Freelancers predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing, annual “Freelancing in America” study finds — from globenewswire.com, by Upwork and Freelancers Union
Freelance workforce growth is accelerating and has outpaced overall U.S. workforce growth by 3x since 2014
Work is changing rapidly, FIA finds, due to the impacts of automation, and freelancers are better equipped for the future due to more frequent reskilling

Excerpt:

NEW YORK and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Upwork and Freelancers Union today released the results of “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA), the most comprehensive measure of the U.S. independent workforce. The fourth annual study estimates that 57.3 million Americans are freelancing (36 percent of the U.S. workforce) and contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy, an increase of almost 30% since last year. Full study results are available here.

 

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Most notable findings reveal:

  • Freelancers are better prepared for the future – As work changes, 54 percent of the U.S. workforce said they’re not very confident that work they do will exist in 20 years. Reskilling is therefore critical. 55 percent of freelancers participated in skill-related education in the last six months versus only 30 percent of non-freelancers.
  • The majority of the U.S. workforce will soon freelance – At its current growth rate, we will reach this milestone by 2027.
  • People are increasingly freelancing by choice – Asked whether they started freelancing more by choice or necessity, 63 percent of freelancers said by choice — up 10 points (from 53 percent) since 2014.
  • Stability is being redefined – Freelancers increasingly think that having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63 percent agree, up 10 points since 2016) and have an average of 4.5 clients per month.
  • While finances are a challenge for all, freelancers experience a unique concern — income predictability. The study found that, with the ebbs and flows of freelancing, full-time freelancers dip into savings more often (63 percent at least once per month versus 20 percent of full-time non-freelancers).

 

 



Also see the study at:



 

 

From DSC:
Seriously folks, what does this mean for our curriculum?

 

 

 

 

Radically open: Tom Friedman on jobs, learning, and the future of work — from dupress.delotte.com by Tom Friedman, Cathy Engelbert, and John Hagel

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Tom Friedman: My thoughts on the future of work are very influenced by my friend, a business strategist, Heather McGowan. She really describes that what’s going on is that work is being disconnected from jobs, and jobs and work are being disconnected from companies, which are increasingly becoming platforms. That’s Heather’s argument, and that is what I definitely see.

[A good] example is what’s happened to the cab business. In Bethesda, we have a [local] cab company that owns cars and has employees who have a job; they drive those cars. They’re competing now with Uber, which owns no cars, has no employees, and just provides a platform of work that brings together ride-needers—myself—and ride-providers. And I do think that the Uber platform model, and the way it is turning a job into work and monetizing work, is the future of work.

And that will have a huge impact on the future of learning. Because if work is being extracted from jobs, and if jobs and work are being extracted from companies—and because, as you and I have both written, we’re now in a world of flows — then learning has to become lifelong. We have to provide both the learning tools and the learning resources for lifelong learning when your job becomes work and your company becomes a platform.

So I’m not sure what the work of the future is, but I know that the future of companies is to be hiring people and constantly training people to be prepared for a job that has not been invented yet. If you, as a company, are not providing both the resources and the opportunity for lifelong learning, [you’re sunk], because you simply cannot be a lifelong employee anymore unless you are a lifelong learner. If you’re training people for a job that’s already been invented, or if you’re going to school in preparation for a job that’s already been invented, I would suggest that you’re going to have problems somewhere down the road.


CE: In a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, some leading labor economists did an analysis of net new employment in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and found that about 94 percent of that net new employment was from alternative work arrangements—everything from gig to freelance and off-balance-sheet kinds of work.

I think that’s why we need to teach filtering, literally, to our students. There should be Filtering 101, Filtering 102, Filtering 103. How do I filter information so I get enough of it to advance, but not so much that I’m overwhelmed? How do I filter news?

 

 

…it seems to me that rule number one is you want to be radically open. And that’s a really hard sell right now, because it feels so counterintuitive, and everyone’s putting up walls right when you want to be, actually, radically open. Why do you want to be radically open? Because you’ll get more flows; you’ll get the signals first, and you will attract more flow-minded people, which I would call high-IQ risk-takers. That’s from a country point of view, but I have to believe that’s also right from a company point of view: that you want to be plugged into as many discussions, as many places, and as many flow generators as possible, because you’ll simply get the signals first in order to understand where the work of the future is coming from.

 

 

[GE] offered $20,000 in prize money — 7,000 to the winner, and the rest split up among the other finalists. Well, within six weeks, they got over 600 responses. The 10 finalists were all tested by GE engineers, and they picked the winner. None of the 10 finalists was an American, and none was an aeronautical engineer, and the winner was a 21-year-old from Indonesia who was not an aeronautical engineer, and he took more than 80 percent of the weight out of this fastener.

No, let’s actually create jump balls and access all the talent wherever it is.

 

 

And what did the best artisans do? They brought so much personal value-add, so much unique extra, to what they did that they carved their initials into their work at the end of the day. So always do your job [in a way that] you bring so much empathy to it, so much unique, personal value-add, that it cannot be automated, digitized, or outsourced, and that you want to carve your initials into it at the end of the day.

 

 



From DSC:
If what Tom, Cathy, and John discuss here is true, think of what that means for our students. Our students need to be digitally literate, online, adaptable, lifelong learners, and they need to be highly comfortable with change. They need to be tapped into the “flows” that the authors describe (what they refer to as flows, I call “streams of content” — if I’m understanding their perspective correctly). They need to think entrepreneurially, as Friedman asserts.

Also, they discuss three new social contracts that need to evolve:

There are three new social contracts that have to evolve here. Government has to incentivize companies to create these lifelong learning opportunities. Companies have to create the platforms for employees to afford to be able to take these courses. And the employee has to have a new social contract with themselves: “I have to do this on my own time; I have to be more self-motivated.” More is on you.

…and thus enters my vision that I call Learning from the Living [Class] Room. A global, powerful, next generation learning platform — meant to help people reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently.

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

But there is no more important survival skill than learning to love learning.

 

 

…because you simply cannot be a lifelong employee anymore unless you are a lifelong learner.

 

 

Always think of yourself as if you need to be reengineered, retooled, relearned, retaught constantly. Never think of yourself as “finished”; otherwise you really will be finished.

 

 



 

 

 

Everyday Life in the Future — from hpmegatrends.com by Andrew Bolwell

 

Technology will play an increasingly vital role in our lives as we move into the future. Four major Megatrends — Rapid Urbanization, Changing Demographics, Hyper Globalization, and Accelerated Innovation — will have a sustained and transformative impact on businesses, societies, economies, cultures, and our personal lives.

 

 

 

Winner takes all — from by Michael Moe, Luben Pampoulov, Li Jiang, Nick Franco, & Suzee Han

 

We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android.

— Larry Page, CEO, Alphabet

 

 

Excerpt:

An alphabet is a collection of letters that represent language. Alphabet, accordingly, is a collection of companies that represent the many bets Larry Page is making to ensure his platform is built to not only survive, but to thrive in a future defined by accelerating digital disruption. It’s an “Alpha” bet on a diversified platform of assets.

If you look closely, the world’s top technology companies are making similar bets.

 


 

 

Technology in general and the Internet in particular is all about a disproportionate gains to the leader in a category. Accordingly, as technology leaders like Facebook, Alphabet, and Amazon survey the competitive landscape, they have increasingly aimed to develop and acquire emerging technology capabilities across a broad range of complementary categories.

 

 

 

Amazon’s new bricks-&-mortar bookstore nails what the web couldn’t — from hackernoon.com by Pat Ryan

or

A title from DSC:
How Amazon uses its vast data resources to reinvent the bookstore

 

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Amazon’s First Foray into Physical Retail — While Utilitarian — Takes Discovery to New Levels
As a long time city dweller living in a neighborhood full of history, I had mixed feelings about the arrival of Amazon’s first bricks-and-mortar bookstore in a city neighborhood (the first four are located in malls). Like most of my neighbors around Chicago’s Southport Corridor, I prefer the charm of owner operated boutiques. Yet as a tech entrepreneur who holds Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the highest esteem, I was excited to see how Amazon would reimagine the traditional bookstore given their customer obsession and their treasure trove of user data. Here’s what I discovered…

The Bottom Line:
I will still go to Amazon.com for the job of ordering a book that I already know that I want (and to the local Barnes and Noble if I need it today). But when I need to discover a book for gifts (Father’s Day is coming up soon enough) or for my own interest, nothing that I have seen compares to Amazon Books. We had an amazing experience and discovered more books in 20 minutes than we had in the past month or two.

 

 

The physical manifestation of the “if you like…then you’ll love…”

 

 

 

The ultra metric combining insights from disparate sources seems more compelling than standard best seller lists

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
For you ed tech vendors, programmers, and/or entrepreneurs out there, would you please create the software to do this? By the way, for purposes of equal access, this could be done in class — it doesn’t have to be done outside of normal school hours.

 

 

 

SXSW Announces Winners for 2017 Accelerator Pitch Event — from prnewswire.com
Pitch competition showcased global startups featuring cutting-edge innovation in 10 technology categories

Excerpt:

The winners of the 2017 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event are:

 

 

 

 

 

The freelance economy: Top trends to watch in 2017 — from blog.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Freelancers now account for nearly 35% of the U.S. workforce and the trend is only picking up speed with more professionals opting to create their own jobs in lieu of more traditional full-time employment.

As we head into the new year, we want to shed a bit more light on this burgeoning sector of the workforce. What kind of location, industry and demographic trends are surfacing among the freelance professionals of 2016? You might not know, for example, that a whopping 40% of our freelancers are concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida and New York. Or that more senior men are most likely to take the leap into freelancing.

The time is ripe to be a freelancer in America so we’re revealing insider insights like these to help you learn more about this trending profession. Check out the report below – gleaned from a survey of more than 9,500 of our ProFinder professionals – to see what we discovered.

 

From DSC:
Besides the workforce moving towards the increased use of freelancers, the pace of change has moved from being more linear in nature to more of an exponential trajectory.

 

 

 

Some important questions, therefore, to ask are: 

  • Are our students ready to enter this type of workplace? 
  • Can they pivot quickly?
  • Do they know how to learn and are they ready to be lifelong learners? (Do they like learning enough to continue to pursue it? Peoples’ overall quality of life would be much higher if they enjoyed learning, rather than be forced to do so in order to keep the bread and butter on their tables.)
  • Are they able to communicate in a variety of ways?
  • How are their customer service skills coming along?
  • How are their problem-solving skills coming along?
  • Do they know how to maintain their businesses’ books and do their taxes?
  • Are they digitally literate and do they have an appreciation for the pluses and minuses of technology?

I sure hope so…but I have my serious doubts. That said, many institutions/organizations representing K-12 and higher education are not doing a great job of innovating either. Though there certainly exists some strong pockets of innovation in some of our institutions out there — and the ability to pivot — taken as a whole, our institutions and organizations haven’t been as responsive, nimble, and innovative as our students need them to be.

After all, we are trying to prepare students for their futures (with the externality effect being that we, too, will also be better prepared for that future).

 

 

 

Some brief reflections from DSC:

will likely be used by colleges, universities, bootcamps, MOOCs, and others to feed web-based learner profiles, which will then be queried by people and/or organizations who are looking for freelancers and/or employees to fill their project and/or job-related needs.

As of the end of 2016, Microsoft — with their purchase of LinkedIn — is strongly positioned as being a major player in this new landscape. But it might turn out to be an open-sourced solution/database.

Data mining, algorithm development, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will likely have roles to play here as well. The systems will likely be able to tell us where we need to grow our skillsets, and provide us with modules/courses to take. This is where the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision becomes highly relevant, on a global scale. We will be forced to continually improve our skillsets as long as we are in the workforce. Lifelong learning is now a must. AI-based recommendation engines should be helpful here — as they will be able to analyze the needs, trends, developments, etc. and present us with some possible choices (based on our learner profiles, interests, and passions).

 

 

Tech for change – from jwtintelligence.com by Jade Perry

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

At this year’s WIRED conference, technology entrepreneurs were dialed in to how they might tackle world issues.

Over two days of sessions in London, speakers celebrated technology’s latest developments in fields ranging from healthcare to finance, from energy to art. Throughout the event, the notion of ‘humane tech’ emerged to describe the ways in which technology is being used to improve the state of the world. Increasingly, technology startups are harnessing the latest advances, including virtual reality and mobile technologies, to solve societal problems and tackle real issues.

Alexandra Ivanovitch, founder of Simorga, presented the company’s mission to develop VR apps that combat prejudice. The work follows research from BeAnotherLab which demonstrated that racial and gender biases can be reduced using virtual reality. When a user experiences the world as someone else, essentially swapping their body for a different one, empathy increases and bias decreases. Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab has created a similar experience in which participants encounter racism while embodying someone else. The project’s mission is reminiscent of Sandy Speaks, the chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to educate people about the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a world where 26% of countries are described as ‘not free,’ technology is increasingly coming into play to empower citizens.

Another human rights issue that technology can seek to tackle is access to education. With approximately 250 million children globally failing to learn even the basics, there is scope for teaching through a range of technologies.

In addition to social issues and human rights, technology is being used on a broader scale to fight climate change…

Renewable energies that transform the everyday were another key focus.

 

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