In physics, a state of matter is one of the distinct forms that matter takes on – ranging from solid to liquid to gas to plasma.
In our digitised world, with a creative class on the rise, the way we work has gone from a more solid form to a liquid state, with information flowing like a steady stream of ideas through digital waterways.
This is not only true for bigger organisations, where co-workers have more freedom to do their tasks from where they want, but leading the way in this micromultinational movement are small initiatives and enterprises, from freelancers to entrepreneurs, who overtake big organisational structures, leading to co-working and alternative workspaces. Due to this, mainstream offices are becoming downsized, and coworking spaces and cafes with free wifi are becoming even more popular.
However, even if the workforce is becoming more based on small units, people will still wish to be part of a social context, and addressing this with innovative design could be a win-win for everyone. IBM’s Beehive Social Network is an example of a solution: An internetbased social networking site that gives IBM co-workers a richer connection to the people they work with both professionally and personally.
During the last decade a number of companies have introduced different schemes for co-creation and a collaborative economy, which has encouraged this liquid worklife for better and for worse. The pros are clearly increased flexibility and a broad talent pool on one hand. Cons are that this new type of flowing workforce is more unpredictable and very fast moving. However, the liquid workforce, with all its ups and downs, is shaping our society, and design solutions must be developed to meet the needs of the multi-micronational talent.
This article has been taken from the Kinnarps Trend Report 2015. Click here to download the full research paper.