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HiringSmart: Proud Supporters of FOCUS 2040

Many of us are having a tough enough time making sense of the complexities of the world of work as it exists today… let alone projecting out what it’ll look like 30 years from now. But that’s exactly the challenge that’s been thrown out by the Strategic Capability Network and the DeGroote School of Business, in the form of a national competition.

The challenge? To extrapolate existing trends and make predictions about how work will get done in 2040… and then to work back and articulate how forward-thinking organizations should be preparing for the future today, from three perspectives: Workforce, Workplace, and Work Systems.

Founded in 2010, the program is the brainchild of Ezra Rosen who, as a student at the UCLA Graduate Business School in the mid-1960’s, had the chance to participate in what was for him a hugely transformational experience.

According to Ezra, “The mid 1960s in California was a period of flux, social unrest, anti war protests and from a young Canadian’s perspective, excitement… The professors had a hard time keeping our attention focused on course content. One of my professors dealt with this situation by giving us an interesting and demanding assignment. He divided the class into teams of 5 and challenged us to predict what management would be like 30 years out, in 1997.

“Our team was made up of people from England, Italy, California and Japan. Collectively we were a mix of values, cultures, experience and ideas. It worked. It was one of the best learning experiences of my stay in California. I kept the final report and pulled it out in 1997. Our predictions while conservative were in the range of what did unfold.

“I still think about the lessons I learned from that experience. The exercise forced us to think big picture, long term. We had to think “outside the box”. We looked for anomalies that might have implication for the future of management. We tapped into the very rich population of forward thinkers that we found living and working in Los Angeles at the time. The experience was amazing.”

Some forty years later, Ezra decided to ‘pay it forward’ and enlisted the commitment of SCN and DeGroote in reviving and expanding the challenge: Students from business schools across the country have been invited to participate in a challenge that is truly national in scope.

HiringSmart is a strong supporter of this initiative (it doesn’t hurt that one of 2010’s winners identified us as one of the ‘future trends’ in the way things will be done in organizations); we hope you will join us in supporting the program.

This annual competition is student-run and all are volunteers; nevertheless, support from the corporate community is critical – be it in the form of cash for awards and to underwrite operating expenses; internships as prizes to leading thinkers; or donations-in-kind. All interest and support is welcome. You’ll find everything you need at www.focus2040.com.

If you’d like more information and/or if you’d like to join us in supporting this initiative, please drop me a line at Jan@HiringSmart.com.

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