Chaos and Rocketfuel: Episode 84: Today’s singles that may influence the workplace in 2032 | Anton Musgrave


Welcome to Episode 84 of The Future of Work, the podcast that looks at every aspect of the future of work, featuring industry experts and thought leaders discussing how work is changing and evolving. The Future of Work is NOW.

Anton Musgrave, Futurist and Business Strategist at Futureworld is busy showing us how to prepare our minds for the future of work. This practical session looks at the signals we are seeing today that might shape the future of work.

This week we look at frameworks that will help you and mindsets that will hinder you in future state thinking.

Anton Mustgrave, Futurist, Keynote speaker, Futureworld International Partner, unpacks the future of work

Anton Musgrave | Futurist | Keynote speaker

Anton has a background and qualifications in law, he has served as MD of Citadel Private Client Wealth Management, a Managing Partner of a large legal practice, and MD of a major property business, and President of a national property owners’ association, representing property interests worth $60 billion. 

As one of Futureworld’s resident Futurists, Anton drives our unique Strategy from the Future™ process, thinking from the future back to the present, turning traditional strategy on its head. He is an inspiring, spirited communicator and a globally acclaimed futurist and speaker. He lectured on executive programs at major business schools, including the London Business School, Duke CEOxford University’s Said Business School, the Tata Management Training Centre for Global Leadership, and the Indian School of Business.


[00:00:00] – Anton Musgrave
The way we think about data. I mean, everyone’s creating massive pools of data, but the real value is going to come between the intersection, if you like, of different data sets and how we collaborate around who owns what data.

[00:00:22] – Doug Foulkes
Hello and welcome to episode 84 of Chaos & Rocketfuel: The Future of Work Podcast. This is the podcast that looks at every aspect of work in the future and it’s brought to you by WNDYR and Pattyrn. I’m Doug Foulkes, and I’m joined, as always, by Claire Haidar, who is the CEO at WNDYR. Claire, we’re continuing our talk about the future of work with Anton Musgrave. Tell me a little bit about Anton and what we’re talking about today.

[00:00:48] – Claire Haidar
So, Doug, as we saw in the first segment which aired last week, where basically, Anton laid the foundation for us in terms of the work that him and his team at Futureworld do with companies across the globe. Essentially that is, looking at the trends that are shaping the world of work today, what projections can we make into the future and basically think of ourselves differently as organizations?

[00:01:15] – Claire Haidar
Most executives tend to get stuck in the day to day and don’t really dedicate the necessary time to true strategic thinking, and so that is what Anton does with these companies along with his team at Futureworld. In the second segment, we’re actually diving into some of those things.

[00:01:31] – Claire Haidar
So we’re asking Anton really practical questions like, what are the trends that are shaping the future of work? How are executives that they’re doing this work with, approaching this, thinking about this? He is really going into very practical details with us about frameworks that can be used, typical mindsets that are actually very destructive to this process and are hindering more so than helpful. It’s a really practical piece of the conversation, which I definitely am really looking forward to.

[00:02:04] – Doug Foulkes
Awesome. Anton, bring it on. You started talking about the different processes and things that you’d have to look at, so that maybe leads nicely into the second part of our conversation, which is around the trends that you see. We’ve spoken about 7-10 years out. In your opinion, what are those top trends? What are you seeing developing? Where are our business leaders needing to be focusing on 10 years out, for example?

[00:02:32] – Anton Musgrave
I think there are a number of really higher order forces, if you like. I mean, speed is one of them. Speed of everything is not going away. Speed of change, speed of disruption, speed of technology, speed of accessing new markets, potentially all of that is escalating at an absolutely unprecedented rate.

[00:02:50] – Anton Musgrave
I was working with a bank in China just before lockdown, and they take 36 hours, Doug, from the moment someone has an idea in a meeting to executing it in their business network. I mean, it’s insane almost. So speed is one.

[00:03:06] – Anton Musgrave
I think, automation of absolutely everything that can be automated will be automated. That, of course, has huge consequences around jobs processes, again, business models. And of course, the question ultimately is what drives differentiated premium value as any business when many things are automated that maybe are still manual today?

[00:03:30] – Anton Musgrave
So when you then start thinking about that then you say, “Well, okay, so I’ve got 10,000 people on my payroll, what are they going to do?” The question then is well, how do we design business model and engagement models where those humans can do things that are inherently very difficult for an automated process to execute?

[00:03:52] – Anton Musgrave
We’re the value addition points that we can create for humans to do special things for customers, for suppliers, for everyone in your broader ecosystem if you like. That talks then about the skills we need, the structures we need, the kinds of jobs we’ll have. Of course, we all know the story, 70% of 2030 jobs haven’t been defined yet, and that’s exciting.

[00:04:14] – Anton Musgrave
But then we look at a few other things. I mean 5G is not just 25% better than 4G. 5G means we’re going to live in a world in 10 years time where nine billion people on the planet are connected with unlimited broadband that will probably be either free or very very affordable even in the poorest of rural communities, real time speed with virtually zero data latency.

[00:04:37] – Anton Musgrave
Now that opens up massive opportunities for almost every business, education, health care, fast moving consumer goods, et cetera. That has huge implications. Then you add into that virtual augmented reality.

[00:04:52] – Anton Musgrave
The big theme that I speak about is this concept of visualization where you’re able to visualize differently, training, customer experiences. I hate thinking about the metaverse and so forth, but we are going to live in this blended version of reality and virtuality, if you like, and it will be a seamless integration across all of that.

[00:05:13] – Anton Musgrave
I think that’s going to change. I think cyber risk obviously is going to escalate exponentially. So how we cope with that, how we deal with that I think is going to be really important.

[00:05:25] – Anton Musgrave
I think another big area is the way we think about data. I mean everyone’s creating massive pools of data but the real value is going to come between the intersection, if you like, of different data sets and how we collaborate around who owns what data. Again, in the old world, many large companies wanted to own all their data and develop all their own tech stacking systems, et cetera. In the new world is going to be about not owning it, but collaborating and sharing.

[00:05:57] – Anton Musgrave
So who do we collaborate with? That then brings around another interesting question which is again, maybe a little bit high level, but how good our companies actually are building collaborative relationships? I’m not talking about 140-page legal contracts, I’m talking about relationships with the leadership teams actually align around achieving a common outcome or common purpose and make that happen not because of a massively, complex legal document, but because they share in the excitement of changing something in the marketplace for the customer’s benefit and they find new ways of delivering that customer excitement.

[00:06:34] – Claire Haidar
Yeah, there’s many of these things. Anton, where I want us to go next in the conversation is, so fully agree with everything you’ve said. You know what I mean? The speed, the automation, the 5G, the data, all of these things. Take us a little bit down a practical route.

[00:06:49] – Claire Haidar
So again, coming back to the typical audience who’s listening to this conversation that we’re having today, what do executives need to be doing in the next six months to be thinking about these issues that you’re talking about? Because from my lens, being the company that we are, doing the work that we do, I can definitively say to you that less than 0.1% of our customer base is preparing themselves and thinking about this stuff.

[00:07:21] – Anton Musgrave
Let me try and make it simple. Two things: one, make the time to think about the future 10 years out. Actually, make the time. Step number 1. So have thoughts. How do you rewire your brain to think differently about something out there?

[00:07:37] – Anton Musgrave
The second thing is, and I think it’s really important in the world we’re living in now. If you just read the news headlines over the last 48 hours, for that matter, it’s no surprise that 74% of business executives in America have more than one mental illness symptom. It’s no surprise that significant percentages of all the generational categories are anxious at the moment.

[00:08:04] – Anton Musgrave
As a leader, I think the most important thing to do in the very short term is work with your teams to understand exactly why you exist, what is your purpose as an organization? By the way, this is not about your desired market cap or desired level of profitability. You can’t put a dollar sign in front of it because then it’s not the purpose.

[00:08:26] – Anton Musgrave
Dollar success is an outcome of being something important in the life of your community or your customer base, your society, your marketplace, et cetera. It’s something qualitative. What is that?

[00:08:37] – Anton Musgrave
So this concept of understanding why organizations exist as opposed to what and how they do things is so important as an anchor for anxious employees, anxious customers, et cetera, to aggregate around that purpose and then give them clarity of direction. The next thing to do, actually, as a leadership team is to write down what are the 10 core assumptions that underpin your today’s business model. How do you make your money? How do you do your business today? What are the10 things that shape your P&L, if you like? Your income statement, write them down.

[00:09:14] – Anton Musgrave
Then, having spent a bit of time thinking about the world 10 years out, I’d like you to delete which of those still stay relevant in 10 years. Just draw line through them, because the ones that remain are what I call toxic assumptions. They’re valid today, so they give you a sense of confidence that you’re on the right path, you’re focusing on the right things, allocating your resources appropriately, but that’s the moment of realization when 50% of your current assumptions are no longer valid. Somewhere between now and 10 years, that’s the moment of clarity when you say, wow, I’d better press pause and rethink the destination that I’m aiming this organization at, because half of what I’m doing right now will actually break between now and then.

[00:10:05] – Anton Musgrave
So that creates that moment of strategic clarity that we can’t just continue doing what we are doing. The next question for me is then you need to look at your leadership team, maybe even your board of directors, and say, “Have I got the right people to help me think strategically about this new destination?”

[00:10:26] – Anton Musgrave
It’s fascinating when you look at the boards of many of the world’s biggest banks, the level of diversity is frightening. The level of deep insight to have a strategic capital allocation decision or discussion on whether we’re going with this form of AI or this form of robotics or this form of automation is very limited.

[00:10:50] – Anton Musgrave
So how are you having these board level strategic conversations? Do you have the right people in the room to have a diverse, wide-ranging set of conversations that can then help you make the most appropriate decision? Those are some of the things that I think need to happen in the short term. A, make time to think about the future. B, understand exactly why you exist.

[00:11:13] – Anton Musgrave
Talk about the toxic assumptions in your business. And then look at the people around you and say, “Have I got the right mix of people to help me explore this very difficult concept of having a view about the destination and building a business that’s going to be relevant in that world?” It’s not easy. The beauty, the exciting part is there’s very few wrong answers, but you need to think strategically as opposed to operationally or tactically.

[00:11:40] – Doug Foulkes
That is the end of part 2 of our conversation about the future of work and how it is probably impacting you today. If you missed the first part of our conversation with Anton, you can check it out on Spotify, Google or Apple podcasts or on WNDYR’s website, We’ll conclude our chat with Anton shortly. From Claire and myself, we’ll see you soon.