and Peter Aykens, the trends offer a least a glimpse into some of the potential workplace shifts moving forward. Just how innovators and company leadership might respond to such trends is significant if they want to build a flexible and agile workforce and a culture for the future. Whether in the office or remote, or a hybrid strategy, this workforce of the future will need to collaborate and innovate to help them succeed in their research and development projects.

Collaboration is Key

There is a great deal of research into the future of work and possible trends that are impacting the workforce today and beyond. But just how can leaders in innovation adapt and succeed now? McKinsey offers some insights in its article, “What is the future of work?” Looking at the hybrid strategies that are becoming more common today, McKinsey offers some key takeaways that innovation leaders and organizations can do now to refine their operating models.

1. Expand executives’ focus on strategic clarity, coaching, and empathy. The leading driver of performance and productivity isn’t compensation or stretch goals but rather the sense of purpose work provides to employees. Be more intentional about interactions, especially those that happen in person.

2. Foster outcome-based management of small, cross-functional teams. This is both more human and more effective as performance management practices shift from being about controlling employees’ work to empowering and enabling teams and people to perform.

3. Increase talent velocity, especially with reskilling. Being able to staff teams across organizational siloes is a hallmark of agile models. Moving in this direction for talent management might entail developing internal talent marketplaces or hubs for talent redeployment that make it easier for people to discover potential projects. It will also involve reskilling and upskilling people more quickly than in the past, leaning on formal training, as well as apprenticeship and mentoring.

4. Find new zero-cost, high-optionality ways to collaborate. It can help to define a model to increase how quickly your organization can discover and adopt better modes of collaboration, both physical and digital. Do workers need an informal, confidential channel for banter or guidelines on making hybrid meetings more effective? Be intentional about designing these interactions and communicating expectations and working norms.

5. Increase the rate of technology adoption. It’s imperative for companies to seek out new tech and use data to drive optimal results and make better decisions.

Growing the Culture

The approach to innovation talent has evolved in this new globalized work world. While common themes have emerged, different organizations have chosen distinct paths. In this  Innovation Talent Roundtable, Seth Adler spoke with the innovation community, which shared several thoughts on the search for innovation talent and fostering a culture of innovation.

Igniting innovation culture and talent is fraught with danger as, if you’re not careful, it can lead to burnout. Finding innovation talent that fits within a given organization is, to put it simply, challenging. Good innovation talent itself is elusive. Add to the equation that a given person not only needs to have the specific skill set being sought, but that same person must fit with corporate and innovation culture already established.

Welcome to the Future

The future of work has a significant impact on innovation. As work environments evolve and adapt to emerging technologies, changing demographics, and evolving expectations, the way innovation is approached and implemented undergoes transformation. We asked ChatGPT to sharpen our focus on several ways in which the future of work influences innovation:

1. Remote and Distributed Work: The rise of remote and distributed work arrangements enables organizations to tap into a broader talent pool and collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations. This diversity and access to talent can foster innovation by bringing together varied perspectives, experiences, and expertise. Remote work also encourages the adoption of digital collaboration tools, which facilitate real-time communication and idea sharing, further supporting innovation.

2. Flexible Work Culture: The future of work emphasizes flexibility in terms of work hours, location, and arrangements. Flexibility allows employees to structure their work in a way that suits their productivity and personal preferences. This freedom can stimulate innovation by providing individuals with the autonomy and space to explore new ideas, experiment, and take risks. A flexible work culture also fosters a more inclusive and diverse workforce, which is known to drive innovation.

3. Cross-functional Collaboration: As organizations increasingly embrace interdisciplinary and cross-functional collaboration, innovation benefits from the exchange of ideas and expertise from different fields. By breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration among teams with diverse skill sets and backgrounds, organizations can foster a culture of innovation and harness collective intelligence to solve complex problems.

4. Agile and Iterative Approaches: The future of work promotes agile methodologies and iterative approaches to project management and innovation. Agile methods emphasize continuous learning, experimentation, and adaptation, enabling teams to quickly respond to changing market dynamics and customer needs. This iterative mindset encourages experimentation, failure tolerance, and rapid prototyping, leading to accelerated innovation cycles and the ability to bring new ideas to market faster.

5. Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI): The integration of automation and AI technologies in the future of work has a profound impact on innovation. Automation frees up employees from repetitive and mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on more creative and strategic endeavors. AI technologies can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate insights, providing valuable inputs for innovation. AI-powered tools can also support ideation, prediction, and decision-making processes, contributing to more informed and effective innovation efforts.

6. Upskilling and Reskilling: The future of work necessitates continuous upskilling and reskilling of employees to keep pace with technological advancements and evolving job requirements. Organizations that invest in developing their employees’ skills create a culture of learning and innovation. By equipping employees with the necessary knowledge and competencies, organizations foster a workforce that is better equipped to generate and implement innovative ideas.

7. Emphasis on Human-Centered Design: The future of work places a greater emphasis on human-centered design principles, which prioritize understanding and addressing the needs, desires, and challenges of end-users. By involving end-users in the innovation process, organizations can develop solutions that truly meet their expectations and deliver meaningful experiences. Human-centered design approaches such as design thinking and user experience research help organizations uncover unmet needs and drive innovation in a customer-centric manner.

The Future is Now

In some ways, the future of work is already here for those in innovation that embrace collaboration and foster an open and holistic culture. The future of work significantly impacts innovation by enabling remote and distributed work, fostering flexibility, encouraging cross-functional collaboration, promoting agile and iterative approaches, leveraging automation and AI technologies, emphasizing upskilling, and embracing human-centered design. Embracing these shifts in the work environment can unlock new opportunities for innovation, enhance organizational agility, and drive competitive advantage.

Video courtesy of Gartner


  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.


Related Content

marketing innovation

Shaping the Next Generation of Innovation

Generation Z is in a unique position as they are often viewed as one of the first to be shaped and influenced by technology such as the Internet, soci…

innovation principles

Innovation Principles, 2/7

Successful innovation endeavors are built on creative tension between key enabling entrepreneurial trade-offs associated with four must-have constitue…

digital transformation

Unlocking Growth Through Innovation

The business world is changing quickly for innovators and there is a growing and ever-present imperative to keep up. Business model transformations an…

digital innovation

Living in A Digital Transformation World

Digital transformation (DX) has been a hot topic in the innovation space for some time, but the term can be easily misunderstood as well. As we accele…

transformational innovation

Innovation Principles, 1/7

Imagine a case where a company’s growth depends on an innovation involving complex cross-disciplinary technologies such as electro-mechanical hardwa…

innovation culture

Sustaining the Self-Disruption Journey

The adage “disrupt or be disrupted” may not necessarily always mean the same thing to the same companies. Even the original architects of disrupti…

innovation culture

Playing the Game of Disruption

At FEI, Angelina Carvajal, Strategy & Innovation Partner, Sr. Dir. (Optum Advisory), UnitedHealth Group, had a chance to share her thoughts on disrupt…

innovation culture

Breaking Through Challenges to Problem Solve

While it’s important to learn from best practices from large and innovative enterprises, it’s also valuable to hear from the startup community. At…


Powering Innovation’s Long-Term Play

Ishan Jaithwa, Manager, New Growth Areas, Cummins Inc., sat down with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler at our studio at the FEI conference. Jaithw…

Innovation Resources
innovation partnerships

External Partnerships Fuel Innovation

As part of the continuing series of conversations at FEI with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler, next on tap is Eric Agdeppa, R&D Director, Innovat…

design thinking

Design Thinking Faces the Pace of Change

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation recently caught up with Prapti Jha, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, at this year’s FEI co…

innovation process

Opening the Doors of Innovation Perception

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation caught up with Cory Sorice, SVP and Chief Innovation Officer, Masonite International, during this year’s FEI con…


Beyond Innovation Theater

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

design thinking

Supporting Data with Design Thinking

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

innovation talent

Achieving Transformational Innovation

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

innovation culture

The Finance Factor in Innovation

The finance function in an organization often gets tabbed as a bottom line-oriented, conservative department that more often than not stifles innovati…

innovation culture

Setting the Strategic Direction

A chief strategy officer (CSO) is increasingly becoming a more relevant element to a research and development team in an organization. An innovation t…

innovation culture

Managing the Marketing of Innovation

Even some of the best new innovations might fail if there’s no effective marketing behind the product or service. With an emphasis on cross-collabor…


Playing Moneyball for the Win

In the popular baseball movie “Moneyball,” the character Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) highlights the “epic failure” of MLB leadership in managin…

innovation talent

Putting Together Your Innovation Team

As the community’s recent Innovation Spend & Trends Report indicated, innovation teams are not working in a bubble, or at least not as much as they…

digital transformation

The Progress of Innovation

Technology is shaping our society, taking us in new directions and playing a key role in our lives every day. These forces can disrupt, or delight, co…


Generating Innovation Through Ideation

Ideation is often confused with innovation, along with other related terms regarding the creative process, such as brainstorming or design thinking. W…

innovation culture

Managing Talent to Drive Innovation

With the economy producing mixed signals, and companies often in a state of flux, managing innovation talent has never been a more challenging and imp…

ambidextrous organization

Balancing Innovation with Ambidexterity

Innovators have long been tasked with being a flexible part of an ambidextrous team, as part of an organizational cog that can easily pivot and manage…

sustainable technology

Defining Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is often a phrase used to make a splash in the business world. Some may debate that the label has been applied carelessly at tim…

digital transformation

Going ‘All In’ On Business Transformation

There are many different types of business transformations at play in today’s corporate world. This could, for example, encompass the significant di…

sustaining innovation

Growing a Culture for Business Innovation

Whether it entails a large jump or a small step, the innovation pipeline for a business keeps it moving forward through a competitive landscape. Busin…

gaining true value

Gaining True Value While Moving Forward

The All Things Innovation community came together in this Gathering on Innovation Strategy to drive immediate lessons learned through the first half o…


Diving Into Humanity-Centric Innovation

With the continued emergence and evolving development of artificial intelligence, there rises a question of how humans and AI can work together more e…

innovation talent

Tapping Into the Innovation Talent Pipeline

In the last few years, the pandemic and a range of other economic factors have influenced the talent recruitment, development and retention practices…

innovation talent

Ignite a Culture of Innovation

From the successes to the failures, from the breakthroughs to the breaking points, the innovation community knows all too well that fostering a cultur…

innovation mindset

Innovation During A Downturn

Whether you believe the USA is headed toward or already in a recession, there are signs of a slowing or reversal of economic activity. Of the 15 metri…


Striving for Successful Innovation

In the quest for innovation, there is often a fine line between success and failure. The road to success is not always clear, easy or convenient. Howe…

innovation talent

From Boredom To Burnout

This roundtable discussion focuses on arguably the most important feature of an innovation discipline, talent. We have a diverse panel of innovation l…


Innovation Diversity

Black, Indigenous and People of Color have always been leaders in innovation and it’s time for us to put that at the forefront. DEI, or Diversity Eq…

fostering innovation

Fostering Innovation

When you start to talk that way and lead that way, people do feel more psychologically safe to support change and support innovation that’s happenin…

innovation leadership

Breakthrough Innovation

While the rest of the industry relies on iterative change, Alex Moyes explains the breakthrough innovation happening at Dominion Energy. “So Dominio…


Innovation Reality

When working remotely, the main challenge is bringing people into an office when they live across the country or around the world. The AES Corporation…

innovation culture

Control The Sails

Although the world was affected heavily with change in the last few years, not much in the business world has changed as far as topics and issues go….

innovation culture

Innovation Culture

Innovation starts with the employees of an organization. As we know, the people that work for a business are some of its greatest assets. In today’s…


Interaction Innovation

We are at a time in history of incredible change and technological innovations, such as the rise of machine intelligence, and companies who keep doing…

humanity-centric innovation

Humanity-Centric Innovation

Humanity-centric innovation is the idea of solving the biggest problems facing humanity in an economically viable way. Pete Dulcamara, Chief Scientist…

innovation culture

Measurable Innovation

Each company has their own KPIs that are important to their specific business in place to progress and be successful. Are people at the forefront of i…

innovation culture

Certain Uncertainty

Life is uncertain in every way. It’s always interesting to meet new people and try new things. On the other hand, attackers may sometimes appear out o…


Rolling Innovation

If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. Make sure to keep doing it, it’s rolling innovation. Amber Case sits down with us to discuss how impo…

strategic innovation

Strategic Innovation

Any new concept or technological advancement will continue to change and advance. Landlines were commonplace before smartphones. Remember those? What…


Innovation Intelligence

It seems that innovation is one of the biggest buzzwords in business now. To sustain growth and be competitive in the marketplace, companies in every…


Innovation As Constant Change

The key strategy to a successful business is to know when they are being innovative or are just transforming their status quo according to market tren…

innovation strategy

Innovation versus Transformation

Many people think digital transformation and innovation are one in the same, but according to Hatrick, while they are closely related, there is a diff…