Utopia and Dystopias and the Workplace Revolution!

Posted: November 7, 2016 by Matthew Hanwell in Dystopia, FutureofWork, Human Resources, OD, Technology, Utopia


Blog Post by: Ian Gee and Carole Grimwood

Our next two blogs are polarised, the first will look at the ‘Dystopia in the Future Workplace’ and the impact technology will have on HR and OD.  In it we have taken our research and imagined a worst case future, one that we assume none of us would ever want to be a part of.  We have taken a look at how such things as AI, VR, Gamification and Big Data will affect the way we work in a negative way, leading us all as employees being both cut adrift from the workplace community and enslaved in a new machine age driven gig economy.  The second one, ‘Utopia in the Future Workplace’ will look at how much of an enabler and liberator technology will be and how it will provide us all with an incredible opportunity to revolutionise the way we work for the better of all and reinvent ourselves and the HR profession.

Now neither the Utopia or Dystopia we imagine are real.  Hopefully it goes without saying but just in case…. the Utopia and Dystopia blogs are fictional extremes to highlight potential scenarios and do not represent the views of the authors! You may therefore wonder why we have bothered to write them. In both scenario planning and the development of organisation simulations, it is very useful and some would say critical to push our thinking hard to explore as fully as we can both ends of the Utopia to Dystopia construct. In doing so we can really think through what we would like to happen and how to make it so.  If you want to read more about this we can highly recommend Mary Midgley Essay ‘Practical Utopianism’ in her book ‘Utopias, Dolphins and Computers. Problems of Philosophical Plumbing’. (Midgley, M., Routledge, 1996)

It would be great if when you have read both blogs you could help to enrich them by including your ideas in the comment section. We will then do a review and identify the common and distinct themes in both blogs and publish them along with both your and our reflections at the end of this series.


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