You don't need an idea to start a business

The Future of Work Belongs to Entrepreneurs

by Francisco Santolo

I foresee a future of unlimited possibility in which the individual will be more powerful than ever, with his impact multiplied by the communities which he is part of, linked to purpose, passion, vision, and values.

The Future of Work Belongs to Entrepreneurs

The concept of "employee" will be replaced by "entrepreneur", in evolution and combination of current freelancers and businesspeople.

I see a network of entrepreneurs collaborating in accordance with their interests, their abilities and their talents in dynamic, common projects, irrespective of geographical borders, something that we can witness emerging nowadays as crowdsourcing. I do not see people working as employees nor do I see bosses: I only see autonomous individuals or temporary organizations set up to work together. The horizontal organizations will prevail over the vertical ones and we will experience the decline of current inflexible, bureaucratic corporations, loaded with fixed costs, which should be adapted or become easy prey for technological disruption.

The new innovation and entrepreneurship methodologies are slowly beginning to be embraced since they can be accessed easily by anyone -books, free online courses, podcasts-, implying a revolution in business. Investment is no longer needed, nor is incurring in significant economic or financial risks in order to start a new business. The Nike effect led most of the corporations to develop powerful suppliers, outsourcing production, logistics, and other key areas. These very same suppliers are the ones who facilitate the triumph of the entrepreneurs by providing them with their idle capacity and allowing them to operate with a very competitive cost structure.

Likewise, I foresee considerable changes in the education system, with the gradual replacement of absolute knowledge, official curricula, structures and hierarchical teacher's role with a decentralized continuous learning framework, mentoring, moral leadership, autonomous learning, in which each individual will have the role of learning, teaching, and sharing. The change is already underway and there are countless sources of learning available for everyone.

I see money no longer being an important motivator, and economic incentives will lose strength. I even dare to say that being an entrepreneur -or today's working- will be something voluntary because goods and services will be abundant, with marginal costs tending to zero, decentralized production through what today begins as 3D printing and the presence of robots and artificial intelligence taking care of a range of optimizing functions and becoming part of our lives.

The debate surrounding the implementation of the universal basic income is already happening in many countries, funded by productive abundance. For example, sharing economy in transport, such as Uber -but not Uber- and holiday accommodation as in the case of Airbnb will be extended to all areas of our lives, such as housing, downgrading the importance of goods while celebrating detachment, along with considerable advances in transportation and communications that will encourage us all to become global citizens, in the same fashion as we, digital nomads live in the world today.

I insist that even the most ambitious science fiction book ever written will become obsolete in just a matter of decades. The future is approaching exponentially and I am not the only one that imagines these trends that are based on plenty of literature, publications and my own experience in study centers such as Singularity University, Stanford Graduate Business School, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan or Kellogg School of Management. If I delved into other fields, such as the study of the microbiome, the manipulation of the genetic code with the already existing CRISPR tool, nanotechnology or the possibility of connecting our brains to the cloud, we would really understand that there are no limits to the abrupt change that is coming.

The future brings enormous challenges and considerable opportunities. Each individual will become increasingly powerful through his actions, his word and, most importantly, his silence or inaction. Values, acceptance of diversity, tolerance, respect and caring for others will become our most cherished trait to be optimistic about the future and hand a better world to our future generation. We must be careful with fragmentation stemming from ideological differences that lead to insult, aggression and a growing conflict since the moral dilemmas that we face today will be insignificant compared with the ones the future brings. Tolerance and respect will be key.

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