RESEARCH

FUTURE WORK NAVIGATOR

We developed the Future Work Navigator® that guides companies along the road to the future of work. It provides information about how well your company anticipates and manages future developments around the working world of tomorrow. The instrument is based on most recent scientific insights and supports new ways of working and thinking in your company.

The Future Work Navigator® stems from our research and experience working with organizations, and it integrates two relevant management theories: the dynamic capabilities approach and ambidexterity theory. With it, we propose a way for you and your organization to prepare better for future challenges and opportunities at work.

The research and practical approaches of leap in time build on the Future Work Navigator© developed by Professor Stock-Homburg. According to the Future Work Navigator®, a system requires four important pillars to stay in balance: future orientation, exploitation, exploration, and integration of exploitation and exploration. The basic idea is illustrated in the following video.

Four Dimensions of the Future Work Navigator® (© leap in time)

A future orientation implies receptiveness to future opportunities and challenges (future-oriented sensing), as well as careful consideration of more distant, potential outcomes of current actions (future-oriented mindset). It is a practice of looking at least two steps ahead, combined with a deep understanding that we cannot passively observe but also always and actively shape the future. In this awakening perspective, our future is up to us. Such a future orientation thus is key to a successful survival sensing strategy and mindset.

Exploitation helps refine or improve existing business and work processes. It is primarily profit-oriented, and it also involves incremental adaptation. It may seem less exciting than seeking radical innovations, but it is critical for ambidexterity.

The third dimension, exploration, is where we focus on the discovery of new opportunities—constantly trying out new things, seeking new ideas, and experimenting with new ways of working. The focus should be novel and beneficial notions, for ourselves and our co-workers, for our organization, for society, or for all of them.

Finally, just as successful switch hitters in baseball move easily to either side of the plate, we must integrate exploitation and exploration to keep the system in balance and achieve continued success.

The Story of the Dodobird

“The importance of future fitness can be nicely illustrated with the story of the dodobird. For centuries, generations of dodobirds lived happily in Mauritius, an environment with an abundance of natural resources and no natural enemies. The easy life led the species to get comfortable, building nests on the ground and evolving away from the drive and ability to hunt. Everything was going great until some new entrants arrived—human settlers who brought with them novel resources, like pigs, and threats, like rats. Faced with these new conditions, the contented dodo bird, without competitive capabilities or a sufficient drive to evolve, rather quickly disappeared into extinction. This biological and ecological story of natural selection and human impact is illustrated in the following video.

So what does an extinct, funny-looking bird that lived on an island centuries ago have do to with work, business, and organizations? Well, let’s replace “dodo bird” with the name of a company, say, Kodak or Circuit City. Does the parallel become clearer then? In many industries, organizations have lived peacefully in relatively stable markets (environments) with known competitors and consistent resources. This existence has led them to lose much of their ability to evolve, act, react, and compete when the market grows more turbulent and competitive. If they want to avoid the fate of the dodo bird, these companies need to take a fresh look at the future of work—how they design and organize their business and work[i]—and particularly at their future fitness. Future fitness means being prepared for both opportunities and challenges in the future working world, by gearing short- and long-term actions accordingly

Source: Stock-Homburg, Ruth (2020), leap in time: Work-Life Research Center, Darmstadt Germany  

[i] Malone (2004).

leap in time

As a research institute, leap in time is concerned with a holistic approach to the future of the world of work. We are your competent partner for questions concerning the future of the world of work and advise you on the necessary change processes. Furthermore, we support you in training your management team in Leadership 2030.

In close cooperation with international scientists and renowned companies, we have developed the Future Work Navigator as a strategic approach for companies that want to systematically assess and increase their future viability.