The open economy: the shift towards a connected community

Written by
Graham Long

05 Apr 2017

05 Apr 2017 • by Graham Long

A new generation of talent, hand in hand with a wide array of advanced new technologies, is accelerating the already rapid pace of change for businesses right across the board. In the 20th century, most business change and innovation happened slowly and incrementally – however today, this happens swiftly and unforgivingly. We can see just how far technology and the way we work have both evolved in recent years, identifying a huge shortfall in how prepared businesses are to meet the challenges of this new landscape.

Samsung’s research shows that for businesses and governments to thrive in this new world, they will need to completely rethink the meaning of work in the 21st century; who does it, where they do it and how they share information openly but safely. Previously, concerns over security have made companies reluctant to open up their boarders to their stakeholders, effectively closing their doors to new prospects and thus limiting opportunities to exploit collaborative power.  

The open economy is a term we have coined at Samsung to describe the profound revolution in society and the workplace as we embrace the more open and collaborative business culture that technology is making possible. Many new ideas must also be absorbed, and many new business processes put into place. The organisations that start to think about these ideas today will be the ones that prosper tomorrow.

The rise of the digital workforce

In relation to future employees, a new breed of ultra-flexible freelancers will prosper in The Open Economy. Their arrival will not only present momentous opportunities for the organisations that embrace them, but will also present significant and continuous challenges for those who haven’t taken measures to prepare for their arrival. Our research finds that 40% of workers will be self-employed by 2020, making the value of the HR freelance market worth $10 billion, demonstrating how vital it is for organisations and HR teams to adapt to this new working reality.

Interestingly, the gig economy is already in full swing and the advancements of AI technologies, which will automate systemic and repetitive processes across multiple industries, will generate change in many industries. However, these advancements will also free employees from mundane and repetitive tasks, liberating a workforce where human judgement and expertise becomes the centre of any organisation’s human resources.

The rise of freelance workers also complicates businesses’ existing Bring-your-own-device strategies. Freelancers will be using devices of their choice and thus due to the nature of their work, will be connected with multiple organisations simultaneously. Whilst this overlapping work will be taking place, undertaken in conjunction with several corporate data sets, freelancers will also be fiercely protective of the privacy of their own data – as they should be.

Where next?

Identifying and embracing these ideas is just one step on the road to the open economy. The real challenge, for businesses, will be how to integrate new kinds of workers and devices in a secure way that promotes business yet is in keeping with changes to regulatory pressures. And for the rising abundance of freelancers, the biggest challenge will be adapting to the various tools of the trade which allows them to promote their skills set in an increasingly competitive economy yet with a focus on security.