In 2020, the pandemic Sars-Covid19 immobilized human activity; we learned plenty in isolation on our social necessity, and mental health. The pandemic exposed the fragility of our systems (health, economic, administrative, governing etc.) and in retrospect, revealed the environmental debt we owe to our planet.
Despite the unravelling truth, some remained sceptic or denied the problem upfront; However, some adapted to the unique and uncertain normality of the ever-changing economic infrastructures and propelled the digitalization of human communication forward. Since the latter paid attention to the challenging circumstances of their times, we encountered a myriad of possibilities in digital communication.
The year 2030 marks a decade of digital transformation in human communication as a response to the pandemic of 2020. Before diving into how 2020 impacted us, allow me to paint a quick picture of how working in 2030 feels like. I am a UX designer inside a co-working space; there are over 300 coworkers in their studio; we work as a community yet represent different organizations. We have access to the mentorship of engineers, health care specialist, product developers, disabled professionals, with whom we exchange knowledge and ideas regularly without disclosing any confidential information.
Outside my window, I see a woman with her laptop sitting in a park while her kids are playing. She is enjoying a late summer afternoon while giving a presentation. Such sights are quite common, as the definition of work has become fluid and expanded; the trending word of the year is #balance as 2030 approaches its end.
From 2020 onwards, aplenty of work-related activities switched partially and later entirely to pixel-world. For instance, Trade fairs became digital events and virtual showrooms, whereas, online communication tools regulated networking, meeting and social interaction. Accessibility became a paramount discussion at every stage of product development, as more people joined the digital workforce. Skeuomorphism returned to match real-world expectations with the digital one. In short, virtuality became a reality.
Amid the prevailing uncertainty as well as the rapid evolution of work-space, recreating a sense of community within the digital workforce became an immediate concern, which led Corporations to adopt open-source philosophy centred on the principle of collaboration.
An open-source entity (software, product or social media) embraces the power of diversity in ideas and open collaboration. Open-source thinking stimulates the notion of ‘the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts,’ which led Corporations to rethink their hierarchies, open up silos and invite other faculties to invest in the benefit for all rather than a few.
Consequently, the time spent on organizing, managing and attending meetings freed up and more space for creative exploration became available. Remote workers could catch up on the latest updates anytime, without the necessity to participate in a meeting at odd timings.
Another factor that shaped the success story for the corporation was transparency in communication and clarity across the global channel for the community because there was less left to assume or remained unclear.
Unsurprisingly, Corporations spent more on further improving open-source networks to facilitate clients, employees, innovations and product development instead of organizing huge events for stakeholders thanks to low-cost upkeep of the open-source system.
The tools of collaboration and networking in the open-source platform drove innovation to the highest point. The updates on recent development became instant, whereas the prototyping became quicker and collaborative, and the feedback was immediate since the community was a repository of knowledge itself, there was no unnecessary protocol to wait for a conference to start or a real-life event to take place.
In retrospect, the open-source provided a cohesive platform, where everyone rallied behind the same cause and worked toward the same goal by applying their diverse expertise. The synergy of disciplines merged, and the symbiosis of a healthy work relationship between employee and employer took prominence. Hence, collaboration became more inclusive, transparent yet gated, and at a fraction of a cost relative to holding real-life meetings, which consequently freed people to invest in creating rather than managing.
Taha Bader | User Experience Designer at Shanghai.Berlin