Face to Face With the Future

I STARTED MY FIRST journalism job in 1979, working as an assistant editor on an association magazine. We wrote articles on electric typewriters and copyedited each other’s work by hand in pencil, but we were proud of our modern upgrades. Our typesetter keyboarded all the articles into a lone, slow, single-color computer—individually coding every paragraph indent, every italicized word—and exported them as typeset galleys. The art director cut galleys into strips, waxed them, and attached them to layout paper to create individual pages. The completed layouts were sent to a professional printer that photographed the originals, turned them into metal plates, and ran them through a four-color press.

As I work on BizEd more than 35 years later, I realize that virtually the entire process has become, well, virtual. The editors write, exchange, and edit copy on laptops, then upload files to and download completed layouts from the design firm’s online portal. The final files are transmitted electronically to our printer, and we view the pages online to approve them. No part of any issue has to exist in physical form until the magazine is printed and mailed—and even then, some readers never see a hard copy at all, choosing to read content on our site or in PDF format.

The publishing industry is only one that’s been radically overhauled in recent years, but transformative change is on every horizon. In “Are Business Schools Ready for the Future of Work?” we identify areas where tomorrow’s workers will need to excel, including technology, collaboration, creativity, adaptability, relationship building, and lifelong learning. In “Working at the Creative Core,” we also hear from the University of South Carolina’s Peter Brews, who emphasizes that tomorrow’s workers will need to be masterful innovators if they want to do high-value work.

Naturally, the next question is: How can business schools prepare their students to succeed in the tech-heavy, constantly changing, collaborative corporation of the future? One answer comes from Tennessee Tech, whose multidisciplinary maker space brings in students from across campus to complete projects as diverse as 3D fire safety demonstrations and campaigns for the state chamber of commerce. While students gain deep expertise in a variety of skills, they also generate income for the school. “Changing the Dynamic” tells the whole story.

Other business schools are still debating the question in dozens of departmental meetings and international conferences as they strive to educate students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. While adaptability has always been a central feature of business, business schools traditionally have been slower to embrace change. But even the brick and mortar of the ivory tower is being digitized through online course delivery and smart classroom tech. The college campus is prepping for the future of the workplace—and that future is here.