Re-architecting work around human strengths to elevate human capabilities to create new value never before possible.

In an uncertain world, we better create the future, rather than predict it.

Deloitte Digital is a digital transformation brand that operates in 60 countries and employs more than 16,000 people working to create a future with digital.

In the series "Deloitte Digital Cross", we bring you a dialogue that aims to expand the boundaries of business and create new experiences for society in business, sports, fashion, entertainment, education and so on.

In this dialogue, Risa Wakabayashi, a member of Deloitte Digital interviewed Nicole Scoble-Williams, leading the Future of Work in Deloitte group, and Masaya Mori, leading the initiative of AI and Big Data.

July 30,2021

Could you explain about Future of Work? What vision or initiative would it be like?

Nicole: The Future of Work is about how work, workforces and workplaces are changing due to technological forces and evolving employment and workforce models. In other words, the future of work is about the choices we can make around new combinations of humans and technology to get work done, the evolving relationship between workers and employers; and the workplace no long being about a ‘place’ but rather, being about how we work.

When thinking about the Future of Work vision or initiatives that organizations might consider – particularly in this COVID-19 moment that we are currently experiencing - I think it is helpful to refer to what Albert Einstein once said “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.”. Future of work vision and initiatives focus on redefining the new mental models, business models, talent models – the new maps – that we need around those three dimensions.

The Future of Work is about MAKING WORK BETTER FOR HUMANS AND HUMANS BETTER AT WORK with humans working PRODUCTIVELY with technology

What would the important elements of Future of Work be?

Nicole: It is important to take new hybrid ways of working across physical and digital space based on new relationships and employment models between workers and employers. For some organizations, a specific future of work initiative would involve redefining the Future of Work vision and strategy to thrive in a world of perpetual disruption, redefining the role of global talent mobility as a competitive advantage and developing new strategies, operating models and talent models around that. Key to this is the implementation of an AI powered internal talent marketplace to unleash workforce potential and productivity, driving agile decision making and deployment of the right worker to the right work regardless of what a worker’s job description might say or where they might sit on an org chart.

Masaya: To take new hybrid ways across physical and digital space, you would need to digitize the workforce and human experience for uplifting productivity and optimizing value. The use of data is also very critical for making agile decisions and assigning the right employees to the right jobs. I think it's also significant to take into account the employee's experience, achievements, skills and career aspirations, as well as the nature of the project, in order to achieve assignments that enhance the employee experience.

It's a wonderful vision. Do you have any examples of companies that are already implementing initiatives like the Future of Work?

Nicole: One of my most favorite examples is the wonderful work that Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) have been doing to re-architecting the work involved in responding to a patient’s call for assistance from the hospital bed. They have focused on reimagining the outcomes they want to achieve for the patients and the caregiver workers and re-architected the work with a focus on the important ‘human’ work that only humans can do, using technology to elevate the capabilities of the caregiver workers and creating new value never before possible.

Nicole Scoble-Williams

Nicole Scoble-Williams
Partner at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC and the APAC Market Activation Leader for Future of Work. 20+ year experience of IT, Talent Strategy, Advisor and M&A, helping activate adaptable and resilient businesses and careers through harnessing the collective intelligence of humans working productively with smart technology.

To be more specific, CDHB has used ServiceNow to provide its caregiver workers with an enterprise engagement platform that has revolutionized the way of working through the integration of HR and IT service management with piloting an AI voice activated patient call system, an appointment and scheduling solution, and a fully mobile orderly request service.

The integrated platform facilitates collaboration across the organization in responding to patient requests and empowers workers with trust and choice over how they perform their work to elevate the quality of care and the patient experience they deliver. This has resulted in a 29% increase in productivity and the ability to redirect caregiver capacity to the right work at the right time. Behind the scenes, the Service Now platform has released HR capacity and elevated the workforce experience by digitizing HR transactions such as leave and benefits management, harnessing automation to expedite approvals and processing across the right authorities and teams.

Using AI, the platform and the mobile applications to re-imagine the patient and workforce experience has enabled CDHB to release 80,322 hours of workforce capacity across the organization. Most significant is the impact that this transformation has had on the workforce’s sense of belonging, enabling workers to contribute their full potential in elevating the human experience for patients and advancing the organization’s purpose forward.

I think this is a really great example of Future of Work in action creating those new combinations of human and machine collaborations to unlock the art of the possible.

Is there some aspect where some technologies are driving the initiative?

Masaya: I think some technologies sure are playing a role to drive it. For example, 5G, with its high-speed and high-capacity features, is expected to improve productivity by transforming various forms of communication, document work and collaboration in the workplace to be based on richer content. In addition, by using AR and VR, it is becoming possible to proceed with projects directly using 3D models, instead of relying on the traditional 2D design, blueprints, and product models depicted on computer screens. But rather, I think there is a great deal of recognition in companies that the DX trend is not just about changing corporate systems, but also about improving the IT environment and employee experience to change the way we work.

Masaya Mori

Masaya Mori
Partner of Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC, Deloitte Digital and Leader of Deloitte AI Institute. 20+ year experience of utilizing emerging technologies, such as bigdata, AI, IoT and AR/VR across industries. Also serves as a special-appointed professor on data & AI at Tohoku University, and an advisor of Japan Deep Learning Association.

COVID-19 impacted the way we work. Many workforces have shifted to online. How do you see it?

Nicole: The most transformative thing about COVID-19 is that we have discovered choices about the future of work that we did not have before – for example we have discovered that we can unleash productivity improvements through remote work. Through the last year of disruption, as we have discovered those new choices, we have had the opportunity to experiment and learn. Through ‘listening’ and data we have been able to understand where we need to focus our efforts, our investments.

I think there is a desire, by the workforce, and by employers, to sustain hybrid ways of working in some form. However, how that will evolve and to what extent, I believe, will depend on how we design new ways of working around empowering workers with choice and flexibility on how and where they do their work and our ability to create a culture of trust and confidence where workers and teams are able to elevate performance and productivity through working that level of choice and flexibility.

I believe that building that culture of trust and confidence and having the inclusive leadership capabilities are fundamental to unlocking those sustainable approaches to hybrid working.”

Masaya: In Japan, some internet companies and some progressive companies have started to implement various measures to sustain hybrid work styles. These include remote work allowances, changing offices from traditional fixed seating to free address, changing to creative spaces that incorporate design thinking approach, and moving their office to a flexible shared workspace with other statups. However, I think it is essential to have trust in the employees and the will to realize the ideal workplace and working style as a company, rather than just taking apparent actions.

The coronavirus,and its economic and social fallout,is a time machine to the future,Change that many of us predicted would happen over decades are instead taking place in the span of weeks.

What other change do you find?

Nicole: One of the most fascinating things we have discovered over the past year of disruption is that human potential is an organization's greatest untapped asset. We have seen the 'art of possible', what we can achieve, when we look beyond what we hired workers to do and focus on what they are capable of doing - their potential, their passion. This has seen rapid shifts in organizational ability to connect the right worker to the right work at the right time - regardless of what the worker's job title may be or where they may sit on an organization chart. Internal mobility and particularly global mobility has emerged as strategic priority in unlocking new competitive advantage for many organizations.

What do companies need for workplace in the future?

Nicole: I think that as we think about the workplace of the future, which as I said earlier, is no longer about the 'place' where we work but about how we work, I believe there is hard-wiring and soft-wiring that companies need to be thinking about. The hard-wiring is what we have seen a focus on over the last year of disruption in order to 'survive', things like implementing technology tools, collaboration platforms and remote work policies. The soft-wiring is, I believe, what 2021 and beyond will need to focus on if we wish to make choices about sustaining hybrid working moving forward. The soft-wiring is about things like implementing new rituals and ways of working and teaming across physical and digital space, adapting performance management and reward and recognition frameworks to align with hybrid working models, and importantly, about building leadership capability and a culture of trust and confidence for workers, teams and the organization at large to survive.

Risa Wakabayashi

Risa Wakabayashi
Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC, Specialist. Experience of working as an anchor for both public and private broadcasting news programs, covering international affairs, educational issues, sustainable business, etc. In addition to working on consulting projects such as business concept development, driving industry-academia collaboration projects for future of education.

What do we need to do to make that happen?

Nicole: I feel that inclusive leadership will perhaps be the most pivotal factor to position companies to succeed in embedding sustainable hybrid working models because we need strong, inclusive leaders, to 'orchestrate' the ability of the team to remain connected and focused and able to contribute their full potential to the team's performance and delivery. It is through that leadership that we build the culture of trust and confidence that empowers team members with flexibility and choice around where and how they work, while seeing team members and the team thrive and optimize the value they create.

Looking more broadly than just the workplace dimension, in our 2021 Global HC Trends research, executives told us that they believe the most important priorities for being ability to navigate a world of perpetual disruption is (i) the ability of their people to adapt, reskill and assume new roles and (ii) the ability to organize and manage work in a way that facilitates rapid decision making. I think the key will be whether or not the corporate executives can bring these abilities to the organization.

Lastly, could you tell the message to readers?

Masaya: Some companies that are working on advanced reforms are emerging. Based on the current environment and with a view of what should be done in the future, they are starting to change not only rules and systems that make remote work easier, but also various ways of working. I think it is vital to set the vision on the future of work and utilize digitalization, AI, and various technologies to make it even smoother and smarter for employees and business partners to work and collaborate, while also attracting talented people and moving onto the next stage.

Nicole: The current harsh situation caused by COVID-19 has created a time machine into the future, work is being re-architected, workforces are being unleashed and workplaces are being redefined. The future ahead is all about choices, we need to make choices about how we use the disruption as a catalyst to unlock new opportunities and possibilities. Don't miss the moment! Make choices today that will be ones that help make work better for people and people better at work, positioning organizations to thrive moving forward.


Masaya Mori

Masaya Mori

Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC Partner of DTC/Deloitte Digital, Leader of Deloitte AI Institute

20+ year experience of utilizing emerging technologies, such as bigdata, AI, IoT and AR/VR across industries. Also serves as a special-appointed professor on data & AI at Tohoku University, and an advisor of Japan Deep Learning Association.


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