As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve spent some time looking back through the Lab Report archives to see what people read, shared, and clicked on the most. The result? A glimpse of the zeitgeist and a better understanding of what’s top-of-mind for executives. This year’s top stories all fall into two overarching themes: disruption and its impact on humanity.
Waves of disruption
Across sectors and industries, emerging technologies and new ways of working are challenging the status quo.
Most read: all things voice tech
Stories about voice technology were viewed more than any other articles on our website. This “fifth wave of digital disruption” is presenting challenges and opportunities similar to mobile, social, search, and the web itself. Innovation executives are busy explaining the paradigm shift to their bosses and teams, planning for voice-tech pilots, and figuring out what good looks like.
Most popular on social media and email: open innovation
Open innovation — the topic of our most popular tweets and email newsletters — is an entirely new way of working, and another disruption that has the potential to create enormous value. Our inaugural State of Open Innovation survey found that innovation leaders in private sector, government, and nonprofit organizations view collaboration as the new competitive advantage. They’re using open innovation in pursuit of new approaches to complex problems — forming unlikely partnerships, harnessing data from unexpected sources, and tapping into the collective intellect of the crowd.
Staying power: future of work and education
Longer life spans and shifting economic forces mean we’re staying in the workforce longer. Meanwhile, new technologies are creating jobs that didn’t exist just five or 10 years ago, prompting big questions about automation, education, and the future of work. (That may be why the reading list we published in 2017 is still one of the most visited articles on our website.) Employers and educators are increasingly focused on preparing students of today for the jobs of tomorrow while also helping today’s workforce reskill and upskill to meet changing requirements.
The impact on humanity
Change is inevitable. How do we anticipate and plan for an equitable future?
Most shared: ethics and equity
Tech is having its “seatbelt moment” — and our writing on ethics has been shared on social media more than any other topic. Facebook has dominated headlines this year, but it’s far from the only company to raise eyebrows for its questionable policies and practices. In tech and beyond, we’re seeing an increased interest in building a capacity for ethics and doing more to imagine the unintended consequences of emerging technologies and new ways of working.
The stakes are high in technology because of its enormous impact on systems and culture, but the push for ethics and equality is prompting introspection across industries. Luminary Labs CEO Sara Holoubek wrote about the gender wage gap for Forbes; the essay was shared extensively across social media and sparked thoughtful conversations about the role of business in society.
Most responses: life in 2030
The decisions we make today will impact the future of humanity. We asked email subscribers and Twitter followers to weigh in on the factors that will have the greatest impact on life in 2030; in addition to votes, we received many responses from readers who struggled to choose just one factor. We may have an idea of what’s in store, but the next decade is uncharted territory. We’ll keep an eye on the trends and a finger on the pulse. Sign up for the Lab Report, and we’ll send fresh insights to your inbox each week.
Photo by Ariel Besagar on Unsplash