11 Economies Shaking Up the World of Work

06/01/2015 05:59 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2016

Did you catch the headline last week about Amazon Prime's new same-day service? Online shoppers in some markets who place an order before noon can now get their packages later that very day. And, not to be outdone, Apple announced that it will partner with Postmates to provide same-day service soon, as well.

This is great news for hurried buyers, but it's more than that. For the people behind the scenes making same-day delivery happen (the project designers, computer programmers, app developers, logistics managers, warehouse workers, packagers, truck drivers, marketers, customer service reps), it means learning new skills, working with new teams of people, thinking out of the old box. For the rest of us job-seekers and career-builders, it's another sign that many jobs are changing faster than we can update our resumes.

2015-06-01-1433165529-500608-changemanagement.jpg Visual from Kenexa.com

I count 11 new economies that are really shaking things up.

1. On-Demand Economy
Amazon and Apple won't have any trouble selling same-day service, because we consumers want what we want when we want it, and that's what the On-Demand economy is all about. We're buying transportation service from Uberand Lyft . GrubHub and Instacart are keeping us fed. Netflix streams our entertainment, whenever we want it. And we can pay for most of this with our mobile devices, via a variety of apps - mobile payment itself being a rapidly expanding market. According to Business Insider, "soon every need we have, every car we take, every purchase we make will be available at the tap of a button. Get ready."

2. Sharing Economy
It's no coincidence that the Sharing Economy took off with the Great Recession; creative people figured out all kinds of ways to spend less money and make more of it by sharing what they already have. Of Sharing Economy leaders, Airbnb is getting much of the attention these days - causing controversy in some places because "collaborative consumption" is clearly disrupting the marketplace. There's also ZipCar (for a quick ride), Liquid (for bikes), ShareDesk (for office space), eBay (for "resharing" goods), and a myriad of local enterprises and co-ops. The Sharing Economy is growing faster than its cousin, the traditional rental market, and PwC forecasts a very hot future for both.

3. Gig Economy
Stop in a Starbucks or Panera Bread mid-day during the week and you will see them at work: the writers, programmers, designers, animators, consultants, coaches, translators, and coders that make up the Gig Economy. They may be tucked away in a shared workspace like WeWork or Jelly. If you don't see them there, try the Internet, where you can engage a freelance fixer-upper, housecleaner, errand-runner, writer, personal assistant and more at sites like Handy, Task Rabbit, or Elance-oDesk. Workers in the Gig Economy, who take short-term assignments often on short notice, may work as independent contractors, as part of an association or co-op or professional network, or through a staffing or other service. According to the Freelancers Union, one in three American workers is now doing some freelance work. Enthusiasts predict they may someday make up 50 percent of the nation's workforce.

4. Social Impact Economy
Benefit Corporations and Conscious Capitalists are the most visible players in the Social Impact Economy, leading the way to demonstrate that business can be about more than money. Companies like Method Soaps, Etsy, Ben and Jerry's, Dansko, Newman's Own, Whole Foods, the Container Store, and more have revamped business models or made significant public commitments to a Triple Bottom Line, focused on measurable benefits to "people, planet, and profits." Social Impact is also a good talent strategy; Millennials and Boomers alike say they want to work for companies that do well and do good at the same time. One study reports job satisfaction levels higher by 2:1 among workers in companies making a social or economic impact.

5. Learning Economy
Learning is not just for school kids anymore - or college students, either. A successful career hinges on career-long learning, spurred and shaped by individual interests, aptitudes, and market demands. Colleges and technical schools are responding with an array of programs targeting adults who want to stay up-to-date and marketable. Digital badges, nanodegrees, and stackable certificates are being developed to verify the value of these experiences. But the new Learning Economy also includes initiatives outside traditional educational institutions. They are being created by adult learners themselves (Meet-Ups, self-help groups, a huge online catalog of YouTube Videos), employers (who spend $590 billion a year on skills training, according to the Center for Education and the Workforce ), and business-oriented sponsors (IT vendors, professional associations, edupreneurs). They're making career-long learning happen with opportunities that are short term, accessible, inexpensive, high-tech / high-touch, immediately relevant, coupled with the benefits of networking.

6. Data-Driven Economy
Digital technology connects us and enables us to communicate with amazing breadth and speed, generating a near-endless stream of data about things we want (and may not want) to know. We're well aware of the opportunities and dangers of Big Data. But the Data-Driven Economy is also about small and personal things: wearable technologies that monitor our health, tiny RFID tags that help keep the shelves stocked, devices that keep track of our energy use, sensors that connect our home appliances to the Internet of Things. Joel Gurin, founder of OpenDataNow.com told the US Chamber: "People talk about data being the new oil, [but] I think ultimately it's going to be like the new water. It's just a resource that will be core to how we do our business and lead our lives."

7. Inclusion Economy
Everybody's in when it comes to the Inclusion Economy, fueled by ICT and social media, allowing anyone with access to a laptop, tablet, or smart phone to become a communicator, influencer, organizer, photojournalist, or whistle-blower. Entrepreneurs find an abundance of opportunity in this space - in fact, a whole ecosystem has developed around crowdfunding and equity crowdfunding, creating technology-enabled networks of people supporting causes and ideas they believe in. We also see the Inclusion Economy at work within corporations, with a commitment to workforce diversity that extends beyond race, ethnic, and gender diversity to seek out the unique skills and perspectives of individuals from all backgrounds, orientations, nationalities, abilities and disabilities. Insider group-think has no place in the Inclusion Economy.

8. Customer-Centered Economy
Heard that Taco Bell, McDonald's, Panera Bread, Chipotle and other restaurants are changing their menus with healthier foods and fewer additives? And that Walmart and Ford have gone green? These companies want to be responsible corporate citizens, but they're also responding to customer demands. Consumers (whose spending drives GDP) are more diverse, discriminating, and demanding these days. We want products and services consistent with our lifestyles and values, provided courteously, and if we're not satisfied, we're all over Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, GooglePlaces, company websites, and other social media to tell the world about it. This is having a big-time impact on firms that depend on our business. In the Customer-Centered Economy, customer service is no longer just an entry-level job; it's a business priority.

9. Gift Economy
The Gift Economy is about giving ideas, goods, and services away in a culture of reciprocity, but without a specific quid pro quo. Folks who participate each year in the no-cash community Burning Man are among its biggest evangelists. But the Gift Economy is much more: it's the Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and the huge global network around open source technology and content in which anyone with access to a computer can use what they need and give back to the resource pool. Writing for OpenSource.com, Jonathan Opp says that "nowhere is it more obvious to see a gift culture at work than in social media. In an environment like Twitter when everything is done in the open, the system is fueled by a network of gifts. You follow someone, they follow you back. You retweet, they retweet." We may not be able to pay our bills directly with the fruits of the Gift Economy, but social networks developed there can (and often do) lead to work that will.

10. STEAM Economy
Thought STEM was a list of high-growth jobs? Maybe 10 years ago, but now science, technology, engineering, and math have infused everything, according to the Lumina Foundation's Holly Zanville. We find job openings requiring knowledge of some STEM disciplines across all industry sectors, and at many different skill levels. But, even as it spreads everywhere, our new economy vision has moved beyond STEM ... to STEAM. The arts are essential to the STEAM Economy that continuously serves up new products and experiences in the form of interactive Web sites; mobile apps; videos; video games; high-tech entertainment; multi-dimensional maps; infographics; 3-D design and printing; digital museums, libraries, and other educational resources. There is also plenty of STEAM at Maker Faires, at science fairs and competitions like FIRST Robotics, and in the vast global platform for ideas called TED.

11. Challenge Economy
Bright, creative minds are drawn to a challenge, and R&D enterprises increasingly tap into a universal pool of smart people to find solutions to problems that stump the in-house workforce. Innocentive was one of the first platforms ("ideagoras") to allow firms to post challenges on the Web and to offer a cash award to the individual or team who could come up with a solution. In the Challenge Economy, the practice idea of paying for measurable outcomes is spreading rapidly; not only businesses but NGOs, foundations, government entities, investors, and individuals are engaged in outcome-driven partnerships such as venture philanthropy, social impact bonds, and crowd-sourced innovation financing.

Talent and technology are the fuel that drives these dynamic new economies. Many of us are outside the space where technologists do their magic. But all of us are challenged to meet the new economy demands for talent. Employers tell me that they seek people who are good communicators, flexible thinkers, on-their-feet problem-solvers, with a continuous hunger for learning. Svetlana Saitsky adds to this list in a blog for Great Place to Work®. The most attractive employees, she says, are those who are curious, inventive, team-players, disciplined and hard-working, passionate about evolution and change. These abilities are much harder to train for than the old skill sets, but, looking at emerging opportunities in the 11 new economies, they make a lot of sense.

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