The Future in 5 Words… #4: ‘Inclusive’

Why Work will be… ‘Inclusive’

#4V2Diversity is desirable; we know this. It is intrinsically linked to principles of fairness and respect, equality and human rights; with its arch nemesis Discrimination outlawed by state legislation and workplace regulation. This is not, however, why work will be inclusive in the near future: Inclusivity will be a matter of economic necessity. Why? Here follow two sample supporting arguments: one highlights a global megatrend; the other a sector-specific case study.

Firstly, according to the Global AgeWatch Index, the number of older persons (aged 60 years or over) is expected to more than double to 2.1bn by 2050, exceeding the number of children and constituting 21.5% of the population (1 in 5). In fact, in Switzerland, older persons already make up almost 1 in every 4 people (24%). This demographic cannot be ignored: either as human resource in itself, with people working later in life and organisations becoming increasingly age-friendly; or as a community of retirees dependent on the shrinking proportion of people in employment, whose rising productivity targets call for optimal labour levels.

Secondly, certain job markets are almost in crisis. Take for example the case of the construction industry in the UK, stuck with an image problem as the near-exclusive domain of middle-aged white males. At the last count, the sector was found to employ 2.1M people – enough to fill 262,500 double-decker buses – and yet, it is struggling with a looming skills gap, under pressure to find an additional 224,000 new hires by 2019. As well as attracting poor levels of young starters, school leavers, students and apprentices, plus a below-average proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) workers, it is failing to recruit women. In terms of diversity, women make up 46% of the overall UK workforce but represent just 14.5% of the total in construction and a mere 1.2% in trades. For Construction, therefore, embracing Inclusivity is a must, not a mere nice-to-have.

This is why, in the future, work will be inclusive.

Tomorrow, a 5th Mystery Word: Why Life will be… ?

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‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

The Future in 5 Words… #3: ‘Loopy’

Why Innovation will be… ‘Loopy’ 

At the back end of last year, the new Circular Economy Package from the European Commission came out to a cacophony of mismanaged expectations, eliciting cries of disbelief and sighs of relief, in almost equal measure. It was both lauded and lamented for the sake of a few percentage points either way. In one sense, of course the details matter; however, in another, they really do not. Even as the landfill and recycling targets were published, the game had already moved on.

The emphasis for the Commission and the market at large is now shifting towards engagement of the design community – in everything from consumer packaging and household products, to building projects and industrial plant. This is not about Europe, per se; it is about closing loops and tying up the loose ends of linear thinking and doing. We are on a worldwide creative and intellectual quest for resource alchemy, of which the EU steer will prove part-symptom, part-cause. Why? Well, for starters, commodity costs and constraints are already driving the food-energy-water nexus almost to breaking point in some parts of the planet. Secondly, there is money to be lost and made.

The Circular Economy concept holds real bottom-line and pocket-warming promise, whether by way of global savings revenue of $1tr by 2025, or delivering maybe 205,000 jobs in the UK alone by 2030. Any talk of a resource revolution, though, means seeing waste as more than merely system inefficiency. Smart, sustainable design cannot just be about removal and reduction, but becomes regenerative and restorative. We can only cut so far; we still need to create. This is why, in the future, innovation must get ‘loopy’.

Tomorrow: Why Work will be… ‘Inclusive’

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For a global Who’s Who on Social Media in the Circular Economy, please see our new @SustMeme Top 500 ranking, published weekly with Enevo.

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‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

The Future in 5 Words… #2 ‘Sociable’

Why Business will be… ‘Sociable’ 

#2V3For the company of tomorrow, as environmental sustainability becomes increasingly commonplace and the language used to describe it sometimes flat and tired, so its underachieving sibling social sustainability will blossom and grow in popularity. This more human-centric business vision will necessitate a subtle linguistic shift towards ‘people-words’. The combined trends of social-media engagement and interaction with the sharing economy (forecast to be worth $335bn by 2025) currently see corporates being ‘communicative’ and ‘collaborative’, but will translate in the future into business becoming ‘sociable’. From here on, the expectation and aspiration for a good company is to be good company.

Tomorrow: Why Innovation will be… ‘Loopy’

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‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

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