Looking forward to NetWork conference

I’m looking forward to the Net:Work 2010 Conference tomorrow in SF. The conference tagline says “The Future of Work” and asks the questions “Is it possible to make any organization virtual?” and  “What will the workforce of the future look like?”

Speakers tossing around terms like “human cloud” “radical collaboration” and “workshifting” can cause one to groan a little.

Over my career, I’ve been on pretty much every side of this, as a remote worker and in employing and managing remote workers and distributed teams. I’ve even done research on this topic and developed and prototyped collaboration tools in support of distributed work groups (more on that another day).

I’ve also worked with organizations on both extremes in terms of their sentiments toward distributed vs. centralized team models. To some degree we’ve seen this pendulum swing back and forth over the last decade (or more). We’ve been hearing that offices would be 100% virtual for years now. I don’t even know what the current “conventional wisdom” is on the subject – it seems like these days it’s more contrary to suggest the traditional “everyone in one place” model than the distributed workforce model – today, that would be far more “radical” and extreme than suggesting the opposite.

So it will be interesting to see what take-aways result from the Net:Work event. I look forward to seeing you there!