Three tribes are contesting for the #futureofwork. Which one will you join?

Slides show of three tribes and the #futureofwork

BLUE tribe is the continuation of the machine – big, high-profile, high-status corporate organisation

They want you in the office, in a suit, on their PC, using their methods.

These days, hey probably have an amazing diversity programme, and increasingly focused ‘work/life integration’.

The worker’s identity comes from a focus into the organisation, identity with the organisation. It’s dependence.

At it’s best, becoming something bigger than the individual.

At its worst, crushing the individual.

GREEN tribe is the fight for a better world, commitment to a cause – environmental or social justice.

They work where the action is, they’re sparky.

Identity comes from the cause. Interdependence is the flag.

At best? Change the world, righteously.

At worst – self-righteous.

ORANGE tribe is the nomad, the indie, the person in their own right.

They’re in the coffee shops, the worldwide worker hubs, on Twitter, on Roam.

At worst, they’re individualistic and arrogant – independnent

At best, inter-independent, network-aware, taking multiple perspectives.

This is where, for me, the juice is.

How do independent people connect, get support, enable each other?

>> Which are you? What are the other tribes?

*I’m generally dismissive of ‘the future of work’ — it’s one of my known prejudices. It just seems like so much intellectual masturbation, so much of the time. And I generally hate classifications. But in 2007 (I think), I found a PWC piece ‘Managing tomorrow’s people — the future of work to 2020′ — (now updated to 2030, which really rang true. And at least this is a classification primarily on observed behaviour.

It’s also very much my spin on it — and I see landscapes and communities emerging — #roamcult, coding finally getting really good, so people can make you software that actually works, independently, and don’t *want* to make a unicorn startup or be employed by Google — #yakcollective, indie consultants and people trying to heard those particularly cat-like cats, I see postrats and metarationalists and… things happening, baby!

It’s worth saying that I know this is incomplete, imperfect, general. At the very least, as well as liminal spaces between all three, an interesting subset is that there are groups of each who think they are, or should be, in the other groups — blue trying to be orange, green and orange trying to be blue, etc.

For example, there’s also a group — who masquerade as all the other groups (let’s call them red), whose identity comes not from work at all — but from family, community, home. Fascinating species!

Those of you with this perspective will see that there’s something in here about adult development theory, a kind of potential general move from dependent to independent to interdependent to inter-independent. I think those are general patterns that supervene on the data, they’re emergent, they’re always complex and layered. And assumptions of hierarchical ordering are really risky.

Note that PWC chose the colours, not me, so these are not intentional tied to any spiral dynamics or integral concept (that I know of).

There’s also a kind of trad (red) — classical modernist (blue) — critical modernist (green) — postmodernist or metamodernist (orange) sort of thing going on… but damn! You see where this kind of thinking leads you 😉

Slideshow references:

3 thoughts on “Three tribes are contesting for the #futureofwork. Which one will you join?

  1. When I was studying group dynamics in community development in the 80s, i picked up this 3part thingy, think it comes from psychiatric work with (bunny ears) “troubled adolescents”

    Children …

    Teens …

    Adults …

    Could also be used by HR to describe their employees in your first kind of company.

    Dependence is actually a primitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice – so the pre/post trap with the indies could partly be whether they’re counter-dependent or actually something else 🙂


      1. Probly.

        The garage start up mythology of, say, HP or the 2 Steves would suggest a maybe.

        My feeling is that all startups have some element of counterdependent teenage stickittothemannery.

        Sometimes the ‘man’ is a corporation, sometimes a reaction to the ubiquity of mediocre or shit products, etc, etc…


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