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The Future of Work: Turn Disruption into Opportunity with Elatia Abate

The Future of Work: Turn Disruption into Opportunity with Elatia Abate

The lightning bolt of the pandemic accelerated a tsunami of disruption to the way we work and live. While it’s been difficult riding the waves of change over the last couple of years, inside this disruption is more opportunity than we’ve ever seen — if only we can learn how to channel the turmoil into tangible, positive impact.

This is where Elatia Abate thrives. Named a leading female futurist by Forbes, Elatia joined us for our most recent Virtual Speaker Series event to take us on a deep dive into the future of work. In an information-packed hour, Elatia broke down the trends we’re seeing today and how we can turn them into actionable strategies to become future-ready, as individuals and organizations.

The Three Big Dynamics at Play Right Now

Elatia has spent years researching the impact of technology and disruptive forces on our world, seeking to answer the question “how might we empower success in the face of great uncertainty and disruption?” Through her research, she discovered that there are three big dynamics in play right now, sparking disruption and change throughout the world. These dynamics are:

1) Technology

47% of jobs in the US are to be computerized or automated in the coming years, Elatia said. Additionally, it’s been estimated that by 2021, 7.7 billion people will have smart phones. This means that almost the entire human population will have access to the educational and entrepreneurial opportunities that the internet provides.

2) The Workforce

There has been a big increase in the amount of gig and contract work. Since 2010, more than half of the jobs created in Europe have been gig or contract work, Elatia said, and about 10-11% of Canada’s workforce works exclusively gig or contract work. We also have an aging workforce. For the first time, the number of people looking to leave the workforce greatly exceeds those looking to enter it, Elatia said.

3) The Economy

Canadians are experiencing the highest inflation rate since 1991 (6.8%), sparked by the global pandemic. This economic downturn, combined with Ray Dalio’s debt cycle, Elatia said, is why we’re seeing so many shifts happening across the world.

Any changes within these three dynamics on their own is enough to cause massive change. Today, those dynamics are converging, which means that the disruption they cause will be on a much larger scale, Elatia said.

“This is not all doom and gloom… the difference in times like this is that there is actually more opportunity inside of this change than there has ever been for humanity,” Elatia said.

Learn more about these dynamics in the video below:

100 Years of Change in One Decade

These changes and major shifts were already happening pre-pandemic, Elatia said. The pandemic accelerated those changes, and this acceleration is only going to continue.

Elatia said that we are 1-2% into what is going to be 100 years of change within one decade, and we’re going to see this across every industry and every space that we’re navigating. It’s up to us, Elatia said, to figure out how to do this successfully.

Finding Opportunity Within Disruption

All change is the manifestation of what came before it, Elatia said, and by understanding what has happened and what could be, we can start to craft and build our future. Elatia walked us through the steps we can take today to build future-ready organizations through the lenses of society, strategy, and self.


Within the lens of society, Elatia said it’s important to know the distinction between the future of work and the future of working. The future of work, Elatia said, is a broader more philosophical conversation. The future of working, she continued, examines the tools and structures that enable us to work.

Within the future of working, we’re seeing the following changes:

  1. Salaried vs. Entrepreneurial: We’re moving away from a prescribed way of working to a way of work that’s much more adaptive.
  2. Central office vs. remote work vs. hybrid work
  3. Abilities and competencies: How we train ourselves for work is shifting. Alongside the core/technical abilities, we also need the human competencies to work and lead within a shifting landscape.

On a larger scale, these are the paradigm shifts influencing us within society:

  1. Moving from “or” to “and”: In the past, things were corporate or entrepreneurial, local or global, industrial or technological. Today, that barrier is dissolving. We are required to be corporate and entrepreneurial, local and global, etc.
  2. Moving from scarcity to abundance: Opportunity is no longer centralized, it’s democratized. We’ve gone from venture capitalists to crowdfunding, providing people with more access to capital. Likewise, business has changed from “the business of business is business” to “the business of business is value”.
  3. Moving from linear to exponential: Technology is pushing us to move past a linear way of thinking and embrace exponential thinking, which allows us to live free of constraints from our past.

What do these shifts mean to us?

  • The workplace is everywhere and nowhere, because of this it’s important to define what community means to us and determine how we can create inclusive spaces for all.
  • Structure and relationships are becoming more fluid. Leaders of the future must have the capacity to lead within their expertise and then step back to enable others to lead within their expertise.
  • Career becomes life becomes mosaic. We are being presented with much more opportunities to forge a career path that reflects our growth and changing values.

Learn more about the difference between the future of work and the future of working below:


We are currently in the fourth revolution — the age of convergence, where the physical and technological worlds are melding. Everything is and will be connected from this point forward, Elatia said. This means leaders and organizations today need to look at strategy from a linear , exponential, and quantum perspective to meet the demands of today’s marketplace and far into the future.

What does this mean to us?

  • “Right” becomes relative: In an exponential world, we have to loosen our thinking to broaden our scope and become more receptive to change.
  • Diversity is non-negotiable: That’s racial and ethnic diversity as well as neuro-diversity. The challenges of the future, Elatia said, will require different points of view to solve.
  • Asynchronous and a-geographic work will become the norm.


In the quantum age of leadership, Elatia said, the core skill that leaders need is “regenerative resilience”. This will require leaders to shed the constraints of antiquated leadership models and instead embody the practices that will help them and their organizations thrive in this era of disruption.

Regenerative resilience embodies the following three qualities:

  • A clarity of purpose
  • Fearlessness (not courage)
  • Connection

As an example, Elatia said that to gain clarity leaders must practice creative self-destruction. She left us with an activity to begin this process. She challenged us to ask/answer three questions:

  1. Where does my organization need to be in one year?
  2. What does the person in my role need to be able to do for that version of my organization?
  3. What do I need to learn, do, unlearn, undo to become that person?

By turning this into a habitual practice, Elatia said, creative self-destruction becomes easier, and we become more capable to take on change.

“The more your practice dealing with and thriving in uncertainty, the more you practice playing in the unknown, the easier it gets when it comes as a surprise,” Elatia said, “because there is rhythm and movement to change.”

Learn more about Elatia’s work in the video below:

The future is ours to create. Are you ready? Named a leading female futurist by Forbes, Elatia Abate helps organizations thrive in the face of disruption, prepare for the ever-changing future, and design new ways to scale and create growth. Her actionable keynotes leave audiences equipped with the tools necessary to thrive — even in the face of uncertainty.

Interested in learning more about Elatia and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].