The Microsoft® Office Information Worker Board of the Future was an advisory panel composed of college-aged students who share ideas on how to better serve the Millennial Generation as they join the workforce while providing Microsoft with perspectives from the “NetGen,” the first generation of people who have grown up with computing and the Internet as a normal part of life.
The Board of the Future had the mission to help reshape products such as Office and Windows for the next generation. Each of us in the Board brought forward insights about the technological needs of our respective countries and for our generation, foreshadowing the present day by explaining how actively we were using social media to communicate across borders.
I was part of the second edition of the Board, which kicked off in June 2005. We were twelve students from Brazil, China, Hungary, India, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and the United States selected by Microsoft from more than 550 applicants and representing a diversity of academic disciplines.
The Board of the Future gathered in Budapest, Hungary to debate technology trends, interpret research data and share our perspectives on the imperatives for information technology in the next decade.
Some of the principles stressed included affordability, machine intelligence, simplicity, speed, compatibility, and cultural customization.
The Board of the Future compiled its predictions of what the workplace will look like by 2015. The top five predictions determined by the student board:
- Connectivity will be truly ubiquitous. People will be able to work virtually anyplace, at any time. Firms will support this flexibility, while employees will increasingly supply their own connected systems, blurring the line between work life and personal life.
- Interfaces will be more natural. The user interface will become more natural, contextually intelligent and adaptive — just better.
- Technology at home will be integrated and include all forms of entertainment. Technology’s reach will extend to clothing and housewares, and personal finance will tie to the shopping experience. Consumer technology (and content) will pour into the workplace.
- Learning will be driven by the individual. Increasing job movement will lead to greater self-initiated learning through on-demand, continually available forms of education, both formal and informal. The highly dynamic workplace will drive the need for lifelong learning.
- Access to information will be smarter. Improved tools for discovering and using information will make possible a “collective intelligence,” and managers will benefit by making better-informed decisions more easily.
You can check out the story about the Board in the Microsoft® website.