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On Location at SXSW 2022: The Metaverse, the Future of Work and HR’s Growing Role

We are living in an era where the speed of change is increasing every day. 

Prior to the internet, new inventions that revolutionized the world, like electricity, the telephone, automobiles and computers, took years to be developed and years more to become part of our day to day. Nowadays, the speed of innovation has increased and disruptor tech like AI and blockchain are being improved and developed incredibly quickly.

In 2022, we are constantly hearing about NFTs, the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, decentralized organizations and ‘the future of workspace’. Everything is changing, and new technologies are helping build the new normal. 

The way we work, play, learn, entertain, gather together and experience the world isn’t just changing incrementally – this is a giant wave of disruption. Metaverses like Roblox, Fortnite, Minecraft and more are shared virtual play spaces designed for meetings and world building, for buy virtual goods, to dance off and jam out. So what does that mean for the future of work? How will this impact the major global companies? 

The world’s largest organizations are fighting to adapt their business and leverage these innovations to become future ready. But what will be the future of the traditional workforce?

SXSW 2022

Artwork at SXSW 2022

Last week, The Bridge team was at the SXSW 2022 in Austin, Texas, considered the world’s biggest festival of innovation, creativity, art and music. Every year the event covers the main trends changing the world to demonstrate how innovative technologies are impacting our society.

This year was very special as it was the first physical event after the Covid-19 pandemic. And because of that, one of the main topics discussed throughout the event was the future of work, especially regarding how the teams (or squads, as they’re becoming known) are built today and will be built in the future. 

“The challenges faced by every organization going fully remote changed their people and talent strategy, bringing the need for new culture and types of teams: evermore hybrid, diverse and independent of location”

Until the pandemic, we had never seen mainstream acknowledgement of the impact that XR and the metaverse will have on the future of work. It won’t just have an impact on day-to-day work or as a solution to cut commutes and business travel, but also on traditional HR capabilities which are primed for reinvention as it becomes one of the main aspects of the organization’s digital transformation strategy.

The challenges faced by every organization going fully remote changed their people and talent strategy, bringing the need for new culture and types of teams: evermore hybrid, diverse and independent of location. 

During SXSW 2022 we saw a metaverse solution called HeadOffice.Space, focused only on the future of the workspace for communities and innovative/tech environments. Imagine a world where you have people working from different locations, but feeling they really are in the same workspace. 

Also, the continued rollout of the metaverse is presenting new opportunities for creators across platforms and disciplines to reach their audiences in ways that are both virtual and interactive

Whatsmore, heading into this metaverse workspace, employees would be paid into their own local currency or using crypto, their rewards and incentives are based on NFTs while they are in different regions, different cultures and different languages inside a gamified environment where they could be trained, challenged and interact with their teammates.

This isn’t a utopia, it’s already happening, and could start to scale in a few years. As a consequence, we will see new methodologies being created to adapt to this moment, and we will find different ways to engage our teams, from creating polls in Zoom or Microsoft Teams, to using a Miro Board to simulate a physical wall. 

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The pandemic also has created job displacement and an increased demand for technical and essential human skills like problem-solving, empathy, and creativity. Organizations must build alternative talent models to meet these challenges.

I’m truly excited about what’s coming in this new chapter, and very confident the industry will adapt to meet new needs in the new normal. 

What’s ahead is a truly extraordinary time. 

Bruno Pina

Bruno Pina is Global Vice President of Growth and Strategy at The Bridge, where he is responsible for Marketing, Product and Sales. The Bridge is a global network of digital talent with over 250,000 Tech & Digital talent across Latin America and North America.

He is also co-founder of Hackmed, a healthtech / edtech company that promotes entrepreneurship with students and professionals in the health area, supported by the Lemann Foundation and the Hospital das Clínicas de São Paulo. Also, Pina is a mentor of market executives and speaker on topics such as Innovation, Digital Transformation, Culture and Health Industry.

During his 20-year career, Pina has worked in several large organizations leading transformation projects in different regions such as Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia. Most recently he was Chief Innovation Officer in Distrito and previously he held the position of Chief Digital Officer at AstraZeneca. Pina also owns major companies like McKinsey & Company and IBM.

In addition to his professional career, Pina is married, the father of 2 children and a lover of philosophy, new technologies and electronic games!

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