There’s ample debate today around the need for a change in the way we work and how the future of work will look like. The reasons for this topic to be increasingly talked of usually come to reasons such as:
- the tools we currently use fail to really help us get work done in a context of increasing uncertainty, change & need for greater collaboration, both inside and outside company boundaries
- the disengagement and energy drain of employees is affecting all sorts of organizations
- a younger generation is entering the workforce with different expectations regarding the workplace
I’m very passionate about the theme of the future of work maybe because I feel reason #1 often and because I’ve seen reason #2 happen a lot. So when my good friends at the Startup Pirates decided to invite me to an event on the Future of Work with Podio I had to say yes, of course!
I first came across Podio at the Dachis Group Social Business Summit in London in 2011, and later saw lots of buzz on their Future of Work tour around the US and Europe, though not Portugal. The opportunity finally came on the 23rd of January in the beautiful city of Oporto (disclaimer: I’m clearly biased here 🙂 ) where Kasper Hultin, “an entrepreneur by heart” and one of the founders of Podio, presented his company’s vision of the future of work.
Podio’s vision seems to tackle reason #1 that I’ve appointed earlier, though the others are somewhat related. According to Kasper “the way people get work done is quite broken, with too many disjoint and disconnected tools”. So Podio presents itself as a DIY work tool (my words, not theirs) where one can literally build one’s work platform. How? Well, the magic word is apps!
Podio’s motto is “change the way we work, one app at the time” and they seem to mean it. By giving users (yes, the mere mortal ones, not just the Gods of coding 🙂 ) the ability to build/customize apps, Podio aims to give each of us the ability to adapt our work platform to the way work actually needs to get done: in a collaborative and social way, using a user-friendly interface.
I started using it over the weekend to coordinate a personal project with some friends and must say I liked the slick design and the ability to, in 5 minutes, add apps to enrich the workspace I was putting together. It was clear from yesterday’s presentation that there’s more to the apps customization capabilities than what I was expecting (so yes, I have a date with my laptop and Podio apps during the weekend 🙂 ).
One smart question that came from yesterday’s audience was related to the competition in the collaborative/social/web-based work platforms at the moment with so many options (Huddle, Yammer, etc) out there. To a smart question, Kasper gave a smart answer:
One thing that I didn’t had the chance to explore with Kasper was the topic of information silos and discoverability: isn’t the future of work also about transforming the way we work into a more open and cross-collaborative mode (cross as in cross-department/business unit and even cross company’s boundaries)? And if that is the case (and I believe it is) how does one overcome the fact that each team or department will just be tempted to create private workspaces thus miming old information and work silos into one new platform?
Actually, this is a question to which I think I know the answer (and so does Podio): the Future of Work requires a transformation on work, organization culture and leadership itself…